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  • Writer's pictureGreat Companies

Dr Mariam Shaikh, CEO & Founder at MS Education Consultants

Great Companies : How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

Dr Mariam Shaikh : The idea for my business, MS Education Consultants, stemmed from a deep-seated passion for nurturing young minds and supporting them in their academic and career pursuits. It all began with my journey in education, starting from owning a nursery in RAK to holding senior leadership roles at prestigious universities in Dubai. Throughout my career, I witnessed the profound impact effective education leadership can have on shaping the lives of students.

A pivotal moment in my career was establishing the first Canadian University Branch Office in Dubai, a milestone achievement facilitated by collaboration and international partnerships. This experience fueled my desire to continue supporting students on a larger scale, bridging the gap between nations and establishing study destinations.

Upon retiring from my role as VP at Amity University, Dubai, in January 2020, I initially planned to manage my home and art gallery in Mumbai. However, the unexpected lockdowns due to the global pandemic led to a period of reflection. I realized retirement wasn't ready for me, and I still had dreams to pursue. The isolation during the lockdowns reinforced my passion for education and mentoring. It became clear to me that starting my own consultancy was the next logical step. Drawing from my extensive experience and driven by determination, I decided to establish MS Education Consultants in Dubai, my home for 37 years.

My passion for empowering students and shaping their futures is deeply rooted in my personal and professional journey. It's a fire that burns brightly within me, driving every decision, every action, and every endeavor I undertake. What fuels this passion is the sheer joy of witnessing students achieve their career aspirations and carve out their paths to success. It's the satisfaction of knowing that I've played a part, however small, in helping them navigate the often-daunting journey of education. But beyond the tangible outcomes, my passion stems from a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of education. I've seen firsthand how access to quality education can open doors, break down barriers, and empower individuals to reach their full potential.

For me, MS Education Consultants is not just a business; it's a manifestation of this passion, a platform through which I can continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of students around the world. It's a constant reminder of why I do what I do and a source of inspiration to keep pushing forward, striving to create positive change one student at a time.


Great Companies : What are the various services provided by MS Education Consultants?

Dr Mariam Shaikh : At MS Education Consultants, our primary focus is to offer a comprehensive solution for students seeking admission to universities in various countries including the U.K, US, Canada, Australia, UAE, Europe, Malaysia, and India. Through our partnerships with esteemed universities such as University of Guelph and Toronto Metropolitan University in Canada, Herriot-Watt University, Canadian University, Amity University and many others, we strive to offer students a diverse selection of courses and programs to suit their individual interests and career goals. By collaborating with universities across different countries and regions, we offer students a broader perspective and the opportunity to explore educational options in various international destinations. This exposure can broaden their horizons, foster cultural understanding, and enhance their global outlook. These universities are recognized for their academic excellence, world-class faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and commitment to providing a holistic learning experience. 


Great Companies :What makes MS Education Consultants different from hundreds of other similar service providers?

Dr Mariam Shaikh: MS Education Consultants specializes in guiding and advising students throughout the entire application process, helping them choose suitable and trending programs, providing insights into career prospects, facilitating internships abroad, assisting with accommodation both on and off campus, offering visa support, and addressing any other needs they may have to ensure their student journey is a remarkable one. What distinguishes us from other service providers is our extensive experience of 35 years in collaborating with leading international universities! 

MS Education Consultants has introduced a Cultural & Higher Education Experience Program, a week-long immersive opportunity for students eager to gain valuable insights into future careers, and immerse themselves in Dubai's flourishing economy. This program offers participants the chance to explore renowned international university campuses in the UAE while experiencing the vibrant culture and rich heritage of the United Arab Emirates. We aim to empower young and adult learners through our dedication to integrating physical and virtual experiences, facilitating training courses by industry professionals, and supporting innovative learning programs. Our company recognizes the importance of staying at the forefront of educational advancements and offering students access to cutting-edge learning opportunities to equip them with the skills, knowledge, and global perspectives necessary to thrive in an interconnected world. 


Great Companies :What were the struggles and challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Dr Mariam Shaikh :The journey from a well-established career to entrepreneurship wasn't without its challenges. Transitioning from a secure professional role to the uncertain terrain of entrepreneurship required a significant shift in mindset. The realization that there wouldn't be a monthly salary deposit brought about a new level of responsibility and urgency. However, drawing from my 35 years of experience in the education sector provided a solid foundation upon which to build my new venture.

As a woman in business, I encountered a unique set of obstacles. There's often pressure for women to conform to stereotypical "male" attitudes in the business world. However, I remained steadfast in my belief that authenticity and staying true to myself were crucial for success. Overcoming preconceived expectations and earning respect as a female entrepreneur required perseverance and confidence in my abilities.

Being a woman entrepreneur in Dubai, though, presented its own set of advantages and challenges. While earning respect can be a struggle in some environments, Dubai proved to be a supportive ecosystem for female entrepreneurs. The city's commitment to empowerment and its rapid growth provided a conducive environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. Embracing Dubai's ethos of empowerment and growth, I was able to navigate the challenges and leverage the opportunities presented by the dynamic business landscape.

Overall, resilience, confidence, and a willingness to adapt were essential in overcoming the struggles and challenges I faced. Embracing the ethos of female empowerment in Dubai and staying true to myself allowed me to overcome obstacles and carve out a successful path as an entrepreneur in the education sector.


Great Companies :How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for MS Education Consultants?

Dr Mariam Shaikh :In the future, MS Education Consultants aims to expand its reach and impact by focusing on several key initiatives. Five years down the line, we envision significant growth and development in our services and partnerships, as we continue to empower students and educational institutions worldwide.

One of our primary goals is to extend our global reach and connect with students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. We believe that education should be accessible to all, regardless of geographic location, and we are committed to providing comprehensive guidance and support to students worldwide. Through innovative digital platforms and strategic partnerships, we will leverage technology to reach students in remote areas and ensure they have access to the educational resources they need.

Furthermore, we are dedicated to supporting young entrepreneur students, particularly women entrepreneurs, in pursuing their dreams and ambitions. By offering mentorship programs, training workshops, and networking opportunities, we aim to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the competitive business world. Additionally, we will continue to facilitate work placements and internships for students and recent graduates, bridging the gap between education and employment and preparing them for the challenges of the professional world.

In the next five years, MS Education Consultants plans on collaborative initiatives to support strategically in the establishment of new foreign branch campuses of international universities in the UAE and to further expand our global outreach. We will also focus on expanding our range of services and solutions by developing innovative training programs, workshops, and mentorship initiatives that address the evolving needs of students and the job market. Our goal is to remain at the forefront of educational excellence, offering cutting-edge resources and support to empower students to achieve their academic and career goals.


Great Companies :If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Dr Mariam Shaikh : As you embark on your journey, remember that finding a balance between your work and personal life is not just a luxury but a fundamental necessity for your overall well-being and long-term success. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting a new career or pursuing ambitious goals, but it's crucial to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy equilibrium between your professional endeavors and personal fulfillment.

First and foremost, understand that success isn't solely measured by the number of hours you put into work. While dedication and hard work are essential, overworking yourself can lead to burnout and negatively impact your mental, emotional, and physical health. Therefore, it's vital to establish boundaries early on and set realistic expectations for yourself regarding workload and personal time.

One effective strategy is to plan and organize your schedule meticulously. Allocate dedicated time slots for work tasks, but also remember to carve out time for leisure activities, hobbies, and spending quality moments with loved ones. By structuring your days effectively, you can ensure that you make progress toward your professional goals while also nurturing your personal life and relationships.

Furthermore, surround yourself with a supportive network of individuals who understand and respect your need for work-life balance. Cultivate relationships with colleagues who share similar values and can offer encouragement and understanding during challenging times. Likewise, lean on your family and friends for emotional support and companionship outside of work.

Remember that work-life balance is highly personal and may look different for everyone. Take the time to reflect on your own priorities, interests, and preferences to determine the lifestyle that aligns best with your values and goals. Whether it involves pursuing hobbies, engaging in physical activity, or simply relaxing and unwinding, prioritize activities that bring you joy and fulfillment outside of work.

Lastly, don't underestimate the importance of self-care. Make time for regular breaks, practice mindfulness or meditation, and prioritize activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. Recognize that taking care of yourself is not selfish but essential for maintaining your overall well-being and sustaining success in the long run.

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