February 25, 2024
Dr. Mohamed Salaheldien

We recently had the opportunity to interview Dr. Mohamed Salaheldien Mohamed Aly, CEO of Smart Learn. His journey has been marked by his love and passion for everything related to engineering and technology. With over three decades of practical experience in higher education and training and multiple specializations, Dr. Mohamed Salaheldien has been playing a crucial role in uplifting the organization in current times.

Smart Learn for Training and Educational Consultations, aims to contribute to social educational development and bring a difference in the field of training for public and private sectors. As the CEO of the organization, Dr Mohamed Salaheldien Mohamed Aly is creating and sharing knowledge, while empowering individuals in the process. In this insightful interview, the CEO shares his perspective on technology, challenges, and teamwork, while offering invaluable suggestions for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Beginnings First

We started the interview by asking, “Can you start by telling us about your career path?”

mohamed salaheldien

Mohamed shared, “I am an Egyptian 52 years old man with about 30 years of practical experience in higher education and training.

Since my childhood, I have been passionate about learning a lot of knowledge in different specializations. I also loved everything related to engineering matters and I remember that one time I made a boat that moved in the water from scraps of my old toys.

My love for everything related to engineering was one of the most important reasons for me to join the Faculty of Engineering at Alexandria University, from which I graduated in 1994.

Also, I was in love with everything related to technology, computers, and similar things, which led me to obtain a diploma in Information Technology from the Institute of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Alexandria, in which I obtained an excellent grade and first place in the class. After that, I obtained several specialized certificates from Microsoft regarding databases and others, before returning to engineering and obtaining a master’s degree in engineering from Alexandria University 2002.”

In general, I was in love with science, learning, communicating knowledge to others, and sharing information. Perhaps this was the reason for my obtaining many certificates, approximately 40 valuable certificates, in multiple specializations and from international or global universities like Michigan university, New York University, Rise University, Minnesota University, and Copenhagen Business School and so many more. Besides, obtaining Master and Doctorate degrees in Business Administration and a PMP certificate from the Project Management Institute in Pennsylvania in the United States.

He added, “My love for learning and sharing was the reason for me joining the academic staff at the Faculty of Engineering at Alexandria University, then at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology, which is affiliated with the League of Arab States. Then I headed to the field of training and worked as a lecturer in one of the major training sector companies in Egypt before becoming a Branch Director for the same training company which was the main reason for shfting my interests a little towards management.

Eventually, I came to Saudi Arabia with a work contract with the well-known Saudi Oger Co., specifically at the company’s technical institute. I initially took over the management of the continuing education department there, and then five years later I became the Acting Deputy Academic Director of the institute before I left the institute for reasons related to the company’s announcement of its bankruptcy. At that time, I met the wise and knowledgeable man, Mr. Khaled Abdul Rahman Al-Daghim, who had licenses for an institution in the field of training and educational consulting, and he was looking at that time for someone to partner with him and help him start to transform these documents into a practical reality, and that’s why we succeeded later together in putting Smart Learn on the map of training and education. In Saudi Arabia. Throughout the first seven years of its professional history, Smart Learn has gained the satisfaction, acceptance and trust of all its clients for seven years.

Spark Behind Smart Learn

We were curious to learn about the factors that influenced Dr. Salaheldien to start his organization. So, we asked, “What inspired you to develop the idea of your company?”

mohamed salaheldien

Mohamed Salaheldien responds, “It can be said that the inspiration may have been cumulative over so many years of experience, although the main motivation for what the company has reached now is what we observed, specifically in 2015 – the emergence and increasing desire from Saudi society to facilitate the possibility of enrolling in postgraduate studies in the field of business administration in respectable and distinguished universities, with acceptable tuition fees, and the availability of easy means of paying fees, without requiring the student to devote himself fully to the study process.”

Evolving Priorities

Over the years of functioning, businesses tend to change their priorities. So, we asked, “How have your priorities in business evolved since you first started?”

Mohamed Salaheldien replied, “I believe in a constant concept that does not change, which is to put myself in the position of the person I deal with to feel what he might feel, as well as to have a perception of his expectations and desires. Therefore, the process of developing priorities has always emerged from the development of the desires of the clients with whom I deal.

I was keen on continuous development in every detail of the work, which would undoubtedly lead to customer satisfaction and increased confidence in the institution and the educational and training products it provides, based on the fact that the simplest definition of quality is “Meeting the customer’s requirements“.

Furthermore, I have always placed a “Good reputation” and “Positive impact” above any other expected gain, and that is why some of my decisions may have increased cost aspects for the institution without any corresponding increase in the prices of our programs or educational products.

Finally, I have always believed that human resources are the main factor in the success of any institution and that leaders must choose those resources well and then be good at dealing with those resources in a way that increases their loyalty to the entity and their constant willingness to give their utmost to make that institution successful.” He added.

Adaptability Amidst Challenges

Challenges are an inevitable part of any business and how that phase is handled matters the most. So, we asked, “What are the most challenging situations that your company overcomes?”

Mohamed Salaheldien shared, “The most difficult situations that we encounter stem from the difference in our clients’ cultures, and thus the difference in their interpretation of the nature and details of the educational products we provide, in a way that may sometimes lead some to question the credibility, quality and excellence of the services we provide without allowing us to fully explain and provide complete information, in addition to the diligence of some Competitors sow doubts about what the institution offers and its credibility to the point of questioning the honesty of those in charge of managing the institution unexpectedly.”

“What’s the key strength to overcome it?”

He added, “The most important traits that we always strive to have and stick to are wisdom, patience, emotional stability, and above all, passion, always looking forward and only forward, and focusing on making the work successful and achieving the company’s goals in the short and long term.”

Setting Smart Learn Apart

To have a strong brand presence in the market, it is paramount to build unique services. So, we asked Dr. Mohamed Salaheldien Mohamed Aly, “What makes your company stand out from other businesses in your industry?”

He responds, “Our constant focus is on providing the highest levels of quality that emerge from our reading of our customers’ expected desires with the help of market and societal studies.”

Measuring Success

We further asked Mohamed Salaheldien, “What KPIs do you use to measure your business growth?”

Mohamed continued, “Our most important KPIs are the percentage of customers’ satisfaction with the services we provide and obviously our market share.”

Current Offerings

We were intrigued to learn more about the current services offered by Dr. Mohamed Salaheldien’s organization. So, we asked, “Tell us something about your services. What are you working on currently?”

He shared, “In Smart Learn, we have succeeded for years in obtaining exclusive agencies to represent foreign universities – so far of Malaysian nationality – in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain to offer their programs in graduate studies in business administration, whether MBA or DBA.

We have succeeded during seven years in contributing to the graduation of more than 520 students in the MBA track, in addition to nearly 90 researchers registered in the DBA track. The company’s direction in the next two years is to contract with European universities to represent it within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Effective Teamwork

Another major factor, when it comes to sustainable success is effective teamwork. So, we asked, “How do you build trust with your employees and boost productivity without causing burnout?”

Mohamed shared, “I believe in the importance of putting myself in the position of the person in front of me in an attempt to anticipate his desires. For this reason, I am a believer in the importance of focusing on details such as rewards, incentives, and allowances, which of course must be in place, alongside granting some unscheduled rest periods to some individuals in case of previously carrying out burdensome responsibilities. I also make sure from time to time that employees gather for lunch or dinner parties to enhance communication and increase belonging and loyalty to the organization.”

Staying Ahead Of The Curve

In the fast-paced digital space, adapting to the latest developments is equally essential. We asked, “How do you stay on top of the latest technologies and trends in your industry?”

I claim that I am a good follower of the latest technologies in education and training, and I also seek the help of some of our employees to assist me in this matter and to put forward any new and innovative ideas that would contribute to raising the quality level of the institution’s products,” Mohamed replied.

Suggestions For Beginners

We ended the interview by asking, “What advice would you give to starting entrepreneurs?”

mohamed salaheldien

The most important advice I can give to aspiring entrepreneurs is the need to be patient and tolerate pitfalls. It is also important for the entrepreneur to rely initially on the smallest possible number of human resources and to limit the matter to specialized and distinguished people, provided that he has a strong relationship with them and a high degree of trust.

Finally, they must initially rely heavily on themselves in the marketing part of their products; what scratches your back like your fingernail – because they are the ones who know the details of the product and its features and are most passionate about its success and spread.” Mohamed concluded.

Connect with Dr. Mohamed Salaheldien Mohamed Aly on LinkedIn.

Find Smart Learn on LinkedIn or visit their website to learn more.

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