Dr Ajay Shukla, Ph.D, MBA, BE.

Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Higher Education UAE

Dr. Ajay has the unique distinction of bringing several global universities and institutions to the UAE such as University of Birmingham (UK), Babson College (Boston US), Inscape Education Group (South Africa) etc. through his efforts in building the market landscape knowledge, business case and supporting the local licensing, accreditation, institutional set-up and operations.

He supported the establishment and growth of international student enrollments at several universities in UAE including SP Jain Institute of Business Management, Manipal Institute, Amity University, University of South Wales, Heriot Watts University, Hult International Business School, Ajman University, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Middlesex University Dubai to name a few.

Dr. Ajay has built his credentials with regulators and education investors through his high quality authoritative and ethically sound work and understanding of transnational higher education deeply.

Prior to his current role, Ajay served as the CEO for one of UAEs leading higher education holding company with  a significant investment from the world largest private education provider, GEMS Education/Varkey Group. During his 29-year career, he has worked in direct-to-consumer business as well as B2B businesses at leadership level roles.

In his early career at American Express (1989-2001), he was the head of marketing and business development for the consumer card business in India and was a significant contributor to launching a locally billed card business in India. He was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Quality for this contribution.

Ajay was the founder Vice President of ABN AMRO Bank Credit Cards (2011-2004) where he built the bank’s credit card business in India from scratch to become one of the top multinational credit cards brands within two years of the launch.

He has also headed Reader’s Digest (2004-2005) business in India as CEO. He was recognized by the Indian media industry as the ‘Best Media Marketer of the Year’

At McGraw-Hill Education (2005-2014) Ajay led the digital transformation of the business. For his efforts in growing the McGraw-Hill business, he was chosen from over 10,000 employees and awarded the company’s highest individual honor Excellence in Leadership Award.

Ajay is passionate about education and the impact this sector has on society and economies.

He is an Engineering graduate from the renowned Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and a top-ranked from one of India’s leading business schools – Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi University. He has received the prestigious National Talent Scholarship (NTS) from the Indian government throughout his secondary school and college education.

Ajay serves on the advisory board of mediciinstitute.org  India’s think tank for mission-focused governance. He has served as a trustee on the board of National Book Trust of India, for three years, to promote literacy and reading as a Ministry of Human Resources development nominee. Ajay has also advised National Skills Development Corporation of India to transform skills training for the youth. He was also the general secretary of the Association of Publishers in India (API) and intellectual property and copyright committee at American Chamber of Commerce.