Dr Mariyam Zulfa: The new Maldives Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and a graduate of Waikato's MBA programme.
The new Maldives Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture is a Waikato University MBA graduate. Dr Mariyam Zulfa, a commercial lawyer, completed her MBA 12 years ago and says her experience at Waikato helped her become the professional she is today.
“I feel extremely honoured and humbled to be appointed Minister, but appreciate I’ve got a big job to do,” says Dr Zulfa who also has law degrees and a PhD from Australian universities. “I’ve always been community minded and a tireless worker, and I’m ready to tackle the many challenges that tourism faces in my part of the world.”
She thinks her MBA study has equipped her well for the task ahead. She chose Waikato’s MBA because it’s based on the Harvard model, which uses case methods of research and teaching. She was also accepted on the programme within a week, which helped with planning work and other commitments before beginning the two year course.
While studying at Waikato, Dr Zulfa made marketing communications her focus because she knew it would apply to tourism in the Maldives. “It’s the background of our economy. It’s a growth industry, but it’s also hugely competitive. The potential in the Maldives is huge, but we need overseas investment to expand, and that will be part of my job – finding the money.”
Dr Zulfa would also like to see more young entrepreneurs becoming involved in the industry. “Tourism began in earnest in the Maldives 1972, and I’d like to use the lessons learnt from some of those experienced and skilled pioneers to create avenues for more participation for young people in the industry.
“I see myself as a problem-solver; I usually start tackling a problem with a yes-we-can attitude, but as Minister I have to be mindful that our stakeholders are wide-ranging. I’m the chief representative of the government but at the same time I have to be mindful of the needs of business and investors and employee rights as well.”