Founder & CEO, Play:Date, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Bachelor of Business in Marketing and International Business
She loves helping families build a social circle for their little ones, says AUT business alumna Shamim Kassibawi who now lives in Dubai, and is the founder and CEO of highly successful mobile app Play:Date.
“We no longer live in the same suburb, city or even country we grew up in, and I absolutely love bringing together families with similar interests and backgrounds. Building brands is a passion of mine, and I absolutely love doing this day in and day out for Play:Date.”
But Play:Date isn’t Shamim’s first entrepreneurial venture.
“I launched my own PR agency, Spread Communications, at the age of 24 and it is still running successfully now. I launched Play:Date at the age of 30, and we’re operating across the US and the Middle East. We’ve already been featured on CNN, and I’m focused on building the company. My time at AUT helped me become the entrepreneur I am today and give everything a shot.”
Happy memories of uni life
She always knew she wanted to study marketing, says Shamim who graduated from AUT in 2008.
“I love marketing and building brands, so studying marketing was not a hard choice. I ended up picking international business as a second major as I love how brands launch into new markets around the world. I’m glad I made that choice as a few years later I found myself working in Dubai, a hub for localising brands into the Middle East! I’ve had the privilege of working with celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Ludacris, Trey Songs, Ellie Goulding and Manny Pacquiao during my time in Dubai.”
She still has fond memories of her time at AUT.
“I loved AUT! I learn by doing and a hands-on learning approach is key for me to get my head around things. AUT offers exactly that. It really gave me a feel of what it will be like in the real world. My first year was key as it helped me experience a bit of everything in the business world, and from there I got to pick what I wanted to carry on with in my studies.
“I was inspired at AUT every day. I always talk about how it helped me get to where I am today. I still recall my buyer behaviour, marketing strategy and ethics lectures today. I truly enjoyed every minute of it.”
Advice for other students
With more than a decade of professional business experience behind her, Shamim has some great advice for other students.
“Make sure you love what you decide to study. If you love it, you won’t want to miss a lecture and will enjoy it a lot more than if you’re going to university for something you don’t have a passion for. Give everything a shot – what’s the worst that can happen?”
Her other piece of advice is simple: travel.
“Get out there and do big things! They love Kiwis across the globe.”