Thumbay Moideen’s amazing story is that of an entrepreneur who migrated to the UAE from India and built a massive business conglomerate in the country, in a short span of time. Not only has he made a mark as a pioneer in his flagship businesses: education, healthcare and research, but he has also diversified his business across 18 different sectors and has established global presence. The Thumbay Group headed by him has set new standards in ‘research and innovation based learning’ and ‘high quality healthcare at affordable costs’, and has emerged as frontrunner of revolutionary innovations in the core business areas.
His Early Days
Thumbay Moideen was born into a well-known business family in Mangalore, India. He graduated in commerce from a leading local college, and at the age of 21, took over the reins of his father’s business house. He demonstrated excellent business acumen and mettle right from the start, and two years hence, he made his independent foray into the world of business by making a handsome profit out of a major real estate deal which was considered a risky venture at that time, even by seasoned real estate agents. Not many knew that this was the birth of a businessman who would go on to scale great heights globally.
Venturing into the UAE
After taking over the mantle of his father’s timber business, the ever ambitious young Thumbay Moideen set his sight on markets abroad. His attention was particularly drawn towards the UAE, on account of the country’s exceptional growth and its investor-friendly properties.
Once, on his way to Africa on a business trip, he had to transit through Dubai. During this course of time, he had a chance encounter with a member of the ruling family of Ajman. They soon got into a conversation about the economy of Ajman and ways to boost it further. Thumbay Moideen recounted the story of a small town in India which transformed into a medical hub. He opined that establishing a medical school in Ajman might generate countless opportunities for the economy of the Emirate.
A few days later, he received an invitation from ruling family member he had met, welcoming him to meet His Highness, the Ruler of Ajman. This meeting was the turning point in his life. During the meeting, the Ruler of Ajman enquired about his background and asked him whether he had any experience running a medical school. Moideen stated matter-of-factly that his experience was in timber and real estate business, while mentioning that his family owned a hospital as well as educational institutions back in India.
The Ruler of Ajman asked Moideen whether he could build him a medical school. He wasn’t sure at first, on account of his lack of expertise in the field, but consented later. He flew in consultants from top-notch universities and after a thorough study, concluded that there was huge scope for a medical university in Ajman. He requested His Highness the Ruler of Ajman for support in two fundamental areas, and the same were granted. Firstly, the Ministry of Higher Education in the country doesn’t allow expats to own a license for institutions catering to higher education; which was solved when the Ajman Government awarded him a royal decree for the formation of Gulf Medical College. Secondly, he needed land to build the college, which was gifted to him by His Highness. Later when the bank he had approached to mortgage the land cited technical difficulties with ‘gifted’ land, Moideen had to buy the same from the government.
The Gulf Medical College, Ajman became operational in January 1998, heralding the rise of a medical institution which would go on to become the pride of the UAE.
Gulf Medical University
10 years after it was launched, the Gulf Medical College transformed into a full-fledged medical university, the Gulf Medical University (GMU), in 2008. Today, GMU has risen to the forefront of private medical universities in the Middle East, as a pioneer of research and innovation based learning. Unique in terms of methodology, infrastructure, curriculum and people, GMU today has the distinction of being among the most sought after medical universities in the UAE. Presently, the University has a student cohort of over 75 nationalities and faculty and staff from over 22 countries. It also has a well-organized alumni network of highly placed healthcare professionals throughout the world.
Thumbay Group’s Network of Hospitals, Clinics, Labs & Pharmacies
Thumbay Moideen’s foray into the healthcare sector was more by chance than by choice. The university required a hospital to train the first batch of students, and Moideen decided to build his own teaching hospital. This was the birth of Thumbay Group’s Healthcare Division, with the first private teaching hospital in the country, the Thumbay Hospital – Ajman under its auspices going operational on 17 October 2002.
Thumbay Group’s healthcare division presently operates four academic hospitals in the UAE (Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah & Sharjah) and one in Hyderabad – India, as well as a network of state-of-the-art family clinics at various locations in the UAE, making it the largest network of private academic hospitals in the region. All the hospitals and clinics are affiliated to the Gulf Medical University (GMU), the leading private medical university in the region owned by Thumbay Group, and provide clinical training for its students. They treat patients from over 175 nationalities, and are staffed by doctors, nurses and technicians from over 22 different countries, speaking more than 50 languages. Thumbay Group also operates CAP-accredited diagnostic labs (Thumbay Labs) and retail pharmacy outlets (Thumbay Pharmacy), in the UAE and India.
Center for Advanced Biomedical Research (CABRI)
The Centre for Advanced Biomedical Research and Innovation (CABRI), housed within GMU carries out world-class research in the field of Medicine using state of the art medical diagnostics. It provides tertiary, high complexity, referral testing services to hospitals of Thumbay Group as well as contracted hospitals. It has the distinction of being one of the largest network of labs accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), in the region.
Other Brands under the ‘Thumbay’ Umbrella
Apart from its core activities of education, healthcare & research, Thumbay Group’s businesses span several other sectors including diagnostics (Thumbay Labs), medical tourism (Thumbay Medical Tourism), health communications (Health Communications Division), wellness (Body & Soul Health Club & Spa), hospitality (The Terrace Restaurant, Blends & Brews Coffee Shoppe), retail (Nutri Plus Vita, The Flower Shoppe, Zo & Mo Opticals, Thumbay Pharmacy), publishing (Health magazine), procurement & distribution (Thumbay Marketing and Distribution Company - TMDC), real estate(Thumbay Builders), technology (Thumbay Technologies) and media (Thumbay Media).