For Dr. Manahel Thabet, there is no such thing as impossible. As far back as she can remember the 33-year-old economist and passionate scientist possessed dreams far bigger than her own head (and modest Yemeni family) could accommodate. Even as astronomical ambitions—or astronaut ambitions to be precise—were crushed by harsh reality, Dr. Thabet’s dreams continued unhindered. Today, the Yemeni, who boasts an IQ of 168, stands as not just the youngest, but the only Arab to earn a PhD degree in Financial Engineering. Now, as she works towards her second doctoral degree, this time in quantum mathematics, the woman recently named “Genius of the Year” (representing Asia) by The World Genius Directory, is outsmarting the impossible. “I couldn’t go to space physically, but I’ve conquered it virtually,” she remarks. But her ambitions are not exclusive to outer space; the multi-talented Arab possesses an insatiable appetite for numbers and a drive to share her knowledge with the world. Cue: Smart Tips, Dr. Thabet’s Dubai-based consultancy focused on financial restructuring.
Launched in the aftermath of global financial crisis back in 2008, Smart Tips offers a timely source of support for those nursing gaping fiscal and structural wounds. Through the expert provision of four main services—consultancy, feasibility studies, strategic planning and crisis management—the consultancy which is associated with high profile companies including financial products specialists, Agile Technologies, and global accounting and consulting network, Moore Stephens, has grown from strength to strength. Getting off to a flying start with a client list as extensive as Dr. Thabet’s skill set, Smart Tips’ customers today comprise of family businesses, government-affiliated companies and wealthy individuals across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
While shying away from divulging company figures to anyone other than prospective shareholders, the woman who counts amateur astronomy amongst her passions, explains that Smart Tips is in fittingly smart financial shape, “It’s a zero debt company and as for the ratio of growth and turnover, now we’re crossing, since inception, 175%.” Comprised of 25 employees, or ‘family members’ as Dr. Thabet prefers to call them, (they work ‘with’ not ‘for’ her) as well as over 100 professionals contracted to suit different project needs, Smart Tips is short neither of manpower nor brainpower to re-engineer the region’s finances.
Recalling the period leading up to the creation of Smart Tips, Dr. Thabet, who doubles up as president of the high IQ society, IQuestion, and vice-president of the World Intelligence Network (WIN), explains that she sensed a financial storm brewing. After a stint as an employee at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi on arrival in Dubai 12 years ago, she decided to go it alone, entering the world of stock market trading with resounding success. Earning herself the unofficial title of “Queen of the Bourse” amongst her peers, it came as a shock to many a trader when then lady with a passion for quantum physics ducked out at her peak.