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Warm North Carolina attracts Turkish business students

HDN | 10/15/2009 12:00:00 AM | ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

An MBA program at the University of North Carolina in the United States is attracting many Turkish students interested in management, finance and entrepreneurship.

The Masters of Business Administration, or MBA, degree is extremely flexible, says Alison Hope Jesse, Senior Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Jesse was in Istanbul recently to attend an MBA panel.

In an MBA program, students learn business management and how to actively practice leadership and teamwork, conduct business globally and improve their communication and interpersonal skills, Jesse said, adding, “Honing these ‘soft skills,’ which are the more subtle but very important aspects of successful leaders, translates into career advancement and personal transformation for a lifetime.”

Many business schools prefer that applicants wait until they have at least two years of work experience before applying. Because the MBA classroom is very interactive, students who have progressed in the workplace often have more to add to the conversation and enrich the learning environment, said Jesse. 

There are some business schools that will accept candidates directly from university, Jesse said. However, it is important that Turkish students research several MBA programs to find these schools.

Most important are the personal goals of the applicant. He or she should apply when the time is right for the individual, perhaps to make a career change or to advance to the next level in his or her profession.

Many Turkish students chose UNC’s Kenan Flagler Business School, among the smaller of the top 20 business programs in the United States. Each August, an average of 288 students begin the program. The small size gives the program the flexibility and nimbleness to respond quickly to student's interests and curriculum changes, necessitated by an ever-changing global business and economic environment.

“Students from Turkey choose UNC Kenan-Flagler for our general management curriculum and excellence in finance, consulting, real estate and entrepreneurship – popular concentrations for our Turkish students. We also have excellent offerings in marketing, sustainable enterprise and global supply-chain management,” Jesse said.

In addition, UNC Kenan-Flagler offers a unique “Leadership Initiative” as part of its commitment to students’ long-term career success. For more information: www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/Leadership/leadership-initiative-overview.cfm

The diverse and collaborative community of the school includes seven Turkish professors, working in the areas of business strategy, finance and operations. Overall, the faculty represents about 16 countries, and a third of each MBA class typically comes from outside the United States, representing 30 to 40 countries. In total, the program has 31,092 alumni in 81 countries.

The school’s location in the southeastern United States provides a temperate climate and seems to be perfectly suitable for Turks. Chapel Hill is a popular college town and part of the dynamic Research Triangle area, which the New York Times described as “a happy place between slow-paced Southern charm and urban cool.”

One Turkish student, Hülya Paşaoğulları (’10), said: “During my finance-oriented business career at the Turkish Treasury, I worked on public-project financing. I was impressed with the Finance and Management Consulting concentrations at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. The well-balanced nature of the MBA program overall, in addition to the team-oriented community played an important role in my decision to come to Chapel Hill. Classmates and faculty are always ready to extend a helping hand. Also, opportunities to learn and take leadership roles are plentiful and diverse, ranging from the STAR program to club activities, including case competitions, where you can find many opportunities to apply classroom theory to current real-world situations.”

Another Turkish student, Füsun Erkul (’11) said: “I was impressed by the school culture, as defined by the core values (excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork) which everybody at UNC Kenan-Flagler takes very seriously. The range of available opportunities to get involved in the U.S. and global business environment provides a great chance to apply skills learned in the classroom to real business problems even before graduation. I believe this is one of the unique aspects of UNC Kenan-Flagler, which is different from other business schools.”

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