“Industrial engineer by training, Bain consultant, had two entrepreneurship attempts but failed, food aficionado, married to an INSEADer.”
Hometown: I was born in Isparta, a small city in south Turkey that is famous for roses and rose-based cosmetics products.
Fun fact about yourself: I was stuck in Dubai Airport for 48 hours just before a very important client meeting because I did not realize that my Visa was only for a one-time entry. I had to attend the meeting via Skype just in front of the passport check counters.
Undergraduate School and Degree: Bilkent University, Industrial Engineering
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Bain & Company, Engagement Manager
Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? N/A
Where will you be working after graduation? Post-MBA, I plan to return to Bain & Company
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am leading a case interview preparation initiative at INSEAD. In a team of six people with consulting backgrounds, we are organizing mock interviews with MBA candidates who aim to pursue a consulting career. We managed to conduct 20+ sessions in less than a month and received very positive feedback and demand.
Also I am planning a trip to Turkey, a place where natural beauty meets history. Travelling with INSEADERs has been extremely fun and a great way of building friendships that will last a lifetime. I am already impressed by the high demand for the planned trip, and I can’t wait to share my beautiful country with my classmates.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As a former licensed chess player and member of the regional national team, contributing to the game’s development in countries that I live is important to me. Since 2011, I have spent time on weekends coaching underprivileged primary school students. To date, I have coached over 100 students. Therefore, I decided to do the same in Singapore and also decided to teach chess at INSEAD. So far I only have three trainees but it is a good start to build a chess community at the school.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am one of the founding members of our office. I joined Bain & Company in July 2012 as the fifth member of the Istanbul office, and I immediately took advantage of this rare opportunity to help establish a new office culture and grow its business. During my first year at Bain, I pitched consulting services to almost all of Turkey’s top 20 banks. Several times, I took the lead in C-level client discussions that followed our presentations. As one of the first members of our team, I capitalized on many opportunities to make major contributions to our first projects and take roles above my tenure. I also volunteered to play important roles beyond my established responsibilities, including “Fun Committee Chairman” in order to contribute to the development of a positive, supportive office culture and great team dynamics. I believe that consistently going the extra mile is a major reason why my colleagues have voted me “Most Inspiring” team member in our office for the last few years.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Federico Gavazzoni – Professor of Financial Markets and Valuation. This course clearly exceeded my expectations. I started my career as a structured products trader at a treasury unit of a bank. My main responsibilities were to build valuation models for complex financial instruments and trade these products with other global traders. Therefore, I was very familiar with the course subjects and did not expect to learn much from the course. But Professor Gavazzoni’s insights on the markets were extremely useful to understand the logic behind financial markets and valuation applications. I gained new perspectives in all of his classes.
What was your favorite MBA Course Organizational Behavior. Professor Stefen Thau helped me understand how to put organizational behavior concepts, such as conflict management, negotiation, and team dynamics, into practice. These perspectives are particularly relevant at this stage of my career. Professor Thaus’s conflict management session was eye-opening for me to realize how many different techniques can be used to resolve the situation. Better conflict management is very important in management consultancy as we have to deal with different stakeholders who have different priorities.
Why did you choose this business school? There was no doubt that joining INSEAD means joining a massive global community. I believed membership in this community would be a crucial asset for my career. It might sound like a cliché, but I was really excited to meet new people from all over the world and to learn from their experiences on less familiar topics. And I have to admit that INSEAD’s leading position in credible MBA rankings had an impact on my decision.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I can’t emphasize enough the importance of diversity at INSEAD. It is your application and you should express yourself. Do not be afraid to reflect your true self in your application and do not try to fit into a mould.
At INSEAD, your classmates will come from different backgrounds and will think differently. Be ready to have debates with them to create innovative ideas. You might be inspired by your Iranian female group mate, while discussing a go-to-market strategy for an e-commerce platform or you might get valuable organizational behavior insights from a medical doctor in your class. In other words, having an ability to work with completely different profiles is a must to be successful at INSEAD.
What is the biggest myth about your school? The fact that INSEAD is only a consulting school. INSEAD is one of the biggest sources of new consultants for management consulting firms. But the majority of its graduates are employed by other sectors including finance, technology, retail, and consumer goods.
What was your biggest regret in business school? Since INSEAD is a one-year program, time passes really quickly and you have to carefully structure your work-study-life balance. I would suggest not over investing on either side.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It is hard to pick one but you will be surrounded by extremely intelligent, fun, hard-working and well-rounded classmates.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My life-long mentor, an engineering economics professor at Bilkent University. Becoming aware of my interests in financial markets and economics, he not only advised me to consider opportunities in investment banking, but also introduced me to a friend who was the head of the treasury unit at a major Turkish retail bank.
if I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…extremely jealous of my wife because she is also doing her MBA at INSEAD.
If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would shift 8.30 am classes to 9.30 am.
What are the top two items on your bucket list? Diving in Monad Shoal in Malapascua, Cebu Philippines and visiting Myanmar are on the top of my INSEAD bucket list.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A kind, passionate and helpful guy who was obsessed with high quality food.
What is your favorite movie about business? (What was the biggest lesson you gained from it?) The Big Short, The lesson is all about loss aversion. People hate losses and they act irrationally to prevent them. Dissatisfaction due to a $10 loss is much higher than the joy of gaining $10.
What would your theme song be? Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love
Favorite vacation spot: Mykonos, a Greek island
Hobbies? Chess player and coach, committed amateur chef, traveler (25+ countries), amateur investor (Stock & Fixed Income)
What made Sukru such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?
“Sukru has a successful career with exceptionally fast promotions. He played chess in the Turkish national team as a teenager and was elected President of the Bilkent Engineering Society. The Admissions Committee appreciated the fact that Sukru coached over 100 underprivileged primary school students since 2011.”
MBA Recruitment and Admissions Director