Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Mert Can Yavuz, MIT (Sloan)

Mert Can Yavuz

MIT, Sloan School of Management

“Born and raised in Turkey, I’m an individual passionate about all things technology and entrepreneurship.”

Hometown: Ankara, Turkey

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was once bitten by a baby shark while swimming in the Maldives. I didn’t even notice it until my brother pointed out that there were several baby sharks swarming around me!

Undergraduate School and Major: Northwestern University, Industrial Engineering and Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Narrativ, Growth Director

What word best describes the MIT Sloan MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Passionate. Everyone I’ve met so far has a clear passion for what they want out of business school, whether it’s building a business from scratch or excelling in the world of finance. Despite the great diversity of student backgrounds and students’ different aspirations for what they want out of an MBA degree, the common denominator among everyone I’ve met has been the clear passion of the students to make their dreams become a reality and use business school as an incubator to chase their goals.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of MIT Sloan’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The diversity of teaching methods—through a combination of lectures, the case method and Action Learning Labs—led me to choose MIT Sloan. I am an individual who loves participating in the classroom but also strongly believes that the knowledge learned in the classroom needs to be applied in real life to become more useful. The diversity of MIT’s teaching style was a big part of the reason why I applied to Sloan.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at MIT Sloan? The prospect of helping run the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference really excites me. As a big believer that data and analytics drives the fundamentals of everything in our daily lives, the chance to organize a platform to bring together industry experts and students who are passionate about sports and numbers in the largest student-run conference in the world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Action Learning Labs are one of MIT Sloan’s biggest attractions. Which lab interests you most? How does it fit with your interests? Digital Product Management Lab (PM-Lab) is an Action Learning Lab that greatly interested me. During my past startup experiences, I’ve always been on the business-side, but also got to see just how important product development and management was for the success of the entire venture. Without a good product, it’s impossible for a venture to truly succeed in the long run. The opportunity to acquire more knowledge about the art of product management through hands-on learning in PM-Lab will diversify my knowledge and set me up as a more well-rounded entrepreneur.

When you think of MIT, what are the first things that come to mind? How have your experiences with the Sloan program thus far reinforced or upended these early impressions? Entrepreneurship and innovation are two big aspects of Sloan’s program that immediately come to mind. Seeing how a great majority of my classmates are interested in these areas as well has significantly reinforced my belief that Sloan is an incredible business school for those who want to immerse themselves in an innovative environment.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Moving to a small startup after 2.5 years at a big Wall Street bank was the biggest risk I took in my career, and I also believe consequently my biggest accomplishment. I had a lot of doubts about moving from the safety of a big corporation to startup life, but it was a career-defining moment for me. I loved the hustle of startup life and learned a lot about the different facets of running a business, from product development to sales and marketing.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? The pandemic made me realize how much we take so many simple things, like going for a walk in the park or reading a book at a coffee shop, for granted in our busy lives. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things in life much more after the pandemic, and have definitely become more of an outdoors person than I was before.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Working in the tech sector over the last two years, I’ve realized that startups are just as responsible for driving innovation as they are for contributing to society in creative ways. I believe companies that combine innovation and social responsibility make the biggest impact on their communities, and that pursuing an MBA at MIT Sloan is the ultimate incubator for me to chase this ideal. Post-graduation, I dream of becoming a disciplined entrepreneur and creating a company that emphasizes social change, with a diverse corporate culture.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard, Stanford, Wharton

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into MIT Sloan’s MBA program? Use the different parts of your application to highlight different parts of your student profile—this will allow your diversity to truly shine. The other important aspect is to quantify as much of your accomplishments as you can: MIT Sloan’s principle of past success determining future success is a crucial part of the application.

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