Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Bahar Elçin Kavak, HEC Paris

Bahar Elçin Kavak

HEC Paris

“Curiosity is my superpower.”

Hometown: Ankara, Turkey

Fun Fact About Yourself: My first drive was a 2,000 km tour to the eastern side of Turkey… with a Vespa.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Undergraduate not applicable in Turkey

Galatasaray University Law School

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Herguner Bilgen Özeke Attorney Partnership – Legal Associate

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of HEC Paris’ MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The 16-month duration with a well-organized curriculum was the main reason why I chose HEC. Coming from a legal background, I wanted to take my time in both establishing a core knowledge in business and discovering the opportunities that HEC and Paris offer. I do not see the MBA degree as a stepping-stone to complete hastily to rush into the business world, but as a completely new experience to enjoy. HEC Paris is the best option in my case.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at HEC Paris? I am excited to take part in the consulting Club as I plan to pivot my career into consulting. I am also interested in the courses offered in the strategy specialization at the customized phase of the program.

HEC Paris is just 17 kilometers from Paris. What do you see as the best part of earning your MBA so close to Paris? Geographically, Paris is located in the center of Europe and provides easy access to different job markets, but the best part is the opportunity to discover this beautiful city. As I was French schooled my entire life, completing my MBA degree in proximity to Paris feels like a joyful homecoming!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: We have assisted our US-based client in the sale of 90% of its shares in a Turkish listed company on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. Our core team was composed of three legal consultants and I was responsible for the supervision of the buyer’s due diligence process. To give an idea about the process, I should note that the target company has five facilities across Turkey, which eventually took two months of hard work and endless Zoom calls with both parties’ consultants.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? In the pre-COVID era, living among the big city life hustles and bustles was the primary concern of many people including myself. COVID-19 reminded us bitterly that life is not about prioritizing daily issues over our responsibilities to our loved ones, or our overall well-being. Now, before getting anxious to keep up with the upbeat tempo of life, I ask myself if it is worth upsetting the balance.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Six years of experience on the legal side of M&A projects showed me that the legal consultants usually lack a business-oriented approach while other advisors consider the most profitable track regardless of its legal impacts. As I get more exposed to these different mindsets, I wanted to put myself in the shoes of various actors in the projects to develop a broader perspective.

After graduation, I want to work in consulting where I can combine my legal experience with the skills I will acquire during my MBA. I hope the MBA experience will serve me to set the “most profitable, yet lawful” solution on the table in my career in consulting.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to INSEAD’s MBA program.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into HEC Paris’s MBA program? When I started researching MBA programs, I noticed that the admission processes usually require prospective students to build up an aggressive self-marketing strategy to secure a seat. However, HEC Paris’ approach is different in this respect. HEC Paris allows space for the applicants to introduce both their professional and personal traits – even to narrate their dreams such as in the question “Imagine a life entirely different from the one that you lead, what would it be?”. As such, sincerity becomes the main feature that makes an application stand out. I would advise potential applicants to take time for an introspect to determine their traits and who they truly are, and be sincerely themselves at each step of the admission process.


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