2023 MBA To Watch: Taner Bicer, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Taner Bicer

Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of Business

“Insatiable learner and reader with a love for sci-fi and fantasy, story-telling, and anything nerdy.”

Hometown: Brussels, Belgium

Fun fact about yourself: I can speak for hours about science and technology. When asked for a single fun fact about myself, my brain turns off.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Arizona State University, B.S. in Biochemistry

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Heliae Development LLC., Research Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Cornerstone Advisors. Intern Consultant

Where will you be working after graduation? NTT Data, Senior Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Leadership: W. P. Carey Graduate Consulting Club President

Awards: W. P. Carey MBA Net Investor Award

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My proudest achievement in business school is supporting my fellow leaders in elevating the Consulting Club within the MBA program and growing interest with students and outside firms. As a relatively young club, we don’t have a fully-developed alumni network or long-term relationships with consulting firms. In just one year we managed to double the participation of MBA students in our events, bring new firms onto campus for coffee chats, networking, and recruiting, and relaunch our pro-bono consulting initiative. Being able to share this accomplishment with the three other leaders of the club makes it all the better.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? This is a difficult question to answer. I worked on multiple large-scale projects during my pre-MBA employment and during my MBA internship, so I will instead mention the first exposure I had to consulting: working pro-bono for a local small business. Our team of 6 MBA students worked for half a year to improve the marketing and customer retention of the client. I taught myself how to use their CRM platform so I could create custom scripts and recommendations that would support their goals. Beyond cementing my love for the profession, it gave me the confidence to interact and engage with clients. I will always remember giving my final presentation and seeing the joy and value I was able to bring.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose W. P. Carey for its “Business Is Personal” spirit. At first, I thought it was tacky lip-service, but everyone I worked with in the application process was so warm and welcoming that I realized they really practiced what they preached. This was further reinforced by my research into the curriculum and professors, who all champion collaboration and support. And I can happily say that my experience within the program matches this exactly, with my classmates, professors, and program operations working together to create an environment where business really is personal.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite MBA course was a consulting course focused on emotional intelligence. Featuring several guest speakers from various backgrounds and consulting firms – and a variety of case studies – the class explored the most crucial skills in consulting while helping develop our own emotional intelligence. A close second was negotiations, as it helped me practice be assertive and navigate conflict without being confrontational.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Once a week, Program Operations hosts a weekly lunch to bring together all the MBA students. Especially as classmates disperse to their respective areas of emphasis and we see each other less, this event helped maintain a sense of community and let me break-bread with friends I wouldn’t see otherwise. It was also a great opportunity to spend time with my upperclass people during my first year and to likewise build relationships with the new cohort during my second year.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I were to redo my MBA program, I would be very intentional about setting aside time for myself and my overall health. In drinking from the firehose (last buzzword, I promise) involved in all the classes, different social activities, and emerging friendships, I neglected my own fitness and mental health. Overall, I managed to juggle everything well enough, but failing to plan is planning to fail and my health took a hit as a result.

And I would have done more networking (I lied, here’s one more buzzword).

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth is that W. P. Carey is only a supply chain business school. Finance, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, and Consulting are all booming concentrations as well. The curriculum has something to offer everyone, and the community is even more supportive in helping people achieve their unique goals.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Tempe, Arizona is very much a college town, and what I loved most about it was the diverse cultures represented in a small radius. And by culture, I of course mean food. Within a short drive I could find local restaurants serving Indian, South-East Asian, Ethiopian, Turkish, Mediterranean, or Mexican cuisine. Drive a bit further and Downtown Phoenix offers an even more expansive array of options to keep my cultural and literal appetite satiated.

What surprised you the most about business school? How easy it was to make friends and connect with motivated classmates. I believed business school would be cut-throat and was pleasantly surprised that wasn’t the case.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I did my research and could clearly answer the most important question you’ll ever be asked in any application/job interview: “Why this school/company?”

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Everyone in my program is great and I could list amazing characteristics and accolades for each, but the one whom I most admire is Shay King. A fellow leader of the consulting club, he has elevated the consulting presence within the student body and helped spread awareness of our program to various large firms. He always supports his classmates academically and professionally, doing countless mock interviews and giving advice on networking and recruitment. And as the President of our LGBTQ+ and allies group, StandOut MBA, he advances diversity in leadership while providing a safe environment for all.

This program would not be the same without him and I am lucky to be in the same cohort and learn from his example.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

1. Learn as Much as Possible – As a consultant I aspire to be able to solve any problem and improve the lives and businesses of my clients. To do so I am excited to research and learn new things about any industry, function, and company I work with. This isn’t a perfect “bucket list item” as there is no point at which I can check a box for completion, but where’s the fun in that?

2. Retire as a Professor – I truly love teaching, sharing stories and experiences, and can’t imagine a greater way to end my career than being able to give everything I have learned to the next generation. I also like to infuse humor into everything I do and have already planned some great ways to mess with future students (fair warning to anyone who reads this 30 years from now).

What made Taner such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Taner is not only incredibly intelligent, but he’s highly community-oriented, too. Taner was the go-to person in both courses he took from me — always ready with an answer and almost always correct. Everyone considered him the guy with the correct answer in every situation. He handled complex information quickly. Perhaps even more outstanding was his selfless contribution to the community.  During his first year, he spent many hours tutoring fellow students on statistics and running a review session for many students. He did this for no pay, on an unofficial volunteer basis, in addition to the TAs I already had tutoring students and running review sessions. He gave freely of himself with the only goal of helping students through complex material.”

Reynold Byers
Clinical Professor and Assistant Department Chair, Supply Chain Management
W. P. Carey School of Business


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