Current Employer/Organisation Name
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
Following my undergraduate studies at the University of Exeter in BEng Civil Engineering, I returned to Istanbul to gain professional experience. Firstly, I started as a Civil Engineer at a well-known Construction company in Turkey, at the ”Istanbul-Ankara High-Speed Railway Construction” project. After working for a year as an engineer, I chose to change the direction of my career and I decided to pursue my life-long passion for automobiles. Both studying in the UK and my passion for British cars from my childhood pushed me to work with an exciting and well-known brand like Jaguar Land Rover. I started as a Product Genius (Sales) first, then promoted to directing sales & marketing activities at Turkey’s first JLR Pop Up Store in Istanbul. Here we managed to sell 50+ unique cars & SUV’s in less than 3 months. After developing a significant network and industry know-how working for JLR, I decided to continue personal education and moved to the US to pursue the Pre-MBA (CORe) and Entrepreneurship program at Harvard Business School Online. During this program, I was also invited to participate in the Innovation Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, New Ventures Leadership program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Bootcamp was a highly selective program; out of thousands who’ve applied, only 122 made it to Rio de Janeiro (where the program was held). The scope of this program was to bring together young entrepreneurs around the globe in their pursuit of driving innovation in a diverse selection of industries. In the admission criteria, MIT actually hand-picked individuals who demonstrated initiative with follow-through, capacity for calculated risk, critical openness, commitment to the community and entrepreneurship potential. After my studies, I returned to Turkey again and these professional and academic experiences enabled me to co-found my dream start-up, named EVS, which is the first and only cutting-edge maintenance solutions provider to Hybrid /EVs. I also lead a family business that specializes in designing unique construction materials like Aluminium and similar metals.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
The reason I chose Engineering was due to my grandfather and my father’s background in Civil Engineering. Even from my childhood, I knew how compelling and prestigious to be an engineer. Whether it be gaining an analytical / engineering mind, or be a practical problem-solver, I knew engineering program was meant for me. Even though I loved studying engineering and the analytical vision it provided me, later I chose to move to another sector, or field, which was my passion. But I’m very happy and satisfied that I chose to study engineering as it provided me a solid base to shape and build upon.
Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?
I was a member of Turkic and Turkish Society at Exeter. I held the position of Social Media and Communications Director at the Turkic Society where I and my team were responsible for all the event planning and social media branding during my studies. I was also actively participating in the meetings of the Exeter Entrepreneurs Society and the ExeTech.
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
Civil Engineering was hard-work, but fun and rewarding at the same time. I always find Civil Engineering to be an amazing experience, because as you discover the content of civil engineering, whether it’s a bridge, space satellite, dam, road or tunnel, civil engineers are the people who design, construct and manage the entire process, from development to evaluation. I believe I enjoyed building strong fellowship along the hard work to be the biggest reward. Exeter teaches you, a lot, while you have a great time whether on campus or outside the skirts of beautiful Devon. The biggest highlight during my studies would be gaining a Merit Scholarship during my studies at Exeter. This was due to hard, strategic and smart working discipline. I was honoured to receive this award, not only for tangible support but also for Exeter being very generous to support fellow students along the way.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
I believe the University of Exeter has the best of both worlds. It’s unexpectedly picturesque and it has an ideal balance of city and rural life – which was the main reason I decided to study there. It is amazing to have fast and easy access to the amazing landscapes of the southwest, and you could have amazing road-trips with your friends. Also, having the beach close to you was another advantage. You could also easily travel to London, to have a weekend getaway with your friends, if you’re interested.
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
The reason I studied at the University of Exeter was the department rankings, school culture & vision, and the social aspects it provided to students within the UK and abroad. I researched this school a lot and I believed it would be a perfect fit for my academic goals and my personality. I was also eligible to apply to Exeter because I studied the IB program at high school (BLIS), and Exeter was in the top-3 of my choices. Before coming to Exeter, my university consultant, Burcu from ATEC also informed and supported me towards how impressive Exeter was all around the world.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
If you are planning to enter the engineering field, I believe the most important skills that hiring managers and companies look for in engineers are; Technical Skills, working under pressure, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and communication. I believe Exeter did a great job teaching and applying these to students. Personally, I believe the most important skills and experiences were effective technical skills, as the CAD lectures and practices were the most useful. This skill is not only important for civil engineering but also for other respective areas. Also, Exeter showed me how important and critical it was to learn to work under pressure, which is essential for your career. Studying Civil Engineering also taught me effective problem-solving skills, and teamworking skills as it provided a lot of group projects.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
If you are a current student who wishes to pursue civil engineering, keep continue the hard work, join Engineering talks and events, and join a professional body as soon as possible. In this way, you’ll be able to adapt to this ecosystem more easily. Also, don’t forget that you need to be knowledgeable in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These four subjects are the very foundations of any good engineer, therefore you need to practice these in your everyday life. Moreover, joining a professional body is equally as important as to get your degree. The ICE has many members around the world and it provides both student and graduate membership to aspiring civil engineers. Membership is free for students, and don’t forget to benefit from the advantages the ICE offers you. In the meantime, Work towards chartered status because it is a competitive and demanding discipline, and being chartered offers you a lot of opportunities along the road.
What are your plans for the future?
To be a disciplined and serial entrepreneur. I’m constantly interested and eager to develop my skills, both professionally and academically. Thinking back to my entrepreneurship study at MIT, Bill Aulet, the Managing Director of Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, taught me that entrepreneurship is actually a skill that could be learned. This is why I’m highly concentrated on working smart and learn from my mistakes along the way. In this way, I believe that our team will solve many problems that the automobile sector has, and provide the optimal and cost-efficient solution for automobile owners in the future.