Firat Uenlue enrolled in AGSM @ UNSW Business School’s MBA program to further his consulting career. But the opportunity to combine his Sydney studies with a Yale University education was too good for this globetrotter to pass up.
Following a role as an Analyst at McKinsey and studying at the London School of Economics in the UK, Firat decided to relocate to Sydney to study his MBA at AGSM @ UNSW Business School in 2020.
“AGSM’s combination of academic excellence and formidable focus on leadership development and strong track record in consulting aligned with my professional background and post-MBA career goals perfectly,” Firat says.
But Firat soon learned he could combine his AGSM MBA studies with a Master of Advanced Management (MAM) degree at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut US. The Yale School of Management program gives aspiring global leaders a chance to enhance their exposure to and understanding of international business and societal functions.
“Having the chance to complete two Master degrees from two global business schools and accessing international networking opportunities was really appealing,” he says.
Although it meant Firat and his wife would be on the move again – this time to the US. And AGSM’s strong standing as an international higher education provider would lay the path for this next step in an exciting learning journey.
An international perspective
Firat was born in Turkey and grew up in Germany. The economic differences between the two nations inspired him to enter the world of business consulting.
“The economic disparity between Turkey and Germany sparked my curiosity to understand what drives business performance and learn how to tackle complex business problems,” he says.
His studies took him from Germany to London, then onto AGSM in Sydney and Yale in New Haven. Along the way he got to experience a range of fantastic cultural highpoints.
“London is a brilliant city with amazing sport, food and culture,” he says. “But my wife and I loved the coastal walks, natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle of Sydney – and Australian food and coffee is second to none.”
Reflecting on his time at AGSM, Firat says the business school lives up to its billing as a world-class MBA program.
“The leadership development program at AGSM left the strongest impression on me and will stay with me for a lifetime,” he says. “AGSM is genuinely world-leading in that regard.”
All the world’s a classroom
Firat says one of the best things about the AGSM MBA / Yale MAM program was how he benefitted differently from each one.
“As a MAM student, you have access to the entire Yale course catalogue,” he says. “I found it hard to limit myself to just management classes – I ended up studying public health, constitutional theory and entrepreneurship in art and worked on projects using data science to predict Middle Eastern election results and consulting with an Indian NGO.”
The Yale MAM / AGSM MBA program is part of the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM), which offers students international learning opportunities and access to resources from business schools in 30 countries.
As somebody with a global background himself, Firat appreciated the learning opportunities the network presented.
“The GNAM is so cool and unique,” he says. “Talking about the growth strategies of Korean firms, learning how Brazilian firms managed COVID, developing a sense of macroeconomic trends in South Africa after a virtual visit to a township in Cape Town – it was all possible thanks to the GNAM.”
However, the harsh New Haven winter and COVID-19 forced Firat to complete his Yale studies online from his apartment, enabling Firat to focus on his academic studies – a focus that helped him earn Class Marshal of his cohort at Yale in honour of his outstanding academic achievement.
The GNAM is just one of the great international study opportunities at AGSM. Students can also benefit from AGSM’s membership in the Partnership in International Management (PIM), a network of leading international business schools that collaborate to develop exchange programs and research opportunities.
Setting yourself up to succeed
While Firat studied at Yale and AGSM concurrently to complete his MBA, going forward only AGSM alumni will be eligible to apply for the Yale MAM program due to timetable changes in the AGSM Full-Time MBA Program. Although, Firat this will actually suit students better.
“I think the MAM is a great option for experienced professionals who have worked for a few years after completing the MBA,” he says. “I’ve seen it work quite well among my classmates who took a clean break for a year or longer.”
Firat would recommend the Yale MAM degree to others – as long as they have a clear purpose in mind for enrolling.
“At a minimum, students need to map out three things: how the Yale School of Management mission suits their background and goals; how the MAM program bolsters their engagement in business in the short- and long-term; and whether or not it fits into a career path with an actionable strategy that optimises all available opportunities.”
“There’s nothing worse than hearing of people studying at Yale because of the university brand,” he says.
The next stop on the journey
Firat has one more relocation planned for now – from New Haven to Houston, Texas. That’s where he’ll continue his consulting career by transitioning to an internal consulting role at the largest medical city in the world – the Texas Medical Center.
“I’ll have a fantastic opportunity to build out a new analytics team while having an impact at scale and working in a purpose-driven team.”
He says his time in the AGSM MBA / Yale MAM program has been a defining arc of his professional career to date.
“The experience of working with brilliant classmates of diverse backgrounds and being exposed to cutting-edge academics has been so enriching intellectually,” he says. “And having access to multiple global alumni networks will have long-term benefits as well.
“Over the past decade, I have carefully crafted my profile and skills to eventually take on a major leadership role in business and in society. My experience at AGSM and Yale has sharpened my skills even further and enabled me to finally take that leap.”
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