We are expecting to hear from you! Please write your 200-300 word-long ODTÜ story responding to the following questions. Your stories will be accessed on this website, along with those that we will share with you from time to time. Click here to share your story.
Please refer to the following questions while writing up your story.
• Which department did you graduate from and when did you graduate? What is your current position?
• What contributions do you think the time that you spent at ODTÜ made you academically and personally?
• What were the effects of being a ODTÜ alumni on particularly your professional life after graduation?
• Are you still in touch with ODTÜ? If yes, how?
• What message would you like to give to our current students?
Osman Tüzün (CENG '90)
Garanti Bank - HR Director
I graduated from the Department of Computer Engineering in 1990. After working at different departments of Garanti Bank for 13 years, I was appointed as the Human Resources Director in 2008. I have been working as the Human Resources Coordinator for 7 years.
The most important entity at an organization is the human being. It is necessary to work on systems that can strengthen and support the people working in organizations. I graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, and I can say that in this sense I have had the opportunity to put into practice what I learnt at ODTÜ about making analyses and envisioning the factors that could affect the systems.
In today’s conditions, both work life and private life have become extremely complex. You have to deal with a lot of stimuli and details. I believe that being a ODTÜ engineering graduate offers a great benefit in terms of developing the systems and methods in both your work and personal life to deal with this complexity. I think the social environment and the facilities that were provided to us at ODTÜ even 25 years ago helped us to grow personally and to be prepared to view life from different perspectives.
We formed the Work Life Relationship (WLR) team about two years ago within the Human Resources Department at Garanti Bank with an attempt to understand the needs of our employees and to offer solutions based on their expectations. This team organizes many activities to introduce the work environment at Garanti Bank not only to the current employees but also to the new applicants. Within this scope, we organize regular visits to ODTÜ every year. We have the opportunity to introduce our bank and its work culture to students thanks to the ODTÜ Career Fairs that are held twice a year. Some senior executives and employees in our bank are also ODTÜ graduates, and they also support us at times and attend these fairs with us to visit ODTÜ, to introduce the departments they manage to the students, and to share their experiences. The feedback that we receive after these fairs make me so proud as a ODTÜ graduate.
85% of the new employees at Garanti Bank are new graduates. After making these new graduates a part of our bank, our aim is to support them through professional and personal training sessions and to provide them with a work environment in which they can pursue their careers at Garanti Bank. What I would like to tell new graduates is they should search for professions that could feed and improve them. They should not neglect to do internship because it is of great significance to take an active role in the job which they dream of while they are still students and to familiarize themselves with the organization.
Umay Şaplakoğlu (BIOL '96)
Global Leader at GE Healthcare
I graduated from the Department of Biology at ODTÜ in 1989. Then, I completed my Master’s degree with Professor Emel Arınç in 1991 and my doctorate degree with Professor Mesude İşcan in 1996 at the same department. I also worked as a research assistant while I was pursuing my Master’s and PhD degrees. Now, I’m the global leader of a technical team at GE Healthcare Life Sciences. I have been living in New Jersey in the US. My team is comprised of approximately 40 scientists and engineers, who are dispersed to China, India, Sweden and the US. Our job is to support the biopharma companies in manufacturing biological drugs, and we do this both on project basis and by providing training.
I still fondly remember the years I spent at ODTÜ. The major contribution of ODTÜ and my professors there is that they taught me how to think and they laid the foundation for my current work habits. Without exception, all my instructors approached me and my questions with love and respect and they never refrained from allocating their precious time both before and after graduation. In addition to the excellent academic education they gave, they also taught me human relations, talking in front of a group of people and many other skills that are necessary in work life. Most importantly, they created environments in which I could improve these skills and I could learn through trial and error. They expanded our horizons thanks to the link they have had with the other academicians all over the world and the opportunities they created. One example for such opportunities which now comes to my mind is the NATO summer schools to which Professor Emel Arınç took me as an assistant. The American academicians that I met there offered me guidance when I first came to the US. Another example is the presentation that I made on “coevolution” in Ankara University with the request and support of my philosophy of science professor Yaman Örs. That was the first speech I made to a group of people, and it was a very good start thanks to my professor’s trust in me.
After spending 11 years at ODTÜ, my husband and I had to move to the US due to my husband’s job. When we first moved there, I tried to make myself accepted within this new environment, which was not an easy process for me. First, I did a postgraduate study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ) for two years. Then, I started to work as the technical support staff at the company where I work now. I believe the education that I received at ODTÜ and the confidence that I built up at ODTÜ helped me a lot in getting over this process easily. Wherever I go, I always enjoyed the privilege of being a ODTÜ graduate. Graduating from an English-medium university made my life easier abroad. I still keep in touch with some of my professors at ODTÜ. When I came to Ankara, I had the opportunity to visit the campus once or twice, and I once again remembered how lucky I was to have spent 11 years on that beautiful campus.
I advise new graduates to be self-confident, to be open to learning and be curious, to do their job earnestly and thoroughly, to improve their human relations, communication and presentation skills, and not to allow anyone to shape them in whatever way they want. Lastly, my advice to them is to be aware of the power of the education they received and to find a job that they could do passionately. The education they received at ODTÜ is at a level that can compete with many other universities in the world and that can even surpass them. I can put this very plainly as somebody who met and worked with many graduates of American universities over the years. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
Mehmet Sezer (EE '92)
Xerox – General Manager for Middle East and Africa
I graduated from the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 1992. During the years I spent at ODTÜ, I received the best academic education and training that I could ever receive in Turkey. I considered ODTÜ as the best place in Turkey to learn about Electrical and Electronics Engineering. We took courses from world-class professors at ODTÜ and I thought there would not be a better educational opportunity somewhere else. And I still believe so. ODTÜ was not a university that I chose only for its academic opportunities and success. The joy of studying at ODTÜ, and the vision and perspective those studying at ODTÜ expand on as far as I heard from and observed in my acquaintances and relatives from ODTÜ also played a role in my choice. Campus life at ODTÜ, the friendships formed and the shared experiences mostly got ahead of academic achievements. ODTÜ contributed to my personal development in this respect, and helped me question my life and look at life from different perspectives. Above all, I gained a lot of self-confidence at ODTÜ. I was always among the best people, and I competed with my friends in solidarity. With the consciousness and responsibility of being a member of ODTÜ, I enjoyed saying to everyone “Hi professor” whatever their department was. I first experienced the feeling of being liked and being different at ODTÜ as well. All these were the aspects that not only I but also all other members of ODTÜ were proud of.
After graduation, I realized that the business world which I tried to be a part of with enormous confidence was not actually a milieu in which success can easily be achieved. Of course, being a ODTÜ graduate opened up many doors and helped me receive many job offers. Yet, it was not helpful beyond that. Universities and business life are two different worlds. You should know that especially when you change your field and decide to work outside of the field in which you received your education, you are bound to experience serious difficulties. Being a ODTÜ graduate may turn into a disadvantage. People may expect you to be better even in the fields that you are not knowledgeable about since you graduated from ODTÜ, to act as if you know better than others before you learn the business, and to show the difference in being a ODTÜ graduate. Naturally, in time, you overcome all the difficulties with your potential and self-confidence; however, in addition to your ODTÜ identity, your job skills, good relations you form with people and most importantly, your modesty play a significant role in achieving this success. Not being arrogant, being sincere, and sharing, helping others and working in harmony are the factors that bring real success. Lastly, I have to say that when you graduate from ODTÜ, you have more than a diploma in your hands; the value of the social network in which you enter is increasing day by day, and this network may hold a more important place than various titles you have in opening up doors to you.
I’m still in touch with ODTÜ and my friends from university. I try to visit ODTÜ and my instructors and acquaintances there when I am in Ankara. I participate in the activities at ODTÜ. I come to ODTÜ to give speeches at the invitations of ODTÜ Administration and student clubs. I sometimes try to support ODTÜ within my means.
Lastly, I would like to give some advice to students. First, enjoy being a member of ODTÜ. You will never have such a period in your life again and you will always remember longingly your experiences at ODTÜ. Always be proud of being a member of ODTÜ, but do not exaggerate this because now there is a tough competition outside of the university. People can no longer get jobs easily just because they graduated from this or that university. There are many other parameters that are taken into account. It is necessary for students to improve themselves in line with the expectations of the market. It may take a little longer for you to graduate, but make sure you are a part of business life before graduation, comprehend the expectations of business life well, and prepare yourself accordingly. Be a modest person and do not look down on people. No matter how successful you are, you cannot maintain this success unless you love people, make people love you and be in harmony with them. Share your knowledge and experience; help people unconditionally; don’t be prejudiced; and be open to different views and thoughts. You should bear in mind that there is no absolute reality. Don’t give up your freedom, your struggle for your freedom and your loved ones. Show your intelligence and difference in every aspect of life.
Our main aim in life is nothing but finding happiness. School, job, and marriage are the stops in this journey. When you choose the correct stops, your life journey becomes more enjoyable. Whatever your choices are, there is nothing called “wrong choice”. Success or failure are the final stops one reaches as a result of the choices made. Don’t forget that in every race, there is a winner. Don’t lower your expectations in life in a way to deceive yourself, and don’t heighten them in a way to make yourself unhappy. Approach every issue with common sense as well as logic. Don’t ignore your real intention behind starting a job even when you cannot reach the intended result. Balancing all these concepts will help you a lot during this journey. ODTÜ was the correct stop in my life. I wish you a pleasant life journey.
Benay Öztürk (ME ’92)
Koçtaş Construction Materials T.A.Ş. – Deputy General Director
The years I spent at ODTÜ contributed to me personally and academically thanks to ODTÜ’s high quality education. At ODTÜ, I learned how looking at the problems from different perspectives may generate different solutions. I grasped the importance of being valuable as an individual and placing a high value on personal freedoms and differences. ODTÜ helped me a lot in improving my sense of responsibility and in realizing the fact that there is nothing “difficult”. Above all, being a ODTÜ graduate is a privilege. Not only when you apply for a job but also after you get the job, you realize that the way people look at you and their expectations from you differ since you are a ODTÜ graduate. What I learned at ODTÜ both consciously and unconsciously has a great role in my success. That I am solution-oriented and analytical when dealing with problems is highly beneficial for me. Unfortunately, since I live in İstanbul and I am very busy, I cannot maintain my connection with ODTÜ much. Students should grasp the meaning and value of being a member of ODTÜ and take responsibility to maintain this attachment. It is of great importance to work hard, to be different, and to strive for continuous innovation and improvement. You should adopt and protect the values and tenets of ODTÜ as role models. Enjoy ODTÜ and feel the true joy of being a part of ODTÜ!
Haldun Dingeç (ME '91, ME '96)
Arçelik A.Ş. Product Director
I believe my ability to do research (doing research quickly and persistently) developed considerably at university. I also believe that I improved such skills as competition, quick adaptation to changes, perseverance despite all the challenges, and the power of teamwork. After graduation, I continuously felt the positive effects of being a ODTÜ graduate. It’s a privilege to a member of ODTÜ in Turkey! My university increased my self-confidence in society. When I’m asked about my university graduation, I proudly say “ODTÜ”. My links with ODTÜ still continue on professional basis within the framework of the collaboration of our company with universities. In my private life, I visit ODTÜ from time to time taking the advantage of living in Ankara, and every time I visit ODTÜ, I get great pleasure. I tell my own kids ‘The university you choose is very important. You will live with this label until the end of your lives, so study hard and study at a good university’. You are at the correct place! You took the first necessary step to be successful in life! I heartily believe that you will continue studying hard and get the opportunity to reach the top level in Turkey. You should never forget that this country needs you!
Ender Arslan (ME '90, ME '93)
Kale Group, Strategic Planning and Business Development Director
Studying at ODTÜ taught me to learn. Over the years, we understood thanks to our instructors that this principle was in fact one of the main aims of ODTÜ. We got a start in business as very creative and well-equipped students with comprehensive technical knowledge. I can say that completing the Master’s degree boosted our self-confidence. This degree helped us be a solution-oriented researcher when faced with difficulties. The values and traits that ODTÜ instilled in us are the key for success in business life: an individual who knows how to learn, who benefits from both his own experiences and others’ experiences, who continuously improves himself, who has sound knowledge of his field, who is a researcher, and who is hardworking, self-confident, brave, open-minded, and free. The value that we cannot foster much at ODTÜ is the power of communication and networking. It will be better if we improve this skill as well. I still maintain my links with ODTÜ in various ways. When necessary, we are contacting the professors at ODTÜ within the scope of university-industry collaboration. Also, I still keep in touch with my friends from university, which helps greatly in terms of maintaining psychological health. There is nothing like coming together and chatting with friends from university at least once a month. You should never break off your relationship with the university; you should strengthen your relationship with your friends; you should try to enlighten the people around you to be an enlightened society day by day. Since I have been living in İstanbul for a long time, I’d also like to note this: There is a general assumption that ODTÜ graduates will be successful when a new factory or a system is being established, yet we are not as successful as other university graduates as far as opening ceremonies are concerned. I believe we have to improve ourselves in this respect as ODTÜ graduates.