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Welcome to the Financial Times live web chat with Nakiye Boyacigiller who features in our Ten Questions Q&A.

Nakiye Boyacigiller, dean of Sabanci University School of Management in Turkey and an MBA graduate of UCLA Anderson School of Management, will answer your questions on Thursday, 15th March 2012, between 14.00-15.00 GMT.

Post your questions to ask@ft.com and they will be answered on the day on this page.


Dear Prof. Boyacigiller,

I am a Turkish expat living in North America. I have held many positions as well as having my own company, with North American experience. I want to return back and give back to the community I grew up in. Can you briefly comment on the steps Turkish expats should take to make their move? Is there a database of expats networking with each other for the Turkish economy?

Nakiye: You are not alone, there are many Turkish expats deciding to return home in order to make a contribution to their home country. Here are a few ideas:

1) Hopefully you have developed professional contacts over the years in Turkey, especially in the sector in which you do business in North America. Now is the time for you to use your best networking skills and reach out to all of them asking for their advice. Each industry is different and will have different needs. I had always stayed in touch with the academic community in Turkey; one reason why I am convinced I was offered the job at Sabanci.

2) If you are starting from scratch you will need to start networking with returnees and with those who have spent their entire career in Turkey.

3) You may want to join Turkish Women’s International Network, which, as it’s name suggests, is a network of Turkish women from around the world who network to share opportunities.

4) Finally, beware of re-entry shock. While you can go home again, it isn’t always easy. It takes a while to find the right place and way to make a contribution. But if you are sincere in your desire and persevere, I am sure you will find a way.

Best of luck!

What would you say is the difference between studying for an MBA in the US and studying in Turkey?

Nakiye: The international diversity of the student body and faculty is one big difference. While the top schools in Turkey like Sabanci, are working hard to internationalise their faculty and student profile, we still have quite a way to go to become as international as our counterparts in the U.S. There is a great value in being in a class where members come from all parts of the globe. To compensate for this at Sabanci, virtually 60 per cent of our MBAs go on international exchanges and we offer a dual degree opportunity with MIT Sloan.

On the other hand, the main advantage of studying for an MBA in Turkey is the in-depth knowledge of the Turkish context and networking with those who will be your colleagues and competitors in the future. Given our efforts to provide international opportunities for our students, I like to think that we provide the best of both worlds!

Nakiye, you’ve accomplished a lot. What are you most proud of? Do you think that being a woman dean has made anything about accomplishing your objectives easier than it would have been for a man in the same position?

Martha Maznevski

Nakiye: Regarding your first question: Recruiting great young scholars to Sabanci; the school has more than doubled in size since I became dean. Getting AACSB accreditation. Our strategic partnership with MIT Sloan.

Regarding your second question: If you want to attract great people to a young university, you need to create a culture where they believe not only will they be able to grow as individual scholars but also that they will be joining a community. I think I have built a school that people want to be part of. Our culture is collegial and my colleagues feel that they have a voice in how the school is run and where we are going.

I am very much an inclusive leader, something we do tend to see more in women than men. But I must admit this is a hard question to answer as my gender, personality and even disciplinary bias all undoubtedly contribute to how I do my job.

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