MBA Blog: Istanbul, the bridge between West and East


A big part of my decision to come to London Business School for my MBA was the emphasis it placed on delivering a range of in-class and extra-curricular experiences that mirror an increasingly multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary workplace.

Indeed, the Global Business Experience trip was one such. GBEs are a week-long immersive experience for a cohort of around 80 students, with each visit focused on a selected country and business theme. For Istanbul, the theme was marketing, and it was my preferred choice for a number of reasons.

For one, I was interested in knowing what being situated between Europe and Asia meant for businesses in Turkey. The week-long immersion, with visits to organisations in a variety of sectors including textile, Internet retail, banking and many more and lectures from academics, alumni and entrepreneurs gave me a sense for how businesses in Turkey exploited this enviable position. Having completed a concentration in Marketing, the GBE was also an excellent platform to understand how some of the concepts from marketing played out in practice. For instance, our visit to Linens and Tac, a leading local textile manufacturer and retailer, brought home a number of lessons in brand management and channel strategy in a concrete way. It was quite exciting to be led on a tour of their flagship store, get a sneak preview of their new store layout, understand their market segmentation approach, and the role of digital marketing from none other than the CEO himself!

Secondly, as a middle-income economy aiming to make the transition to an advanced economy, I was curious about the initiatives being undertaken to make that transition. A number of them, including legislative changes to promote entrepreneurship, public-private partnerships, and large-scale projects in energy and improving healthcare infrastructure were accompanied by an upbeat consumer sentiment, and I found myself infected by that optimism. It also opened my eyes to career opportunities in the healthcare industry in Turkey...

Thirdly, having worked in the US prior to the MBA, another motivation for coming to LBS had been to expose myself to the way in which the UK and European economies were responding to the economic downturn. And the GBE was a fantastic opportunity to get under the skin of the Turkish economy, and a good follow-on from the course on World Economy. Indeed, throughout the week, the resounding message we heard was the impact that macro-economic drivers had on every day life in Turkey- persistent hyperinflation not too long ago had made the domestic consumer very resilient to uncertainty and adaptable to change, and businesses very nimble and innovative.

Lastly, visiting Istanbul with 80 of my friends has easily been among the highlights of my MBA; a perfect setting in which to get to know some of my classmates more closely, and to work with some for the first time! I don’t think any of the other GBEs or indeed many MBA programmes can boast of making shopping in Istanbul’s Grand bazaar an essential component of the learning experience! We witnessed a number of pricing and auction tactics in action and I learned that, quite similar to my home country - India, almost anything is negotiable. The experience was made all the more memorable because of our faculty advisors, who were themselves Turkish and had witnessed the dramatic changes in the country’s socio-economic fabric and could give us a rich and nuanced historical perspective to set the context. The GBE was truly, an unforgettable experience, and the perfect finish to my MBA.

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...


£80 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: KS1 & 2 Supply teachers ur...

Year 4 Teachers needed for day to day and long term

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

PPA Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album