The International Module at the Sabancı University School of Management

Sabancı University, founded in 1995 as a nonprofit foundation university, is an innovative institution responsive to the needs of all our constituents through a participatory, team-based culture. Sabancı University has an interdisciplinary educational infrastructure with the mission of “Creating and Developing Together.” The University aspires to become a global reference point for educational innovation.

In a relatively short span of time both the University and the School of Management (SOM) have made great advances towards its goals of innovation and internationalization. The School of Management received accreditation from AASCB as proof of its quality of faculty and educational programs. The University has ranked first in the “Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Turkish Higher Education Index” in 2012 by the Science, Industry and Technology Ministry. SOM has developed an international reputation leading to cooperation with high quality institutions worldwide. The University has ranked first in terms of the percentage of exchange students in the country, creating a multicultural campus. In 2011 SOM signed a strategic partnership agreement with MIT Sloan School of Management. Last but not least, the School with its Executive MBA program was ranked by Financial Times among the Best 100 Business Schools in 2014 and 2015.

School of Management offers a number of full-time and part-time graduate programs in addition to an undergraduate management program. The School hosts one of the most successful executive education centers in the region. In addition it is home to the Center for Applied Finance Education, Corporate Governance Forum of Turkey, the U.N.’s Carbon Disclosure Project Turkey, Entrepreneurship Development Program, and the Competitiveness Forum. SOM is a member the EFMD, CEEMAN, PRME and Global Compact.

Study trip in Istanbul promises an experience unlike any other. Istanbul is the city of wonder between Europe and Asia. The university campus is on the outskirts of the Asian side of Istanbul next to industrial heart of the city. As the largest city in Turkey and 5th largest in the world with a population of 12.8 million, Istanbul (European Capital of Culture, 2010) is a cultural, economic, and financial center of its region. During its long history the city served as the capital of three Empires. Turkey is the 16th largest economy in the world with a booming economy and easy access to 1.5 billion customers in Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Sabancı University School of Management
Orta Mah. Üniversite Cad. No:27
Orhanli - Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul

Neyir Ozdemir
Executive MBA Program Coordinator
+90-216-483 9743
City Guide
City Photos

Overview and Learning Objectives

The international module at the Sabancı School of Management, Sabancı University, aims to provide attendees a deep appreciation of:

  • The political, economic, and socio-cultural context of doing business in Turkey

  • The economic, political and social factors that explain the success of the Turkish economy during this last decade, and the important challenges still faced by the country

  • How Turkish business been changing and what it is doing to meet the challenges of the global economy

  • The types of firms in Turkey, whether they are SMEs (small medium sized enterprises) large family conglomerates, or internationalizing business groups, and what this means for their management practices and

  • The challenge of building global brands from Turkey, an emerging market

Turkish professors, top managers, and entrepreneurs, all selected for their expertise and knowledge of both the Turkish context and their broader world view, will lead focused discussions throughout the program. The Istanbul international module will include five content-filled working days (Monday to Friday). Every day will be focused on a specific topic aimed at doing business in Turkey. Prof. Nakiye Boyacıgiller, professor of Organizational Behavior of the Sabancı Executive MBA Program will be in charge of providing a holistic view of the topics that will be discussed during the week.
Participants will learn The -political, socio-cultural, and economic context of Turkey. Specifically, they will:

  • Acquire basic knowledge about the specific features of the social, economic and political contexts in Turkey,

  • Obtain basic understanding of the leading stakeholders and their demands and aspirations in Turkish civil society. and

  • Understand social, political and economic dynamics and processes in Turkey’s adaptation to global transformations

Culture and Human Resource Management practices in Turkey. They will:

  • Develop a broader understanding of the characteristics of Turkish culture and the influence of the Turkish cultural mindset on management, explained in particular, by theories of motivation and leadership,

  • Learn the specific influences on the HR philosophy, policies and practices of Turkish firms and their owner managers, and

  • Understand the variety of HRM practices in use across Turkish firms

The Turkish Economic and Financial Context

  • Basic knowledge of the features of the Turkish economy and its financial system

  • Basic understanding of global financial integration of an emerging market economy into the wider global economy,

  • Performance of Turkish financial markets in the context of the financial crisis in Europe, and

  • Issues and prospects for the sustainability of Turkey’s economic performance when compared to other actors in the global economy

Strategic Innovation in the Turkish Context

  • Review the basic concepts of strategic innovation and understand how these apply in the Turkish business context,

  • Examine the role and importance of strategic management of human assets for business innovation, and

  • Challenges of internationalization: Building a global presence from the Turkish context

Teaching Methodology

  • Interactive lectures

  • Reading

  • Group case work

  • Company visits

Readings to be done before you arrive in Istanbul:

  1. Richard H.K. Vietor. Turkey—A Work in Progress? HBS Case, 2015.

  2. Juan Alcacer & Esel Çekin. Turkish Airlines: Widen Your World. HBS Case, 2015.

  3. Please do google searches on the companies we will be visiting before you arrive in Turkey: Akbank, Turkish Airlines, Airties, Logitech & Mavi Jeans. Each day a group of students preselected by Prof. Boyacigiller will be expected to lead the  Q& A discussions during our company visits.

  4. Peruse last few months or articles on Turkey in the Economist or other solid news source to be relatively aware of recent events.

Program at glance

Saturday, September 16th: 
 19:00-21:00 Welcome Dinner by Prof. Füsun Ülengin Dean of School of Management.

Sunday, September 17th: 
09:00-13:00 City Tour – Chora Museum
 Free time.

Monday, September 18th: 
History, Culture and Politics
Transfer to Sabanci University

09:00-09:45 SU and Higher Education in Turkey. Nakiye Boyacıgiller, PhD.
10:00-12:00 Historical and Political Context of Turkey. Prof.Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, Faculty Member, Sabancı University.
13:00-15:00 Turkish Culture and its managerial (and political) implications. Prof. Arzu Wasti, Faculty Member, Sabancı University
17:00-19:00 Prepare Turkish Airlines recommendations

Tuesday, September 19th: 
Political Turbulence and the Turkish Economy

09:15-11:00 Uprisings, FETO and more: The Impact of the political context on Turkey's Economy. Prof. Ahmet Öncü, Faculty Member, Sabancı University
11:15-12:30 Politics at the Crossroads: TR and  EU, US, Russia and its neighbors. Prof. Fuat Keyman, Faculty Member, Sabancı University
Visit to Turkish Airlines: Competing in a Turbulent Environment Turkish Airlines

17:00-18:00 Project work time

Wednesday, September 20th: 
The Refugee Crisis and its Impact on TR
09:15-10:30 Turkey and the Refugee Crisis. TBA
10:45-12:00 Refugees, Workers and MNEs. Serkan Tanka, Europe Production Mger, H&M
14:15-16:00 NGO working  with Syrian Refugees 
16:00-17:00 Dinner at  Women to Women Refugees Kitchen 
18:00-19:00 Project work time

Thursday, September 21st: 
Entrepreneurship in a Turbulent Context
09:15-10:30 Working in and from Turkey: Perspectives of a Turkish American Entrepreneur. Bülent Çelebi, Cofounder, Airties
10:45-12:00 Panel Discussion: What foreigners need to know about doing business in TR. Didem Altop, Endeavor     
13:30-15:00 Visit to Start Up Incubator   
16:00-17:30 Tour of Sakip Sabanci Museum 
18:00-19:00 Project work time

Friday, September 22nd:  
Transformation and Globalization in a Turbulent Environment
 Transformation in an Emerging Economy: Case of Modern Retailing in Turkey and Teknosa,  Dr. Cüneyt Evirgen

11:15-12:30 Competing internationally from Turkey: Company visit to Mavi Jeans
14:00-15:00 Project work time
15:00-16:30 Team Presentations: Investing in Turkey
16:30-17:30  Certificate Presentation
Farewell Dinner & Certificate Presentation

  • Saturday, September 23th: Free day for Shopping/Sightseeing
Program at glance

Nakiye Boyacıgiller

Prof. Dr. Nakiye A. Boyacigiller is the former Dean of the Sabanci School of Management at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey.  Born in the US and educated in Turkey, France and the US, Dr. Boyacigiller’s research, teaching and leadership activities all reflect her interests in enhancing the effectiveness of multicultural work groups and cross border collaboration. In 2007 Nakiye was elected a Fellow of the Academy of International Business (AIB) for her contributions to the scholarly development of the field of international business. In addition to her work at Sabanci she is on several international advisory boards advancing business education,  women’s empowerment and philantropy.  

Ersin Kalaycıoğlu

 Ersin Kalaycıoğlu is a Turkish political scientist,Professor of Political Sciences at Sabanci University and former President of Işık University, Istanbul (2004–2007). Prof. Ersin Kalaycıoğlu received his undergraduate degree from Istanbul University, Faculty of Economics in 1973 (major Economics, minors Political Science and Statistics). He continued his education at the University of Iowa, Department of Political Science, and received his M.A. in 1975, and his Ph. D. in 1977. Dr. Kalaycıoğlu started his academic career at Istanbul University, Faculty of Economics from Fall 1977 through Spring 1982, and at the Faculty of Political Science of the same university between Fall 1982 and Spring 1984. Dr. Kalaycıoğlu was employed as a full-time faculty member at Boğaziçi University from Fall 1984 to Spring 2002. As an academic, Prof. Kalaycıoğlu specializes in the study of political representation and participation. Prof. Kalaycıoğlu has contributed a chapter on Turkey in Mark Kasselman, Joel Krieger and William A. Joseph (eds.) Introduction to Comparative Politics, 3rd ed., (Boston, Houghton-Mifflin: 2005). Prof. Kalaycıoğlu is currently a full-time Professor of Political Science at Sabanci University. Present courses offered by him include: Introduction to Turkish Politics and Comparative Party Systems and Interest Groups. Prof. Kalaycıoğlu is a Board Member of the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, and also a member of Turkish Political Science Association, Turkish Social Science Association, International Studies Association, International Political Science Association, and Middle Eastern Studies Association of North America (MESA).


Cüneyt Evirgen

Dr. Evirgen, who completed his high school education in Robert College, Istanbul-Turkey, graduated from Bosphorous University, Istanbul, Turkey with BSc degree in Electrical Engineering and BsC degree in Mathematics in 1986 as a double major student. He continued his graduate studies in the area of marketing and received his MBA degree from Bosphorous University, and in 1995, he received his PhD degree in marketing and international business from Michigan State University (MSU), USA. Dr. Evirgen specializes in Marketing Strategy, Retailing and Marketing Research where he has carried out a number of studies. He started his Market Research studies and consultancy work at IBC (International Business Centers), MSU. Dr. Evirgen undertook the General Manager and Board Member position at Bilesim International Research and Consultancy Inc. in Turkey (now part of GfK Inc. and Nielsen Medya Inc. companies) between the years 1994-2002, and coordinated more than 1,000 research projects for over 100 firms in Turkey, and Caucasia and Central Asia through subsidiary companies founded. In this period, the company has been awarded ISO Quality Certificate for the first time in the industry. Between the years 2003-2004, he lectured at Koc University and Sabanci University in the areas of marketing management, global marketing management and strategic brand management. During the same period, he was appointed as Director of the professional Training and Consultancy Program in retailing at Sabanci University. He is also a Board Member in Teknosa Inc. since 2005, Board Member at Cilek Furniture Inc. and Board Member at Carrefoursa Inc. since 2012, and is a member of the Advisory Council at Trade Association of Shopping Centers & Retailers in Turkey. He is also the academic consultant of the Retailing Sectoral Assembly of the Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey.

Arzu Wasti

S. Arzu Wasti is a Professor of management at the Graduate School of Management, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. She received her B.S. (Management) in 1992 and her Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in 1994 from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. In 1996, as a Fulbright scholar, she earned an M.S. degree in Human Resources Management at Purdue University. In 1999, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Her cross-cultural research on organizational commitment, sexual harassment, organizational trust and organizational culture has appeared in such journals as Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of International Business Studies and Leadership Quarterly. She is a recipient of several research awards, including the International Academy of Intercultural Relations's Best Dissertation Award, the Academy of Management's Lyman Porter and Carolyn Dexter Best Paper Awards and the Turkish Academy of Sciences Encouragement Award.

Ahmet Öncü 

Ahmet Öncü is professor of sociology in the School of Management. Professor Öncü’s scholarship is grounded in theories and methods found in the fields of social theory, historical sociology and political economy with application to topics and issues pertaining to the Turkish social formation. His research primarily falls into three themes and related broad research questions:  grounding Turkish modernity and capitalism on social theory; political economy of class dynamics and their implications for social and cultural change; and social, political and moral foundations of democracy and citizenship.

Fuat Keyman

  E. FUAT KEYMAN is professor of International Relations at Sabancı University/İstanbul. He is also the director of Istanbul Policy Center (IPC) at Sabancı University. He works on democratization, globalization, international relations, civil society, and Turkey-EU relations. He has produced many books and articels, both in English and in Turkish, in these areas. Among his books are Symbiotic Antagonisms: Contending Discourses of Nationalism in Turkey (University of Utah Pres, 2010, with Ayşe Kadıoğlu); Remaking Turkey (Lexington, Oxford, 2008); Turkish Politics in a Changing World: Global Dynamics, Domestic Transformations (Bilgi University Publications, 2007, with Ziya Öniş); Citizenship in a Global World: European Questions and Turkish Experiences (Routledge, London, 2005, with Ahmet İçduygu); Globalization, State, Identity/Difference: Towards a Critical Social Theory of International Relations (Humanities Press, New Jersey, 1997); Cities: The Transformation of Anatolia (Dogan Publications, İstanbul, 2010, in Turkish); Globalization, Europeanization and Citizenship in Turkey, (Bilgi University Publications, İstanbul, 2009, in Turkish); The Good Governace of Turkey (Bilgi University Publications, İstanbul, 2008, in Turkish); Changing World, Tranforming Turkey (Bilgi University Publications, İstanbul, 2005, in Turkish); and Turkey and Radical Democracy (Alfa, Istanbul, 2001, in Turkish).

Room Fees
15 minutes from Sakıp Sabancı Museum by taxi or by bus
Deluxe Room (Marina / Bosphorus View) Single: 160 Euro + VAT, Double: 180 Euro + VAT (including breakfast) / Deluxe Room (Garden View) Single: 130 Euro + VAT, Double: 150 Euro + VAT. (including breakfast)
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