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Volume 6, Number 10
29 November 1999

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Life After Graduation
Starting this week, Bilkent News will interview the alumni, and report different perspectives of life after graduation. First week's guest is Kemal Bostancıoğlu, who chose to start his own business after working in industry for several years.

Kemal Bostancıoğlu graduated from the FEASS in 1992. Just before his final exams, he updated his CV at CDPC (Career Development and Placement Center) and sent it out to several multinational companies. He was offered a position as a financial auditor by Price Waterhouse. With his accounting background, he worked on analyzing how other companies are organized and managed. Then he moved on in his career to Alcoa Aluminum as a cost accountant, first in their Washington DC office, and then in the factory in Mexico (every day he drove from his house in the USA across the border to his work in Mexico!)

Kemal wanted to move up on the corporate ladder and proposed himself for inventory manager which traditionally requires an industrial engineering background. He says, "The board members who flew over to Mexico for the meeting using their private planes did not believe me, but gave me two weeks to tell them why I should get the job." Kemal studied some aspects of inventory management at the library every night. After two weeks, he gave a seminar to the other managers and was offered the job!

Later, after moving up to a higher management position, Kemal decided to start his own business and he came to Turkey. He talked to couple of friends who wanted to invest their money for the business he had in mind. He was able to gather the capital needed to import new and technologically advanced consumer goods that were not available elsewhere in Turkey (such as telephones that disguise your voice, glasses that have a mirror hidden inside so that you can look behind you, etc.). Kemal ended up establishing his first store at Bilkent, Ankuva (he even employed a Bilkent graduate!). He got a patent for the name of the business so that he can give distributorships, and expand it into an international chain. Currently, he and his team sell these items retail and wholesale, and "the business is in a pretty good shape,"' Kemal says.

Kemal thinks that people have to create their own chances to become successful. He believes in the saying: "Knock, otherwise nobody will open the door; Ask otherwise nobody is going to answer."

Kemal is enjoying his new life as an entrepreneur and suggests that it may be a good path for those who would like to make use of their entrepreneurial skills. He also enjoys the proximity to his alma mater and the Bilkent Community.

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