“If one had but a single glance to give to the world: one should gaze on Istanbul.” Alphonso de Lamartine
Turkey has it all: a rich history and culture, an entrepreneurial business spirit, political and ideological divide between secular and Islamic camp but still retains a strong autonomy. Turkey’s vibrant business sector derives major gains from the large domestic market which is characterised by intense local competition. Nonetheless, Turkey lags behind other high growth markets such as Brazil or China, which provides a fertile ground for further development and business opportunities.
Legacy Ventures recently took a group of MBAs on a one-week study tour to Istanbul. The tour offered students a practical opportunity to learn about Turkey's successful economy and reflect on its performance over the past fifteen years by talking with business leaders.
The students met with executives from some of the leading businesses such as Anadolu Efes - the largest brewer in Turkey, Ulker – a major food manufacturer or Alarko Group - one of the largest conglomerate groups in Turkey. In addition, they had the opportunity to apply their MBA skills by conducting short consultancy projects with local companies in Istanbul and immerse on a deeper level with local business people. During these projects the students connected with businesses from a variety of sectors, including: human resources, technology, finance, leisure and travel and food. It wasn’t all work, the students had ample opportunities to bond and explore the streets of the spice bazaar, the old town buildings of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, the modern alleys of Istiklal street, the extraordinary food and some belly-dancing moves.
By the end of the week the students had an opportunity to understand Turkey has a vibrant business sector but that the old clashes between Western political modernity and secularism and Eastern tradition and religion are still active. Nonetheless, Turkey retains autonomy and a thriving commercial activity which manifests itself in prosperity.