IBA Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC)

Turkey Study Tour

A group of 20 students led by Dr. Amber Gul Rashid and Mr. Jami Moiz departed for Istanbul, Turkey on the 4th August via Turkish Airlines. The objectives of the Istanbul Study Tour were two fold. The first and foremost was to understand the Turkish business and socio economic environment as well obtain insights of the Turk consumer behavior. The second was to appreciate the historical, cultural and economic development of the Ottoman empire and eventual transformation into a republic and democracy.

The 7 day trip was well managed and organized. With the objectives in view, it was a perfect blend of giving the participating students a rich learning experience coupled with a firm grasp of rich Turkish culture. In essence Turkey is halfway between the east and the west.

YUM Foods was one of the first corporate visits that the group attended. At Yum, the students met with an IBA alumnus, Mr. Sabir Sami who is the Managing Director of the company. Sabir has had a diverse and varied exposure to marketing, operations and general management.

When it comes to building brands and leading companies to successful growth, Sabir Sami, IBA, Class of 1988 is at the top of his game. With more than 20 years in consumer goods management, working in world leading companies including Yum! Canada, Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Reckitt Benckiser.He explained the concept of franchising in Turkey and how it was different from his experience in Canada. He also shed light on the importance of market research and consumer insights. Turkey for him was fast paced and a growing environment; he felt it was a dynamic and challenging place to grow, expand and open a new restaurant outlet every single week. YUM Restaurants is proving its mettle in Turkey and fending well for itself under the leadership of Sabir who has promising ideas for the future. It was a remarkable and really informative session.

The cultural trip started off by a ferry ride to the beautiful Princes’ Islands, where the way of life is quiet and serene. The island is far from the hustle bustle of the city of Istanbul. Once we reached the biggest island ‘Buyukada’, we took a horse drawn carriage ride for a sightseeing tour of the whole island, since motor vehicles are not permitted on the island. The horse carriage ride gave us an insight into the quiet life Turks live on the islands and an elaborate view of the beauty of the island.

Next on the agenda was the KOC University which is located on the outskirts of Istanbul. The university was established by the KOC foundation of the KOC family; a huge conglomerate that contributes to 12% of the Turkish GDP. The university is located on the outskirts of Istanbul with the Bosphorus and Black Sea just minutes away; it is a quiet and peaceful area away from the city providing the students an environment of excellent learning. At Koch we were hosted by Ms Julienne Pacheco, International Programs & Global Recruitment Specialist, Koc University. She gave us an extensive understanding of the KOC student exchange program. We were also given a detailed tour of the campus along with the business school, engineering faculty as well as the social sciences school.

The Istanbul Study Tour also organized a half-day session at Reckitt Benckiser courtesy Tahir Malik, IBA Alumnus and Country General Manager Reckitt Benckiser, Turkey. Here we were also given the opportunity to participate in a three hour session with the Sales Director, Mr. Savan Tuysuz at Reckitt Benckiser headquarters in Turkey. This was an interactive session where Mr. Savan gave a remarkable historical, economic and political background of Turkey and how that contributes to the current market scenario. The session was based on the sales trend of the various products at RB. He further gave a concise outlook on the general retailing landscape in Istanbul. The interaction gave us a wonderful insight of the Turkish market and current best practices in trading. This enabled us to compare and contrast them with our local Pakistan trade practices.

Apart from the corporate visits, the students were also given a tour of the historical landmarks including the awe inspiring Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapi Palace, Hippodrome, Egyptian Bazaar, Pierre Loti Hill and the Grand Bazaar. These visits familiarized the students with the rich Ottoman history and diverse culture and proved to be an eyeful of breathtaking architecture.

Ali Shaikh, IBA Class of 2011 and post graduate from Aston University Birmingham gave the group a detailed briefing on the job opportunities in the Turkish market as well as the tactics that need to be adopted to land a job in Turkey.

The Study Tour contributed to and enhanced our understanding of Turkey, a nation at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

We are truly grateful and indebted to Dr Ishrat Husain, Dean and Director and Dr M. Nishat Associate Dean, for supporting and encouraging these study tours that enhance our understanding of cross cultural and global marketing trends. The efforts of our faculty members: Dr. Amber Gul Rashid through the Quality Enhancement Cell (QEC) and Mr. Jami Moiz via IBA Marketing Club (IMC) for organizing this enlightening and exposure enhancing trip to Istanbul, Turkey. The week long experience in Istanbul was indeed a memorable one for us.

We would also like to acknowledge the support provided in administration and logistics of Capt Ahmed Zaheer, Registrar IBA, Mr Abdul Khalid, Protocol & Travel Manager, IBA and last but not least, Mr Syed Mazhar Ali Kazmi of IBA Finance.

This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity for all the members of the group and would remain etched in our memories for a long time to come and go far in helping us stand out in our endeavor to build careers.