Hosted by Bilkent University in Ankara, the tour included visits to: Bilkent Group Holding –one of the largest business groups in Turkey; Tuskon Business Association; Istanbul Stock Exchange; and Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. The students also connected with ten large business corporations from diverse sectors, including: construction, textile, white goods, FMCG, ICT and steel. Furthermore, students were given the opportunity to meet with Egyptian Ambassador Salah El Din, who held a reception for the students during the trip.
The tour also served as a mechanism to help MBA students form a more complete understanding of Turkish-versus-Egyptian management education and business relationships. By comparing and contrasting the different programs in Bilkent University, as well as meeting and talking with Bilkent students and faculty members, MBA students were able to interpret the development of Turkey in the context of management education and in comparison with Egypt. The company visits revealed the familiar and foreign in Turkish business practices, providing MBA students with another dimension of comparative study. The tour included companies that hold operating factories in Egypt, thus exposing students to a deeper understanding of business affiliations between Turkey and Egypt. Participants discussed the current situation in Egypt and ways in which Egypt might overcome its current challenges by comparing its economy to Turkey's, and brainstormed with their Turkish counterparts precautions to take to ensure that Egypt develops and builds its competitive advantages.
Another key benefit of the tour was the opportunity for students to develop their networking soft skills, both within the group, and more importantly with the Turkish academics, dignitaries, and businessmen. Ali El Guindy, a student participant, noted that “the study tour opened an opportunity [for] us at any time to do business in Turkey. I remember one of my friends talked to me and told me he is interested in importing some furniture accessories from Turkey, and I gladly told him: I have contacts with TUKSON (the organization which gathers 32,000 businessmen) and I can manage to get you a contact with any Turkish exporter ready to export such goods.” He added “This study tour bridged a gap between us as Egyptian MBA students and Turkish people.”
The study tour also proved to be a logistical success for the MBA Program, as the participants spoke highly of the tour’s organization, from getting visas and booking tickets, to the planned visits of various companies and institutions in Turkey. Students affirmed the tour’s objective: that being exposed to different backgrounds, companies, and other business situations gave them a well-rounded learning experience well beyond what they learn in a classroom.
Building on the success of the Turkey study tour, MBA Programs director Khaled Dahawy announced plans for another study tour this academic year to Hong Kong and mainland China. Details of this study tour will be announced in a timely manner.