After gaining a degree in chemical and biological engineering, Melis Atalay spent the first few years of her career working in product management and marketing. But she had always dreamed of studying abroad, meeting people from different cultures and learning different languages. This dream brought her to Brussels and our full-time MBA.
Falling in love with Vlerick
“I wanted to broaden my understanding of the whole business environment,” Melis says. “So I started looking at programmes abroad. I had a friend studying at Vlerick, and when I visited, I fell in love with the school’s culture.
“I had one month to go through the entire admissions process. It was challenging but Vlerick was so helpful. And now I’m so glad to be here.”
The international experience she was seeking
Melis describes her first months at Vlerick as an amazing journey. “It’s been intense,” she says. “Lots of group work and exams. But you get used to it quickly, the group is great and there is a work hard, play hard attitude – we like to socialise!
“I’m so glad I’m here. There are people from all over the world – Zimbabwe, Canada, Peru, Thailand – and from industries like law, IT and engineering. Because of the wide range of courses, we all help each other and share our areas of expertise. Learning from each other is the most exciting part so far.”
Melis is particularly enjoying the personal development elements of the MBA. She says: “I like the personal touch. The executive coaching and self-improvement sessions help you discover yourself and your personality traits. You start to see the unique leader you could be in the future. It really is a 360° programme.”
Ready to put her knowledge into action
There’s lots to come for Melis in 2020 – including the in-company project.
She says: “I’m excited about the ICP because it’s where we really apply the knowledge we’ve learned. I really want to use the time on the MBA to challenge myself so I’m looking to do something outside of my comfort zone.
A whole host of career opportunities
Melis is still thinking about her next move after graduation. “On the MBA you learn so many new things,” she says. “Your eyes are constantly being opened to new opportunities and careers you’d never considered before.
"For example, we went on a company visit to ASML, an innovation leader in the semiconductor industry. I had no idea about them but the visit was so interesting. I have worked in supply chain before but the company visit made me look at supply chain in a whole new way. So now I’m thinking it might be a future pathway for me! Or marketing and sales. I’m finding the one-to-one careers services so helpful – it’s great to have people to talk to about your goals.
“Mostly I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year will bring. Vlerick already feels like home after the first months. And there really are no limits on the MBA – you can experiment, fail, try again. It’s your own journey to take in your own way.”