Completing a masters degree is not for the fainthearted but Aynur Cakal was ready for the challenge.
Enterprise Solutions Leader, Asialink Business
Beryl Wilson Austrade Scholarship for Women in International Trade
Before she applied for the Executive MBA at RMIT Aynur was told about the commitment required to complete the program but the hard work didn’t scare her.
At 27, she was one of the youngest in her class but she says the age difference was an advantage.
“It positioned me well with other MBA students and made the program even more valuable because I was able to learn from their experience and connect with other industry leaders,” she said.
Aynur was working full-time and studying part-time. Her hard-work ethic led her to apply for Austrade’s Beryl Wilson Scholarship for Women in International Trade.
The prestigious scholarship is only awarded to one student every year and applicants need to meet a range of criteria including academic achievement of distinction average, Asian language capability and leadership accomplishments in the international business. Aynur ticked all the boxes but was humbled to win.
“I put in the application in December and I went on holidays and completely forgot about it,” she said.
“When I came back in January, I found I was shortlisted for an interview. About a month later, I was notified as the recipient of the scholarship for 2016.”
As part of the scholarship, Aynur had the opportunity to study in any university in her final year. She chose to go to Boston to complete an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation” at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Soon after her return, Aynur commenced a scholarship placement at Austrade, the Federal Government’s Trade Commission.
During this placement she was assigned to lead and undertake a research and strategy project focusing on international digital payment strategies and the opportunities and challenges for Australian businesses.
Aynur says the scholarship, particularly her experience in the US, enhanced her global perspective.
“It gave me a well-rounded view of the challenges and opportunities the world is currently facing.
“That really helped me to create value and implement a depth of creativity in my work,” she said.
Aynur now works as Enterprise Solutions Leader at Asialink Business, an organisation supported by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DOIIS), which is dedicated to helping Australian businesses take advantage of the opportunities in Asia.
Aynur sees herself continuing to work as a leader in international business and a future representative of Australia on a global scale.
Her advice for anyone considering the MBA (Executive) is to take the challenge.
“If you really want to achieve your goal you’ve got to be willing to put in the hard work. Stay focused and you can achieve pretty much anything you put your mind to,” she said.
“It won’t fall in your lap, so you’ve got to work hard at it.”