Meral Akkurt

Meral Akkurt

Study and year of graduation: BSc International Business Administration 2014, MSc Business Information Management 2016
Employer: Microsoft 
Job title: Data & AI Consultant

What are the most valuable skills that you took from your education at RSM?
Considering my current role, the most important skills I learned during the MSc BIM were my programming skills and my understanding of basic machine learning concepts. Without these capabilities, I would not have been able to get into the domain that I work in right now. I am surrounded by peers who studied computer science and engineering, so I needed the basic technical skills. Other than these, some of the most valuable lessons I learned at RSM were related to soft skills. There is not a day that passes without me speaking three languages and collaborating with international colleagues. So without wanting to sound clichéd, the cross-cultural understanding that we learned both explicitly and implicitly throughout all of our projects in our BScIBA are most definitely something I profit from every day.

What was your most memorable moment at RSM?
I do not think that there is one moment that I could pick out of the innumerous number of memories that we made during our time at RSM. I did both my bachelor and my master at RSM, so I have had two very different, but most definitely equally exciting, experiences. I still regularly see the friends that I made then, and despite us having spread all across the world by now, we manage to stay in touch. Choosing to live on campus during the first year and moving in with people from the same study programme were the best decisions I could have made in this regard. Joining any type of student organisation is a must, too. All I can say is that my time at RSM was one big adventure!

How would your former classmates describe you?
That’s a really good question. It is obviously something that varies depending on the people you ask. I am convinced that the peers that I worked with for different teams were satisfied with my work and most definitely appreciated the roles I took during our projects. Nevertheless, while I was always focused on delivering great work at university, I was always working on getting the most out of every moment. That being said – remember the 80/20 rule? Although initially inadvertently, it quickly became my philosophy for most of my undertakings and it definitely still is. Other than that, I think that most people know that I love nothing more than to truly enjoy life with all its meals throughout any day and that I take every opportunity to hop on an airplane.

How do you stay connected to the school and what do you gain from it?
I think coming back for career events and responding to requests and questions from the university are my most frequent habits. I would not miss an opportunity to share the great experience I have had at university, so I regularly act as an ambassador for RSM. Throughout my current job, I have visited the RSM campus several times to join career events organised by either student organisations or RSM. I think it’s very important for all of us alumni to do so, and it helps us to stay connected to the next generations. I always hugely valued the opportunities to talk to RSM-alumni that were then in jobs that I aspired to have when I finished my studies.

What is your greatest passion in life?
My eagerness to explore! It does not matter whether it is about new technologies, social media hypes, new food trends or exotic travel destinations. My curiosity towards the new and things that I have not tried yet is endless. And rather than becoming a specialist in one particular area, I prefer to discover unknown territory and learn about new things. Luckily, I joined a company that hugely values lifelong learning. For a few years now, our culture is circling around the concept of a ‘growth-mindset’, in an attempt to become a company of learn-it-all’s instead of know-it-all’s. This concept really reflects the core of my own values as well, which makes me grateful that I found a job that provides me with so much energy and freedom to follow my own interests.