Career leads from Muncie to six different countries

“Globalization is still a challenge for humankind,” says Miller College of Business graduate Tankut Sensurucu. “Technology has removed many barriers, but cultural barriers still remain, which can be overcome only by intellect and attitude.”

Tankut Sensurucu
A healthy dose of intellect and an appropriate attitude were among the assets that Sensurucu picked up as a master’s student in operations management in the early 1990s, when he was the first student in an exchange program between Ball State and Istanbul University. “When I left Ball State, I was 100 percent sure that I wanted to have an international career, which is exactly what I have been doing.”

No kidding. In the past 17 years, Sensurucu has worked for three global companies—PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Egon Zehnder International (EZI)—and has lived in six different countries. Sensurucu is currently a principal in the Calgary, Canada office of EZI, a privately held global search firm specializing in senior level executive search and other consulting services.

“Ball State was my introduction into the global world of business,” Sensurucu says. “I was exposed to international business through my professors, most of whom had international experience themselves, and my peers, who came from different countries around the world.”

One of the most crucial lessons: “Cultural sensitivity is a very important asset in working overseas. I gained a lot of confidence by successfully adapting to the American way of life at Ball State. My friends at Ball State educated me in other cultures of the world. And I learned the theory of international business from my professors, who had diverse backgrounds.”

Closer Look at Our Alums

Business alumni outside the United States:   346
Ball State alumni outside the United States:  1,926
Number of countries business alumni live: More than 75

Sensurucu recalls critical guidance from a number of Ball State faculty members, including the late Erdogan Kumcu, a longtime marketing professor who started the faculty and student exchange program with Istanbul University.

“Dr. Kumcu continuously emphasized the global nature of marketing while emerging markets like Eastern Europe, China, and Central Asia were gradually opening. I have taken a few courses from Dr. Enar Tunc, who covered one of the hot topics of early ’90s, Japan’s manufacturing prowess. And even though I did not take any courses from Dr. Jatinder ‘Jeet’ Gupta, he played an important role in broadening my horizons through timely advice.”

One of the most important lessons, says Sensurucu, was to never quit learning. “Learning never stops in life, it just changes form. I learned enough at Ball State to embark on my next journey. My advice for other students is to have an open mind, experience new things, and extend the limits of their comfort zone.”