"As a Turk with Middle Eastern origins, I feel like my MES concentration allowed me to depict a much more comprehensive picture of the region than I had before Brown."
Kiara Butrosoglu '16
I grew up in Istanbul in a quite multicultural family, with Middle Eastern origins. I graduated from Brown in May 2016 with a double concentration in Economics and Middle East Studies. I am currently working in the Group Strategy Office of Mahindra Group, an Indian multinational conglomerate. A few years after graduation, I am getting my MBA after having had some work experience in emerging markets.
How have you found that your education at Brown, and specifically your MES concentration, has informed your work and the way you approach it?
Studying at Brown taught me an endless number of things. But mainly, my Brown education gave me the framework to analyse problems and to look at topics from multiple perspectives. Specifically, studying MES taught me to challenge widely accepted beliefs about the region and to develop my own opinion by looking at the Middle East through the economic, historic, anthropological, and social lenses. As a Turk with Middle Eastern origins, I feel like my MES concentration allowed me to depict a much more comprehensive picture of the region than I had before Brown. My MES classes pushed me to ask the right questions in order to fully grasp the moving forces in the Middle East. In fact, I am now able to use the analytical skills I got at Brown, and more specifically through my MES classes, to any topic I analyse.
Now a graduate with experience in the "real world," what advice would you have for current students at Brown and specifically at Brown MES?
Exploit the knowledge of people around you. Try to understand their points of view and discuss ideas with them. Brown offers you tools to deepen your understanding in and outside of the classroom—something that I miss a lot! For example, try to go to as many lectures as you can and then discuss with your friends and professors. I always felt like people at Brown made me “smarter.” Developing a thorough understanding of the Middle East is key in understanding the current world around us. I would say try to develop an opinion of yourself about the region, and this will come by being exposed to as many sources, opposing ideas, and perspectives, as possible.
What might be next for you?
I am currently working in strategy consulting in Mumbai, India. I am very interested in emerging markets and I hope to get more experience in them. In the long term, I would like to be involved in something that is impactful and meaningful to me.