Award winners know best
Did you study at a UK university? Are you highly effective at your job, a brilliant entrepreneur who established your own business or the leader of a social project? Do you think it’s high time you won the recognition you deserve?
We agree with you!
This is another advantage of studying in the UK. We continue to look on as you accomplish your goals, and recognise your achievements.
The British Council organises the Education UK Alumni Awards in 14 countries to celebrate the achievements of the alumni of UK higher education institutions. The categories are professional achievement, entrepreneurship and social impact. Winners of an Education UK Alumni Award raise their international profile and expand their networks.
In the hope that award winners know best, and as entries to the Alumni Awards are already open for 2017, we have decided to talk to the winners of 2016. Here is what Sevil Yazıcı and Okan Kara had to say.
The winner of the professional achievement award, Yazıcı decided to take part after having been encouraged by her doctoral adviser at Istanbul Technical University. She was glad that she did.
Asked about the award, Yazıcı said, 'I’m thrilled and honoured to have won the award from among all the strong and professional nominees of various fields. Scientific research and architectural design take a lot of focus, patience and time. As an architect and researcher, I am investigating the possibilities for enhancing the built environment and developing techniques to improve current technology-oriented architectural practice. This award has definitely increased my motivation to reach my goals.'
Yazıcı pronounced, “I’m thrilled and honoured to have won the award from among all the strong and professional nominees of various fields. Scientific research and architectural design take a lot of focus, patience and time. As an architect and researcher, I am investigating the possibilities for enhancing the built environment and developing techniques to improve current technology-oriented architectural practice. This award has definitely increased my motivation to reach my goals”.
Okan Kara studied the Economics of Innovation at University College London (UCL) and received the alumni award for entrepreneurship. He says the seed of the idea of a venture capital fund was planted during his time at university. When he returned to Turkey, he had developed his investment strategy and was ready to go forward with his partners to found ACT Venture Partners. The company manages a €25 million venture capital fund and invests in early stage technology and innovation opportunities. The initiative paves the way for the commercialisation of technologies developed at Turkish universities, and has secured the cooperation of 34 institutions of higher education. Kara also served, in 2013, as chair of EUREKA, an intergovernmental network that supports the financing innovation-driven entrepreneurship in 40 countries.
'Talking about the benefits of being in the UK, Kara said, 'Alongside the academic knowledge I gained, I also had the opportunity to meet several fund managers in London. As London is the hub of venture capital, it allowed me to capture the ’know-how’ and ’know-who’ knowledge I needed'. He was notified of the awards by LinkedIn announcements and encouraged by his wife, who is also a Chevening scholar, to apply. (By the way, have you subscribed to our LinkedIn alumni group?) Kara is pleased to see very competent nominees for the category in which he won the award: 'I had the chance to meet other nominees. Obviously I’m thrilled to have won such a prestigious award. It was also a great source of happiness to gain more than 100 likes on my LinkedIn post', says Kara.
Both Yazici and Kara want to inspire others. To those who are thinking of applying, Yazıcı says:
'The journey that takes you from the application process to the announcement of finalists and eventually to the awards ceremony is very exciting. It was a great pleasure to take part in this great British Council programme. Being the first ever person from Turkey to win the award for professional achievement makes it even more meaningful for me. Significantly, my work has been rewarded in a field outside of architecture. I also believe that the international nature of the award brings professional advantage to my career.'
Kara says: 'I have to say that an award for entrepreneurship in business with the British Council brand on it has such tremendous benefits. I recommend indecisive graduates to enter for sure.'