Ozgur Yazicigil

An Engineer Opts for a Business Path

Ozgur Yazicigil always knew his future held at least one more advanced degree—even after he earned his master's degree in materials science engineering at Purdue University. The question was, would it be a PhD or an MBA?

In 2004, shortly after graduating from Purdue, Yazicigil joined Intel as a process engineer for the company's fabrication units. Six years later, he found a way to keep expanding his skills when he joined the company's supply chain division. Through his new role, Yazicigil began learning more about the business side of the company. 

It soon became clear to Yazicigil that an MBA would be the logical next step forward for his career. Bringing an engineer's meticulous approach to the task, Yazicigil began researching available programs in in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. It took about 18 months to decide, but he realized that the Oregon Executive MBA was the right place for him.

One crucial factor was the program's strong alumni presence around the region, along with its convenient Portland location. 

“It became clear to me that I wanted to stay in Oregon, so I could create a professional network here in my hometown," said Yazicigil.

Another draw was the wide range of professionals and industries represented in the executive MBA program's student body.

“It was very important for me to be surrounded by people who have different viewpoints and come from different industries, so I could see and learn and push myself to new limits. I appreciated how serious the program was about creating a cohort of people with diverse experiences and diverse backgrounds," said Yazicigil.  

Yazicigil's experience in the program lived up to his initial expectations. The Oregon Executive MBA's emphasis on real-world application meant that he could immediately bring what he was learning back to his workplace. At the same time, the program's academic rigor provided sufficient intellectual challenges.

“There was no check-the-box learning. I did not realize how much it was going to push my mental capacity," said Yazicigil, who nonetheless ended up graduating as a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Business Honor Society.

The program's global trip—Southeast Asia was the destination for Yazicigil's class—was one of several standout experiences; although, he admits that he was skeptical at first. 

“Initially I thought the global study trip was just a fancy way of going on vacation with my cohort. But once I was on it, I saw how fruitful and productive it was. We could always go on vacation to any of those cities, but we wouldn't have the access to the business leaders we met during the trip. It was a great opportunity to hear from people who are on the ground in other countries running their businesses," said Yazicigil.

Half a year after graduating, Yazicigil's decision has already delivered results. In January 2021, he began in a new role at Intel's global supply chain division. He earned a promotion to business account manager, a role that brings together his technical expertise with the business outlook he acquired during the program.

As he looks forward to the first months in his new position, Yazicigil has no regrets about choosing the MBA path. 

“I realized getting MBA is like having kids," said Yazicigil, who has two children at home. "There is no perfect time to do it. If you really want it, then you just have to bite the bullet and go after it."