MSBC Summer Interns- Yaz El-Baba

The MSBC planning committee is not only preparing for the 2014 conference, but also interning at some great places this summer. Partnership Coordinator, Yazan El-Baba, wrote a guest blog on his experience in Turkey.


On May 22nd, 2014 I began my two-month long journey overseas. I began in the beautiful city of Istanbul, Turkey, where I worked a 6-week long internship at one of the largest holding companies in Turkey: Kaynak Holdings.  I was specifically assigned two different departments that I would work at simultaneously: Innovative Strategic Planning for Business Development and Internal Operations.

During the orientation, I realized that hardly any of the employees in either of my two departments spoke English; consequently leaving me with doubts as to whether or not I could possibly gain any beneficial experience from my opportunities abroad. However, I reminded myself that any opportunity presented to me would have its challenges; the challenge in this opportunity was unique being that I would have to overcome a huge language barrier.  This obstacle was not as difficult as it had seemed – as one of my project managers and I discussed American football teams.  I became the laughing stock of the office when I told them that I’m a die-hard Lions fan!

The bittersweet love for my unsuccessful Detroit Lions team was not the only subject of laughter in the office; I quickly began to realize that the biggest difference between work in the States and in Istanbul was that Istanbul’s working environment is much more relaxed. I worked 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and at least four hours of each day are dedicated to eating, drinking tea, and enjoying sweets over light-hearted discussion. However, despite the calm environment much was accomplished during my six-week period working there.

Kaynak Holdings is one of the largest holding companies in Istanbul, with ownership of over 25 companies, which include a chain of bookstores, cargo services, food distributors and caterers. While working in the strategic planning department, I developed the business plan to open 35 Dunkin Donuts express shops within pre-existing company-owned bookstores. In a team we developed plans to convert the entire cargo fleet of their cargo company from petroleum running to electric. Other tasks included the implementation and analysis of key performance indicators and the balanced scorecard to improve overall company efficiency. In internal operations we performed financial audits on company owned food distributors.

The experience in Istanbul was absolutely wonderful. I gained a lot of quality experience in an international work environment, but above everything else, I got to spend six weeks in one of the most beautiful cities the world has to offer! Every day there was something new to experience, with an exceptionally lively culture – especially during the World Cup! It was hard to leave after six weeks, but I was fortunate enough to book a trip to Prague, Czech Republic and then over to Munich, Germany to watch and celebrate the World Cup with the Germans! Next stop: Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Fall Football Season, and 2014 MSBC Conference in October!


Yazan El-Baba





MSBC PR Coordinator Olivia Reed
For media inquiries, please contact Brand Manager Josh Kadden
(516) 567-2548

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