Okan University: ''The University Closest to Business Life''

Okan University has a total of 6500 students in 130 departments, 1300 of them pursuing associate’s degrees, 800 pursuing master's degrees, 50 pursuing PhD degrees and the rest pursuing undergraduate degrees.  Prof. Sule Kut talked to TURKOFAMERICA.
Eight years have already passed since Okan University first opened its doors to students. The University's rector, Prof. Sule Kut, has had her chair since September, 2010. Professor Kut defines the university as ''the university closest to business life.”

Emphasizing the importance of being a university preferred by the students has paralleled the increasing number of universities in recent years, “And for becoming a preferred university, you have to be different. We are trying to achieve this vision,’’ says  Professor Kut.

Okan University has a total of 6500 students in 130 departments, 1300 of them pursuing associate’s degrees, 800 pursuing master's degrees, 50 pursuing PhD degrees and the rest pursuing undergraduate degrees.  

True to its motto, ''The University Closest to Business Life,'' Okan University students have practical training opportunities in the enterprises located in Geze Organized Industrial Zone. The university has signed approximately one thousand cooperation protocols. Okan university effectively combines theory and practice by focusing on practice-oriented studies which prepare  students for business life.

The role of the founder of the University, Okan Group’s President Bekir Okan, is crucial in identifying the university with business life. Prof. Kut says that vision of the founders of the university has a great impact on uniting the university with business life.  

Prof. Kut says they opened the first Calling Center in Turkey, which is very important in customer service for businesses, and remarks that they keep opening new departments for the qualified personnel needs of ever-changing sectors.

Okan University has currently 800 alumni. Prof. Kut says that they support their alumni organization and try to guide them in order to strengthen the connection between the alumni and the university.

Kut, emphasizing that they increase the university’s recognition and prestige through international agreements, says, “In a global world, it is not possible to remain limited to only domestic students. Turkey is an actor country in its own region. But we have yet to create the appeal and attraction that would draw international students. We need to make a big leap forward. Speeding diverse student flow must be promoted. This would also be an important political progress.‘’


Prof. Kut talks proudly about the scholars in the university. 80% of the students in Okan University receive scholarships. 44% of these students have full scholarships. Prof.Kut emphasizes that it is very important to sustain scholarships.

Kut says that the university provides Eurasia, European Union and Neighborhood Scholarships, stating that their desire is to create a United Nations ambience by giving scholarship opportunity to one student from every country in the world.  Prof Kut, further says that Euroasia is a very important region for Turkey, but Turkey is unfortunately late to discover this region.
She believes that students coming from neighboring countries such as Syria, Iran, and Iraq are also an important part of the scholarship granting process.  The university first opened its doors to international scholars last year. In the first year 13 international students were granted scholarships   

Prof. Kut says that especially the Psychology Department in the university is famous  abroad, thus they opened a graduate program in this field. She also mentions that the engineering and architecture departments are well-known for their quality education.

Okan University’s main campus is located in Tuzla, a new developing region of Istanbul, which is famous for hosting Formula-1.  The university has 4 campuses, each with the capacity for 1000 students. The university has also a large land reserve enabling physical growth. New facilities, including a convention center, will be added to the main campus in the near future. Prof. Kut believes that the region will be very different in the coming five years.

While 40% of the students in the university are from the Anatolia area of Turkey, the university continues to carry out promotional activities in the provinces in Anatolia.  

The University Board met with nearly a thousand students in the introduction meetings called ‘’Anatolian Meetings.’’ Furthermore, the University Board will host 1800 students coming from Anatolia at the campus for 9 days and introduce the university to them.

Before joining to Okan University, Prof. Sule Kut was Professor in the Department of International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University. She has served as Vice-Rector of the University (2000-2007), Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences (2005-2008), the Coordinator of the B.A. program in International Relations (1999-2008) and Chairperson of the International Relations Department (1999-2001). Previously, Dr. Kut has been a member of the faculty at the Department of International Relations of Marmara University (1987-1998) and Koc University (1996-2000).

Sule Kut’s teaching and research interests include foreign policy analysis, Turkish foreign policy with emphasis on the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia, Turkish-EU and Turkish-US relations as well as Balkan politics. She is the author of four books and more than thirty articles in English and Turkish on Turkish foreign policy and Balkan politics. She serves on the editorial board of several academic journals in Turkey and abroad. Dr. Kut is a member of the Steering Committee of the Standing Group in International Relations (SGIR) of ECPR and has served as the Director of the European International Summer School of SGIR (2006-2008), organizing the 2008 Session of EIRSS on Transatlantic Relations. She is a member of the International Political Science and Turkish Political Science Associations. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Turkish Studies Chair at the London School of Economics. She has been active in various initiatives promoting academic and civic cooperation between Turkey and her neighbors since the early 1990s. She maintains a long-term interest in higher education reform and management in Turkey and the Bologna Process.

Dr. Kut holds a double BA in Political Science and Business Administration from Bogazici University (1981). She has received her MA (1985) and Ph.D. (1987) in Political Science from the State University of New York in Binghamton.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07