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Navigating International Finance: Ahmet Aytekin's Path to Policy Leadership

How pursuing an MS in Finance at the Kogod School of Business shapes a Turkish native's vision for political impact.


MS in Finance student Ahmet Aytekin.


Ahmet Aytekin has a vision for his future, and pursuing his MS in Finance at the Kogod School of Business is a key step in helping him realize it. Originally from Türkiye, Aytekin has been in the United States since beginning his undergraduate education in management information systems at San Jose State University. During his senior year, he launched a startup with a staff of 17 focused on digital media to support the brands and career launch of influencers. He gained invaluable exposure to the venture capital space and finance through his startup. Though he realized he had talent in economics, he knew that to achieve his long-term goal of doing policy work in his home country, a graduate degree in finance would give him the needed experience and connections. He considered many graduate schools but ultimately chose Kogod because of its politically advantageous location in Washington, DC, for networking and the program’s coursework flexibility.

As a Turkish native, Aytekin knows that to be successful in a policy-focused career, he needs a deep understanding of international finance, particularly in emerging market economies like Türkiye. A Kogod education has allowed him to fill gaps in his knowledge through courses specifically geared toward his interests, including courses on Islamic Finance and international finance. Aytekin says Kogod is one of the only schools in the area to offer coursework on Islamic Finance, and because Türkiye has an overwhelming majority of Muslim citizens, it is particularly applicable to his future work. In addition to the valuable insights of Professor Ghiyath Nakshbendi, Aytekin also found an unexpected connection to his roots–Nakshbendi’s grandfather was the Ottoman Empire’s final mayor in the town where Ahmet was born. The International Finance class allowed Aytekin to do a deep dive into another country with an emerging market economy–Brazil. Expanding his knowledge of international finance in this way allowed him to apply his mind to issues in countries economically similar to Türkiye but without the influence of his deep understanding of his home country, resulting in a more well-rounded perspective.

Aytekin has made the most of his time at Kogod by taking advantage of his professor’s knowledge in and out of the classroom. To ensure he leaves no networking opportunity neglected, he even takes the initiative to speak with faculty whose classes he is not currently in.  He has also seized opportunities to improve his leadership and public speaking skills by serving as a moderator and speaker for several AU events, including Kogod’s Finance Chats with Alumni series.

Aytekin’s most recent win in the Graduate Student Council presidential election adds to his resume's list of leadership roles. With skills ranging from stage acting to public speaking, Aytekin has positioned himself to gain the experience needed for a successful political future in his home country. But he still has a journey ahead to realize his career goals. He knows that words and drive will only get you so far without action and that to be successful in policy work in Türkiye, he needs a robust economics background. Aytekin says that in the short term, he would like to continue to build on the knowledge of emerging market economies he has gained through Kogod by applying to work with the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. Once satisfied that he has a solid base in international finance, he plans to return to Türkiye to put his skills into practice in policy making.

After ten years in the US, Aytekin is looking to the future. Serving as the new Graduate Student Council President and capitalizing on the many opportunities a Kogod education provides ensure his bright professional and political future. 

Learn more about the Kogod School of Business's MS in Finance program here.