Necla Küçükçolak’s story is the story of a person ascending the stairs of success. She started working part-time in budget financing when she was a student in the Economics department (English) in İstanbul University; worked as a dealer at Pamukbank Treasury; then worked in various positions at ISE such as junior expert and deputy manager; got an education in her field in England via the Jean Monnet Scholarship Program; and today she is the head of the Custody and Settlement Team.
Necla Küçükçolak, who completed the “MSc in International Markets, Investment and Banking” program at ICMA Business School at Reading University in England via the Jean Monnet Scholarship Program, took active part in Borsa İstanbul’s (ISE) project for setting up a common action platform with the Greek Stock Market and the Israeli Stock Market in 2004.
Could you tell us about yourself? How has your career taken shape so far?
I worked part-time in budget financing at ÇBS Holding when I was studying my last two years in the Economics department (English) in İstanbul University. After graduating in 1991, I worked as a dealer at Pamukbank Treasury for 2 years. After passing the exam for a job as an expert in Borsa İstanbul (then ISE) in 1993, I worked at various positions in ISE such as junior expert and deputy manager, in departments such as Quotation, International Market, Risk Management (Future Delivery Market Project Group). At the beginning of 2012, I started working as the International Markets Manager, responsible for foreign transactions and foreign affairs, at Takasbank which is the subsidiary bank for the Stock Market. I have been working as the head of the Custody and Settlement Team of the bank since 6 February, 2014.
My career has developed in the finance sector, mostly focused on capital. I have also pursued an academic career doing my master’s and PhD and writing articles on finance. And most recently, I completed the Mid-Career Master program (MC/MPA) at Harvard Kennedy School in the 2009-2010 academic year and studied effective leadership and management.
Which institution were you working or studying at when you got the Jean Monnet scholarship? Which year?
I was working as an expert at the International Market Department at ISE when I got the Jean Monnet scholarship for the 2004-2005 academic year.
Which university did you attend via the Jean Monnet scholarship program? What did you work on as a Jean Monnet scholar?
I completed the “MSc in International Markets, Investment and Banking” program at ICMA Business School at Reading University in England within the scope of the Jean Monnet Scholarship Program. In 2004, Borsa İstanbul (ISE) was conducting a project about setting up a common action platform with the Greek Stock Market and the Israeli Stock Market. We were analysing the EU acquis for the intermediary firms of all countries to operate in the common action platform (MIFID) as the project team. Therefore I worked on “the free movement of services and capital in the EU” within the scope of the scholarship. My master’s research subject was “the analysis of the Co-integration between ISE Share Market and the share markets of the EU stock markets” and in my research, it was concluded that there is a connection of arbitrage and portfolio diversification between the EU markets which don’t have a co-integration relation and the ISE. This article was published in the Research Journal of Finance and Economics and won the first prize at an international conference in Athens under the sponsorship of the EU.
How has the Jean Monnet scholarship program effected your career after you returned to Turkey?
As you know, Turkey has started the full membership negotiations with the EU in 2005. The same year, I completed my Master’s degree and returned to Turkey. During this period, the prominent foreign-capitalized investment banks set up offices in Turkey and started to invest more. However, the fact that not enough progress had been made in negotiations between Turkey and the EU, and the financial crisis of 2008 caused the EU negotiations to slow down with regard to the capital market. Also the regulations made for the financial sector in the EU after the global economic crisis had started to affect Turkey’s capital market and institutions even though we were not a EU member state.
The substantial contribution of the scholarship is that the article I wrote during my Master’s won the first prize at an international conference in Athens under the sponsorship of the EU and also the research I did when I was a scholar in England helped me get into Harvard Kennedy School. Additionally, my Master’s experience in England helped me present Turkey in Harvard Kennedy School in the USA with my academic work and social activities. Apart from that, I also think it effected my decision to direct my career towards international affairs.
How has the Jean Monnet scholarship program changed your view of the European Union?
Necla Küçükçolak: The scholarship is an important opportunity to create human resource to contribute to the activities carried out in the process of Turkey’s EU membership, and an important factor that raises awareness on the EU. Being a scholar gives you a big responsibility to recompense the investment made on you. It is also important how you represent our country since each scholar is actually a Turkish ambassador.
Within this framework, this mission has effected my decision to show great care to my classmates both during and after my Master’s program and to follow the EU related topics more closely.
What would you like to advise to Jean Monnet scholarship applicants?
The EU membership process is a long journey for Turkey; however, the latest global financial crisis showed us that the efforts were not in vain. I believe that every uncertainty has both challenges and opportunities within itself, so even though during the last global crisis we were not a member state of the EU, the studies and projects carried out with discipline towards that direction made it possible for our country to get out of the crisis without significant damage. So I’d advise the scholars to be conscious of their mission and to keep on with their work selflessly.
Another important subject is to keep in touch with the friends they make during their time abroad. We still meet once a year as Reading University graduates in Turkey; however, we have never got the chance to get together with friends who live abroad after graduation. So I advise them not to lose contact with the friends they meet during their year abroad, continue exchanging information and create opportunities to get together.