Pinar Gorgulu

About you and your career

Tell us about your current job role.

I currently work at Eigen Technologies as a Product Manager for our core Natural Language Processing (NLP) product. I manage the development of the products by prioritising and integrating multiple channels of feedback such as engineering, client requests, design and marketing to ensure that our product keeps bringing in commercial success.

What’s your proudest achievement in your role so far?

I would like to believe that I have managed to build a relationship of trust with all departments at Eigen. This is a significant achievement for a product manager as it makes saying “no” a lot easier. My team trusts my decisions and I trust them to warn me in case I am up against a blind spot.

When did you first decide that you wanted to work in technology? What inspired you to want to pursue a career in this sector?

I did my first internship at Microsoft when I was a junior at Harvard and absolutely loved the freedom it offered. Despite being a large corporation, Microsoft still managed to maintain a level of entrepreneurial freedom for its employees. I also loved building a product. It required me to work together with different people from different backgrounds and mindsets and yet manage to create a cohesive product that appealed to all of them at the same time. I then took a full-time job at Microsoft in Seattle, which only reinforced this experience. I am now doing the same role, but in a smaller company which provides me with even more ownership and responsibility and allows me to observe my impact immediately.

About your time at Imperial College Business School

Why did you choose to study the Full-Time MBA – and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

I value technical knowledge and expertise, especially considering how much technology has worked its way into our lives. I also value an entrepreneurial attitude in people and work well with people who take initiative and are action orientated. Imperial was therefore an easy choice given its deep scientific background and the Business School’s strong focus on entrepreneurship.

Looking back on your time on the programme, what do you miss most?

I miss the tight Imperial MBA family. It is rare to find the combination of success and humility that you find among those on the Full-Time MBA programme. We still stay in close touch.

Which module(s) did you most enjoy?

The Entrepreneurial Journey (previously the IE&D Project) and Design Thinking and Innovative Problem Solving were my two favourite modules. We had to come up with a product idea for both. We worked on an idea that I had in the art space for both classes. I was constantly thinking about the product, end users and feedback. It ended up becoming a serious business idea that I would like to follow up on one day. The Entrepreneurial Journey also confirmed to me that I wanted to stick to technology, as I realised that I am inherently driven by working with people of different mindsets and derive a high satisfaction out of “building” something.

What skills did you pick up on the Full-Time MBA?

Firstly, building a team and cohesion. Regular teamwork during the Full-Time MBA helped me realise that people deliver their highest productivity when they perform roles that align with their strengths and interests. I do everything possible in our rapidly scaling start-up to ensure that people are working on what motivates them. Secondly, clearly expressing and establishing my perspective on a matter. Clarity in expression and firmness are two skills I constantly practice and are essential skills of leadership.

Did you learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before?

I already knew that I wanted to work in the technology space, but I had not considered working in a smaller company until that point. I realised that I was a lot more comfortable with uncertainty than most during my Full-Time MBA, which pushed me to take a risk with a smaller company. It was absolutely the right choice.

Life at Imperial College Business School

What was a typical day at the Business School like?

Lots of teamwork! We would have lectures in the morning and spend the rest of the day working on assignments, projects and/or presentations as a team either in the Business School café or the library. My team was a small family within the wider Full-Time MBA cohort. We spent quite a lot of time in heated arguments and developed a deep respect for one another based upon the very different perspectives we brought to the table.

How important was it to your experience on the programme to be in London?

I found my current job at Eigen due to the networking opportunities available in London. If you are certain that you would like to work in London, I would highly recommend being based here.

Did you get involved in any clubs at the School or Imperial?

I was on the organising committee for the student-led conference on Big Data. We invited many speakers from well-known influencers in the industry such as McKinsey, BCG and Accenture to talk on the subject. It was organised solely by students and allowed students an opportunity to learn about the subject and network.

Career & Professional Development

How did you benefit from the services provided by the Business School’s Careers and Professional Development Service?

I spent a lot of time with my dedicated Careers Consultant at the Careers & Professional Development Service, mostly to talk through my decisions or explore different career areas I might be interested in. I’ve found them very insightful and would recommend students spend plenty of time there.

Advice to prospective students

What advice would you give to a student considering the Full-Time MBA?

  • My primary advice would be to ask “why” they would like to do a Full-Time MBA. They may have no idea “what” they would like to do, which is perfectly fine, but there needs to be an answer to the why. In my mind, reasonable answers include changing sectors, countries and/or roles as well as switching into management.
  • Make sure that you are rested before you start so that you can push yourself to the limit! You will reap the benefits quickly and they will last well beyond graduation. Also, network, network and network!

What skills and experience does Eigen Technologies value most when they hire graduates?

My employer values initiative, a commercial mindset and an ability to get things done. We are a company that operates at a fast pace and have a diverse and multi-national team, so flexibility is important.

Nationality: Turkish

Undergraduate education: Economics, Harvard University; Diploma in Economics, LSE

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Analytics Manager, Microsoft

Job after studying at Imperial College Business School: Product Manager, Eigen Technologies

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