The right to an education, while seemingly is a basic one, is often denied to many. For those of us in Western Europe, most of the population can pick and choose from a variety of subjects, schools, and locations to expand our knowledge and enrich our lives. For those who are limited financially, geographically, or even culturally, a good education is often not so accessible. This is a challenge faced by many worldwide, including incredibly bright and talented minds that are left without the chance to flourish.
Burcu Arslan is a WHU Part-Time MBA student who joined the program in September 2021. A champion for equal and accessible education, she recognizes this disparity and hopes to bridge it with a new knowledge-sharing podcast. We talk to Burcu to find out what she hopes to achieve and how studying at WHU will help her get there.
“I don’t believe there should be a reason why someone cannot access knowledge. That’s the space where I want to create impact. I want to be sure that the privileges I have do not stay with me but are shared with others.” Burcu is actively involved with several volunteering projects and NGOs, primarily concerned with children and educational issues, and supports reading lessons at the library in her hometown of Bielefeld. “Professionally, I’m an executive assistant by day; by night, I try to make the world a better place,” she smiles.
A humanitarian at heart with a curious mind, Burcu began looking for new ways to push boundaries in her professional life. “I have learned a lot in the past three years with my company, but I’m at a point now that it’s no longer challenging. It felt like this was the time to start a new chapter in my life and look at further education.
My aim was to go to a university that might not be the first one people would associate with me and my background. Society often defines me as a young female immigrant, sees the headscarf and equates it to someone with no future. For many, this may mean significant barriers and no chance of a career. But my own definition of myself is that I am a young female immigrant who wears a headscarf. I am visionary, passionate, and hard-working. For me, I see no barriers and only opportunities in my career.
I want to challenge society’s opinions of me and aim for the best school in terms of reputation and quality. I knew that at WHU, I would also meet other passionate and driven people who think the same way. After just a few weeks, I have met some inspiring people in my cohort who will undoubtedly make significant changes in the world. It’s exciting to be a part of it.”
Knowledge through experience.
Burcu is set to make some significant changes herself. This month, she launched her first podcast, ‘The Free Time MBA,’ to transfer some of the knowledge gained during the program to listeners worldwide. “We have a lot of talented minds who would love to study at WHU but cannot. I think podcasts are the perfect medium as you focus on the meaning and the voice. You cannot see the person talking, so there is no judgment based on how they look. That’s something that really appeals to me.”
Burcu hopes that the podcast will develop over time as other MBA students and speakers get involved with topics that grow organically during the conversations. “The podcast starts with me, but it does not end with me,” she explains. “This is something sustainable that can continue without me.
The world is not without its problems, but it is how we deal with them that is important. In this case, with education, rather than complaining about the system where we cannot directly change it, we should focus on the ways we can. We can work to have a positive impact on whatever we do in life.”