Sevin Yeltekin

Sevin Yeltekin

Sevin Yeltekin

Dean, Simon Business School, University of Rochester

Years in current role: 14 months

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Given my research interests and background in economic policy, I appreciate that my role gives me the opportunity to foster an academic community of innovation that impacts both the immediate Rochester area and society at large. I’m also fortunate to work with Simon’s faculty, who are among the most acclaimed in their fields. It’s been gratifying that the groundbreaking EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) programs we have put in place are being acknowledged as setting the standard for other institutions, and I’m elated that Simon can help other organizations understand what does and doesn’t work in EDI.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

Certainly, while accepting the leadership of a top business school during the middle of a pandemic was an enormous challenge, it was equally important to respond to the politically and socially turbulent climate. These challenges forced us to innovate in a time of crisis, which is a difficult proposition in the best of times, aside from the actual execution of organizational objectives. Without the support of the Simon, University of Rochester, and Rochester communities, it would have been nearly impossible to achieve what we have, which includes being recognized U.S. News & World Report as the Most Diverse MBA Program.

What do you see as the biggest changes in the higher education industry in the next 3-5 years?

Perhaps among the most significant transformations will pertain to ways of delivering more effective and flexible virtual learning methodologies. Simon is thinking critically about innovation and engagement, and we recognize that traditional ways of learning can be supplemented, and at times replaced altogether, with online approaches. The implications are tremendous. Not only does the potential exist to overcome geographical barriers, but also to reduce the economic, personal and professional burden of higher education, all while offering a world-class business education that addresses the needs and interests of a changing demographic by incorporating issues of CSR and EDI.

What community organizations do you support as a volunteer and why?

I am an executive board member of Etkiyap, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide impact investments in Turkey, my home country, that generate measurable social and environmental advances along with financial returns. We work with a variety of national and international organizations to achieve this goal. Research has established a clear link between CSR and strong business performance with bi-directional implications, which means nonprofits should incorporate financial measures of impact to create long-term, sustainable, and meaningful change. Doing good and doing well do not have to be mutually exclusive. Both can be achieved through social impact investing.

What college class that you haven’t taken would you be most interested in taking and why?

I would love to take a photography course. It’s fascinating how this medium can uncover vastly different images of the same subject, depending on the approach and perspective. There are so many elements that need to be considered when composing a photograph, so it’s important to have a fairly clear idea of what you wish to accomplish before undertaking the necessary steps that will bring you closer to getting there. A compelling photograph will allow an audience to see the world in a way that hasn’t been seen before while capturing truth and providing meaning.