Eren Yanik '08, alumnus

In his native Turkey, Eren Yanik ’08 became a celebrated author of two books while still a teenager. The first, a nonfiction memoir about getting into Istanbul’s most competitive international high school, is in its seventh edition. The second, a satirical look at his seven years at that same school, soared to number 12 on the Turkish bestseller list.

Today, Yanik is putting to work his background in applied math and finance as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, the international management consulting firm. His consulting work has taken him around the world to projects in Istanbul, Dubai, London and New York City.

“The highlight of my experience has been working on an expansion strategy for a bank in the Middle East and then doing a similar strategic growth project for another bank in the United States,” he says. “Being able to work on similar contents in two very different geographies made me feel like a world citizen with an internationally applicable set of skills. I owe these skills to my undergraduate education, as it was Princeton that enabled me to combine my international educational background with a North American view of finance and applied mathematics.”

In Yanik’s first semester at Princeton, he took a freshman seminar taught by Paul Krugman, professor of economics and international affairs, as well as a columnist for The New York Times. This is why he came to Princeton, he says: to have access to the best minds in the business.

After each three-hour class, Krugman, a 2008 Nobel laureate, would assign the 10 students two reaction papers, forcing them to argue both sides of the day’s key issue.

Yanik majored in economics, and took classes in applied math, finance and international politics, among others. In each, he was impressed with how much his classmates valued his opinion. “Turkey can be kind of random for Americans,” he says, but his classmates were surprisingly knowledgeable and curious about how someone from Turkey, a place he calls “a country of paradoxes,” interprets world affairs.

Yanik also served as an ambassador to Turkey for Princeton Admissions Links, a program through which current Princeton students visit their high school to talk about Princeton. When he talked to students from his old high school, he didn't have to say much to convince them to apply.

He often focused on something that might have surprised them about Princeton: the family atmosphere. That is something you might not expect from such an academically rigorous school, but that’s Princeton, he says.