Firat Gezen '12
CFO, General Dynamics—Ordnance and Tactical Systems
"I’m more energized, driven and ready to see what happens next. You don’t get many opportunities to directly shape your life. It’s a gift to be able to do that."
I fly in every weekend from Montreal for class at Kellogg. As CFO for a major defense industry contractor, I’ve been working internationally for years, so I’m accustomed to travel. I enjoy the challenge of taking on a job and going with it. I always meet great people, and my career is going well.
I was 30 when I launched my career. I head up offices in Madrid, Zurich and Montreal at increasingly large business units that have even greater opportunities. Now I’m looking at the next 10 years and want to grow more. I want to go into general management, maybe even become a CFO of a multibillion-dollar corporation. Of course I know accounting, but I’m looking at cases now and learning what others have done in their environments.
I’m obviously older now, but I know I’m in a great school with exceptional classmates and professors. I’m getting a different kind of “more” out of my MBA program. It’s definitely focused on management and leadership, but still touches on everything.
In acquisitions today, you rarely work on your own. You have to learn to lead and motivate groups. I listen first, understand the challenges, then offer an opinion or suggestions. If you don’t listen, you’ll never get anywhere.
I’m more energized, driven and ready to see what happens next. You don’t get many opportunities to directly shape your life. It’s a gift to be able to do that.
UPDATE: Since this article was originally published, Firat was named CFO of General Dynamics—Ordnance and Tactical Systems, a multibillion-dollar division headquartered in Tampa, Florida. He is excited to see where his Kellogg MBA will take him next.
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