To say Devrim Celal is busy would be an understatement. Not only does he serve Yale SOM on the SOMAA board, but he is also the chapter leader for both London and Istanbul! He also finds time to serve as the Vice President Yale Club of Turkey among his other charitable and personal commitments. Devrim credits his respect for what Yale and SOM stand for as he gives back by staying engaged with the School and community.
“Yale SOM has had an incredible impact in both my professional and personal life. The strength of the community lasts long beyond graduation. In fact, I feel that it gets stronger over the years.”
What have you been up to since Graduation (career, volunteer work, personally)?
Since graduating, I have specialized in business strategy and corporate finance across variety of industries, sectors and geographies.
Straight out of SOM, I joined A.T. Kearney. Where, I focused on strategy development and thought leadership, winning a number of awards for my contributions to the firm’s development. Later, I crossed over to industry and joined Sapient Corporation. During the late 90s and early 2000s, Sapient was a very exciting place to be. It was the Internet era. We were at the leading edge of the developments and growing the company across Europe.
More recently, I established Lansdowne Corporate Finance’s Istanbul office with Ilter Karakullukcu SOM ’95. At Lansdowne, we focus on advisory work on mergers and acquisitions, as well as, investing in start-ups in Turkey.
I am active in the ultra-distance running circuit. I completed the four 250km self-sufficient desert races (Gobi, Sahara, Antarctica and Atacama) in 9 months, as well as, the 250km Jordan Race and the 100-miler mountain trail race, the UTMB.
Recently, my old passion for mountaineering has crept back in. I have just returned from a North to South traverse of Mount Elbrus (5,642m), the highest peak in Europe.
My expeditions and runs are tightly coupled with my volunteer work. I participate in them to raise awareness and funds for MS related charities. I have also been promoting these charities through public speaking.
What impact has Yale SOM and being a member of the SOM community had on your life and career?
In my work, I often rely on alumni for their professional advice and help. Seventeen years on, still, large part of my close friends are classmates from SOM, including my current business partner.
The school’s mission is to educate leaders for business and society, looking at your current career and interests, what does this mean to you?
I have been very impressed with SOM’s brave new curriculum focused on educating leaders. Every time I have the opportunity to talk to a faculty member, I wish I had the time to go back to school and do it over again the new way.
What drives you to do the type of work that you do?
I am driven by change and the opportunity to do new things. As a result, I am often referred to as an entrepreneur. In reality, I am always in a rush to finish what I am focused on now, so that I can go after the next idea.
My work allows me to do just that. We are constantly evaluating new business/ideas for clients and ourselves.
If you could tell a current student one thing, what would it be?
If you are looking to be gainfully challenged beyond your comfort zone, come to SOM.
What excites you the most about the changes happening around SOM?
The school will soon get the appreciation it deserves not only form its own constituents, but also from others as well.
**You can keep up with Devrim’s adventures on his blog here: http://devrimcelal.net/ or follow him on twitter @dcelal **