Cem Arman Yenel

Cem Arman Yenel
Class Year
Areas of Interest
Previous Education
Bogazici University

What brought you to business school? Why did you choose Columbia?

I was fortunate to study at Uskudar American Academy (UAA), an American high school that has a mixed curriculum and culture. In UAA, every year half of the alumni pursues their undergraduate education in the US and the other half stays in Turkey. I was in the latter half. It was a huge deal whenever someone from our school was accepted to an Ivy League university. I remember my close friend and now Columbia alumni Deniz Ulcay receiving his acceptance email from Columbia. We were all thrilled and soon we all started calling him Mr. Columbia. That day, I told Deniz that after I complete my undergraduate education in Istanbul, I would come to Columbia, too, and we would be reunited. And that day, not knowing what I would study for my master’s at Columbia yet, it became my dream to be a student of Columbia.

During my undergraduate education, I had a musical career as a recording artist. I was very dissatisfied with the way my label marketed me. That’s how I developed an interest in the field of marketing. I interned at various companies and realized my passion in the field of Marketing with a capital M, and concluded that it was a boundless field enabling change in the world. After doing some research, and seeing that Columbia (my years-long dream) was offering the highest ranked MS program in Marketing, and the program is very successful in merging the most current technical applications of data with marketing theory, and it is unmatched by any other institution. I knew Columbia was all I wanted!

What’s your favorite part of the MS experience so far?

I love that we are very hands on with actual business challenges. For example, for our Market Intelligence course, as a team we devoted our time to examining how the low retention/repurchase rate of TCL (a small-scale beauty company in the LATAM region) should be addressed. We utilized both qualitative (in-depth interviews, focus groups) and quantitative (survey) research methods to gather customer data, and used K-means clustering, factor analysis, and decision trees to conceptualize customer attitudes, sentiments, and behavior for a better strategy for higher retention. I loved how we were able to conduct research for an actual company while still at school, and we had the additional opportunity to receive feedback for our performance.

How have you been involved in the student community?

Due to Covid-19, it is harder for us to connect in person; however, it did not stop us from starting the MSM Club. Even though we still are in the initial stages, with the help of Professor Alonso Martinez we are planning events and outings to connect with alumni and future colleagues from the industry. We are very excited to have more in person meetings very soon.

Which faculty members and courses influenced you the most, and how?

All of our professors are experts in their fields, and they all have different approaches to offer. I was highly influenced by the quantitative marketing research methods and techniques I had the privilege to learn from Professor Kamel Jedidi in the Market Intelligence course. I loved how the course design allowed us to use the theoretical knowledge to solve actual industry problems. Learning the underlying theory in his other course, Multivariate Statistics, makes it easier to handle data-oriented marketing techniques.

In addition, I am now a lot more confident in developing strategies and solving cases thanks to Professor Alonso Martinez’s Winning Strategic Capabilities course. Strategizing is one of the most important skills in Marketing, and Professor Alonso’s insights are phenomenal.  

What are your long-term career goals? How has your MS experience translated into growth in your career?

In the long-term I want to launch my marketing start-up to provide marketing solutions in the creative industry and in the new media that will drive change and innovation in the fast-paced world of the 2020’s. I also want to support other private start-ups, especially companies and individual customers with a 360 degree, customer based perspective. The MS experience provides me the expertise and network I need to realize my short-term goals that will lead to my long-term goals.

What is your top advice for new students?

Follow the webinars and school events carefully, have weekly zoom chats with an advisor from the Career Management Center, try to connect with as many people as possible, and enjoy the experience!

What will you take with you from your CBS experience?

A global network consisting of the most successful industry players
- Technical skills and expertise on marketing analytics
Competitive skills and knowledge base for developing apt marketing strategies