Why MBA: Bradford University School of Management
German mechanical engineer and technology entrepreneur Metin Zerman has joined Bradford to help bring his online lending-library to market
German mechanical engineer and technology entrepreneur Metin Zerman has joined the full-time MBA at Bradford University School of Management to help bring his online library to market.
Metin, 30, was born to Turkish parents who moved to a rural area of southern Germany. He grew up in Germany and gained a diploma in Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Applied Sciences, Weingarten in 2007.
From a young age, Metin was sure he needed business-related knowledge but he resigned himself to getting work experience first and going for an MBA later.
Prior to the MBA, Metin worked with ZF Friedrichshafen AG, an automative supplier. He worked with vehicle manufacturers to build prototypes and then helped them with production.
This job allowed him to travel all over the world. He visited Ireland, France , Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, the UK, Poland, Iran, India, China, Brazil and North America. He also made frequent trips to South Korea for Hyundai and also went to Japan.
When it came time to apply for the MBA, Metin explored German, Swiss and French schools but eventually decided that he wanted to live in an English speaking country. He also has a few friends studying for their Phd at Bradford and they highly recommended the school. Luckily for him his employers allowed him to take a year off for his studies.
Metin has also been involved in entrepreneurial projects on the side. Last year, he launched a mobile application, iPrayTimes, on the Itunes store. He is now working on programming the homepage for the app in his free time. iPrayTimes calculates prayer times for Muslims in different locations of the world. He did this while he was in full-time employment and had to spend six months learning programming language himself.
After the MBA, Metin’s dream is to found a web company. He said, “It was my business idea that led me to go for the MBA. I’ll be doing my business plan as my dissertation and also use the opportunity to search for investors."
The business idea is an online book library that can be accessed on demand, similar to streaming music and videos. Metin believes this is an easier way to read books, manage the quantity of books that a person collects, and to overcome the problem of being unable to sell e-books.
Being a student makes Metin even more convinced about his idea. “Now that I spend a lot of time studying for the MBA, there are lots of books on my table and I when I go to a lecture I have to carry them; and they are all so thick and heavy”, said Metin.
Additionally, when Metin went home to Germany over the Christmas break, he was forced to shell out an extra £150 towards excess luggage because he was carrying some of his business books home to study.
For Metin, an iPad is not that thick and members of the online library can gain access for 10 to15 euros a month. He still has to overcome the challenge of convincing publishers to offer their e-books on demand and devise a payment scheme for them. However, these are all specifics that he plans to straighten out during the dissertation period.
For now, he’s working on market research and loving his days at Bradford. A typical one starts by the coffee machine at the MBA common room. Metin, who is also the student representative, talks to staff and students and checks his emails before heading off to lectures. Evening times are reserved for dinners at the local pub and then working on case studies for classes on the following day. When the MBAs aren’t eating together, they are out playing tennis or golf or exploring the neighbouring cities.
We ended the conversation by asking Metin for the top three characteristics that entrepreneurs must have. He listed: the ability to take risks, creativity and leadership. He said, “When I get into an entrepreneurial venture, the risks are usually clear but I go for them. A good entrepreneur has to be able to take risks. Sometimes it could be going into something that won’t make you a lot of money for the first few years.
"You also have to be creative. I believe that is the most important skill. If you aren’t creative, don’t go for entrepreneurship.
"The third skill is leadership because you have to be able to motivate your team. When I worked with big companies I met a lot of supervisors who were great engineers but not very good leaders.”