Derin Kurultak is an undergraduate student at IE University. She is in her second year of the Dual Degree in Business Administration + Data & Business Analytics. Hailing from Turkey, she was surrounded by tech and business her entire life, which fueled her interest in pursuing a degree that would combine those passions. Derin shares her experience at IE University, her classes and the extracurricular activities she has been involved with during her time here.
I come from Izmir, Turkey, where I have lived all of my life. Izmir is a city on the coast by the Aegean Sea and it is a lovely place to grow up in. My father is an electronics engineer and has his own company while my mom is a businesswoman who does project management. I was surrounded by technology throughout my childhood, which first piqued my interest in tech and business.
This early introduction to both fields reminds me of a motto I really believe in: everything happens for a reason. Whether good or bad, that is how everything in life functions. The challenges I’ve faced have made me who I am today.
I decided to attend IE University for a variety of reasons, one of the biggest being that I could pursue the Dual Degree in Business Administration + Data & Business Analytics; this is an exceptional concept I was attracted to because of my unique childhood. I am a data person and a math person, but I also have an artistic side. I usually play the piano and, when I do, I can feel the melody in sync with the feelings and emotions in my body. This duality made me seek a degree that could foster and grow both sides of my personality.
The other reason was that I could enjoy IE University in two distinct locations: the campus in Segovia and the state-of-the-art IE Tower in the financial heart of Madrid. The international environment that the university fosters drew me in too. I learned that 75% of the classes of 2025 and 2026 were international, which is amazing and opens up numerous opportunities to learn new perspectives and network.
The Dual Degree in Business Administration & Data and Business Analytics is quite captivating for me. It is a well-rounded program with many facets. There are two sides to this dual degree—the data and analytics side where we code, calculate, analyze and spend hours in front of the computer; and the business side, which is more creative, social and full of action.
For me, the university experience should be more than just going to classes; that’s why I decided to actively participate in various clubs and extracurricular activities. Now, I am one of the coordinators for the IE Women in Business Club and president of the IE Girl Up Club, which is about promoting gender equality and fighting against violence against women. My vision for both clubs is to foster a community of young, aspirational and strong women.
As a coordinator of the IE Women in Business Club—where everyone is welcome—we provide a platform for the IE Community to meet and network with professionals from targeted sectors. Recently, we launched the Wellness Series: an initiative that is all about improving mental and psychological health. Although it’s a slow process, I am glad to see that institutions have started to place much more importance on this issue.
Standing up for women and fighting for gender equality is something I am passionate about. The story of Coco Chanel is an inspiration to me. She built a hugely successful company from scratch and, at the same time, she was a pioneer in giving women much more freedom. And I love seeing women in every field: I want there to be more of a balance of genders in all sectors. After all, the person I am today is definitely thanks to the strong women in my family.
In the future, I would love to be a part of Amazon or Google because of their work environment. Since both began as startups, they know what it’s like to go up against the giants and so don’t have the scary image of a large, corporate company. They also value their employees a lot more, which I appreciate.
As for school, I would love to pursue a master’s degree or a diploma program in psychology because I want to understand human behavior and the human brain more. As I see it, that’s an integral part of becoming a more well-rounded, impactful leader—one who can tackle anything life throws at them.