Interview with Berkan Poyraz
"I was surprised that from day one at work I could draw on my knowledge from my studies"
Our alumnus Berkan Poyraz (graduating in 2015) is Manager for Revenue Management & Pricing at Eurowings in Cologne.
During his studies of M.Sc Economics at the WiSo-Faculty of the University of Cologne he was very active in the international environment, among other things through his activities in the Buddy Program for the guest students of the WiSo-Faculty and later on as Board Member for International Affairs in the PIM & CEMS Alumni Club Cologne. Today he is still a committed alumnus in the PIM & CEMS Alumni Club and is still connected with his university. We talked to him about his professional life and his participation in the buddy program of the WiSo faculty. Furthermore, he gives our students good tips.
Mr. Poyraz, how would you describe your professional life and what do you appreciate about your job?
The position of revenue manager is very important within an airline. In this position, you have overall responsibility for revenue for a specific route portfolio, i.e. using automated systems and reporting tools to determine the availability of fares in a market for a specific route.
In concrete terms, the goal is to sell the right number of seats, at the right price, at the right time, to the right passenger groups. Many different factors play an additional role in decision-making and determining the optimal price. These include the observation of competitors, the seasonal demand of customers and the product offered in the market, for example whether the flights are attractive for business travellers or only appeal to leisure travellers.
The market environment is constantly changing, especially due to the enormous growth in the low-cost airline segment, and therefore new challenges must be faced again and again.
I also appreciate the fact that you are given such great responsibilities at a very early stage in your professional life. In addition, there are always new projects on the agenda, which are also cross-departmental, so that the working day always remains exciting.
To what extent did your "M.Sc. Economics" studies prepare you for your professional life?
Revenue management is basically about supply and demand for certain flight segments. Here, the analyst's role is to find the optimal price. In addition, many factors play a role that are only too well known from your studies. These include, for example, the market entry of competitors.
By offering different products for different customer segments, price discrimination is carried out accordingly. The goal is to tap the optimal demand in the market through dynamic price and quantity control and to maximize sales accordingly.
Especially after my studies of economics and the very model-heavy lectures I could not imagine directly how this could help me in my professional life. However, I was surprised that I was able to draw on my knowledge from my studies right from the first day on the job and that I was able to use it very well in some cases.
As a buddy you can make contact with other students very quickly.
What motivated you to become active in the WiSo Faculty's Buddy Program?
I was still relatively new at the university and wanted to do something besides my studies. As a buddy you can make contact with other students very quickly.
Please complete the sentence: Cologne is for me...
an attitude to life. I must say that I moved from the hostile city of Düsseldorf to Cologne for my studies and from the first day I felt very much at home. Especially the people here in Cologne, colourful mixed, provide a very special charm. After my studies I moved to Berlin for my first job and that's exactly why I returned to my adopted country, because Cologne never lets you go.
I am particularly fascinated by the cultural diversity in the world. This was also one of the reasons why I signed up for the Buddy Program.
Who or what inspires you and why?
Well, I must honestly say that nobody really inspires me. From where I sit, I'd rather call it fascination. Especially the cultural diversity in the world fascinates me a lot. This was also one of the reasons why I signed up for the Buddy Program. Meanwhile, one knows so many people scattered all over the world and through the "International Week" concept of the PIM & CEMS Club, in the form of short multilateral exchange programs, this fascination was intensified.
In the end, this is exactly what has led me to my current career path. Without the international networking through airplanes or airlines, this intercultural exchange would be difficult to take place. I found this so exciting that I decided to take this path and with the economics background I ended up in revenue management with many exciting tasks, in a very dynamic industry and one of the fastest growing airlines in the world.
Studying and acquiring knowledge is very important in order to have good chances on the job market later, but the acquisition of soft skills is actually just as important.
What would you like to give to your fellow students? What are your three tips?
For your studies you should always plan in a structured way.
Even if it may not seem feasible at times with the workload, you simply have to consistently create a sensible plan and then it is definitely feasible.
Studying and acquiring knowledge is very important to have good chances on the job market later on, but the acquisition of soft skills is actually just as important.
At the University of Cologne you learn a lot of independence and personal responsibility already during your studies. Nevertheless I can strongly recommend everyone to inquire about student initiatives.
Especially at the University of Cologne with so many students this can go down very quickly and through such initiatives you get to know many new people.
Furthermore, the active participation in such student initiatives has a very positive effect on personal development. This is not only about building up soft skills to shine at job interviews, but also about human development. I ended up at the PIM & CEMS Club more or less by chance and that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me during my studies.
Besides the extra-curricular activities, it is also simply important to enjoy and use the time as a student, both for personal projects and simply to enjoy life - and often you can combine this with voluntary work.
Many thanks for the interview, Mr. Poyraz!
The questions were asked by Ayla Wisselinck
The Buddy Program for visiting students at the WiSo-Faculty
Every semester, the Center for International Relations (ZIB) and the PIM & CEMS Student and Alumni Club Cologne e.V. organize a buddy program for guest students of the WiSo-Faculty.
We are looking for students and doctoral candidates who are motivated to assist guest students in the coming summer semester. Further information is available under: http://www.international.wiso.uni-koeln.de/international-at-home/buddy-programme/