Our trip to Turkey has been spectacular so far. All of us checked in to the Richmond Hotel on Sunday May 11th. The hotel is located on Istiklal Street, which is said to be the heart of Taksim – one of Istanbul’s trendiest areas with variety of restaurants, shopping centers, bars, and nightclubs. The hotel itself is very modern and very European. The best thing about it is that everyday we are able to have breakfast on the top floor with a beautiful view of the city. After checking in, a group of us decided to head out for some drinks at a bar across the street. The bartenders as well as the locals there were extremely welcoming. The energy was so lively even on a Sunday night. Soccer fanatics were everywhere on the street. Everyone was friendly and seemed to be having a great time. Right then and there we knew that this trip is going to be blast!
On Monday we had a total of three visits to finance-related corporations. The first one was with Garanti Securities Corporation, Turkey’s largest investment bank. where we got an overview of the Turkish economy and provided theirinsights on where it is going in the near future. We departed Garanti Securities and had lunch at the Etiler Develi Restaurant, which is said to be the best Kebob restaurant in Istanbul.
The second visit was to ING Bank Turkey. This was my personal favorite of the day, since the presenter is the Chairman, John McCarthy, with over 50 years of banking experience. Mr. McCarthy introduced ING to the group and gave his perspective on the banking system in Turkey and on the development of ING in the next 10 years. Mr. McCarthy was impressed with the knowledge and enthusiasm that our group brought the meeting.
The last and final visit was with the International Finance Corporation, which is the for-profits arm of The World Bank. It was the most informal and conversational presentation so far. The presenters gave us information on the IFC, its operations, and the agribusiness side of IFC in Turkey. It was a fascinating presentation on impact investing and it fitted well with GWSB’s agenda of sustainability and social responsibility.
A lot of issues that were brought up during our discussion with the presenters of the day revolved around Turkey’s current account deficits import and export trend, relationship with the European Union, monetary policies and fiscal reforms. The presentation reminded us a lot of our Macroeconomics and Financials courses. The presenters brought up a lot of concepts that our professors emphasized in the past. It was a nice reinforcement to what we have learned.
We also had our welcome dinner later that night at Cezayir Restaurant and celebrated Mike Tracey’s birthday as well. Everyone had a wonderful first day in Istanbul…including the birthday boy.
– Minh Ngo –