Dr. Sencer Yeralan: A Healthy System Combines Both Cooperation and Competition

Dr. Sencer Yeralan: A Healthy System Combines Both Cooperation and Competition

Dr. Sencer Yeralan, whom IUS has already had an opportunity to hear in March this year, when he delivered the lecture "Everything you always wanted to know about systems, but were too afraid to ask", has joined IUS as a full professor this year. We used the opportunity to speak to the new professor about his expectations and plans.

What are your first impressions of IUS and the faculty?

I am very excited to be here. At IUS, we have students from 55 different countries and faculty from 20 different countries. I see a lot of potential. Also, we are very excited that there is a new energetic administration at IUS.

Could you tell us something about the courses you are teaching?

I am going to teach Introduction to Operations Research, jointly with Operations Research I. This course is about making managerial decisions using rigorous scientific and quantitative methods. Say, you want to decide where to build a new airport in BiH. You first convert the question into a mathematical formulation, and then find a solution based on computation. Or suppose, you have five different divisions and five different projects, and you try to decide which division should get which project. If you find solution to that problem based on a mathematical formulation, that is what people call Operation Research or Scientific Management.

The other course is in Industrial Engineering, and something close to my heart, Technology and R&D Management. That is more of a qualitative course, but it is important for engineers because some of the engineers quickly go up the ladder and become managers themselves. When they become senior engineers, then they need to think about how they are going to manage research efforts, or product development, or process development, or how to evaluate new technologies, or how to measure the effectiveness of R&D, etc.

What are some of the plans you have for FBA?

We, as FBA, set ourselves three objectives. We would like to streamline our institutional processes so that everything that we do in-house takes as little effort as possible and is easily understandable. So, when we get students and professors from all these different countries, everybody can seamlessly work together.

Secondly, we would like to increase our diversity, to increase the number of students from different countries, from North and Western Europe, North and South America, and Oceania. My personal short-term objective would be to have a third of Bosnian students, a third Middle Eastern, and a third from the Balkans and the Euro zone. Same thing with the faculty. We have faculty members from different countries at FBA, we have good diversity, but we want more.

As a third FBA objective, we would like to reach out and talk with Bosnian and international companies and institutions, including national and supra-national institutions. To kick start this, we are setting up an advisory board for FBA and inviting the CEO’s and managers to join. The board would meet at our university once a year, and discuss things such as joint projects and student internships. This way, we hope to establish an organic relationship between FBA and industry. We would like to reach out not only to companies, but also to other regional universities, as they are worthy competitors. We look forward to both cooperating and competing with them. I come from System Engineering, where it is thought that a healthy and progressive system is when you have concurrent cooperation and competition.

Do you have any messages for the students?

I would like to remind them that they are not studying for us, but rather to make themselves better and more marketable. When they graduate, they are going to compete with world-class peers. There will be students from the entire globalized world who took the same classes but studied very hard. Those who did not study very much, did their minimum, skipped classes, and barely got the diploma will be at a disadvantage for a lifetime. So, students should take full advantage of the university years. These are precious times, but with dire implications and consequences.