Kaan Donmez, DMSB'18, is a fifth-year business administration major with concentrations in marketing and entrepreneurship. He has experienced three co-ops while at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business, including his third co-op at VMware in Silicon Valley, California. Kaan moved to the U.S. in high school, intent on achieving his American dream. Since then, he has launched theamerikaan.com, a social platform dedicated to inspiring others to follow their dreams as well.
Be sure to follow Donmez's Instagram takeover beginning September 25, 2017, on @damoremckim.
Q Why did you decide to attend Northeastern?
One of the most important reasons why Northeastern became a better choice for me was the endless opportunities it provides for experiential learning and career building while still in college. As an international student (from Turkey), I knew that getting internships, for example, would be harder for me. Soon I realized the co-op program would be the best solution to this problem, and it really was. I got to have professional experiences at the world's best places to work while I was still in college. This opportunity singlehandedly makes Northeastern the most ideal college, in my opinion.
Q: How did you choose your concentrations?
Coming to Northeastern, I wanted to pursue a career in the biological sciences and moving into genetics research, as it has always been my passion. During my first semester, I was fortunate enough to make friends from other colleges and get to see their experiences at Northeastern. I loved the flexibility at Northeastern that allowed me to take interdisciplinary classes, and I decided to take an international business class. Through this class, I realized that a career path in business, especially in marketing, would be more suitable given my creative mindset and business-driven aspirations. I also knew that I wanted to establish my own brand and my own company in the future, so entrepreneurship as a secondary concentration was the perfect decision.
Q: What have you been involved with at Northeastern?
I have honestly been involved with so many different organizations and clubs ever since my first semester here. Dancing is another passion of mine, and I joined No Limits Dance Crew as a choreographer in my first semester, became a choreographer and lead dancer for NUStage Musical Theater Company, and joined Revolve Dance Crew where I eventually became the Creative Director and helped our team place in a dance competition in 2016. I'm also a fashion enthusiast and have been involved with the Fashion & Retail Society since my first semester where I am the president for the second year. I also helped rebuild the Turkish Student Association and served as marketing director for three years, which then led me to be a founding member of the New England Turkish Student Association Inc. I also worked closely with the Office of Global Services and co-chaired their festival in 2015. I also served as a Global Mentor, International Student Leader, and Resident Assistant. I am so excited to continue my involvement for one last semester!
Q: How has photography influenced your interests personally or professionally?
I have always had a passion for photography and arts, and I didn’t realize how much power it would have on my professional growth. Through my first few co-ops, I got to use my amateur photography skills to create content for social media marketing, and soon I realized I enjoyed taking photos, editing them, and executing social media strategies by using them. As I increased my skills in both photography and editing, I also wanted to start working on my own personal branding through this passion of mine.
Q: What is The Amerikaan and why did you start it? What do you hope to achieve from it?
Ever since I moved to the states back in high school, I always had people asking me how I am doing it all – leaving my home at such an early age, achieving so many things, and finding all these opportunities to explore, learn, and grow both personally and professionally. I always had so much pleasure talking about my journey and sharing my experiences with others. Last year, it occurred to me that I could be sharing my journey with the world in a better and more organized way by reaching out to more people through the power of social media, so I created The Amerikaan. I am not an American, but I am Amerikaan: building and following my own American dream in my own ways. I want The Amerikaan to become not only a social platform to share my journey, but also a source of inspiration and guidance to those who dream of pursuing their American dreams as well. I am so grateful for where my journey has taken me so far, and I’m very excited to share what's to come on theamerikaan.com.
Q: Where have you co-op’ed and what have those experiences been like?
My first co-op was with Valore, an e-commerce company focusing on college students' needs, based in Boston. I worked in social media marketing, creating and executing content through social media, working on data reporting and helping the team build marketing strategies to drive sales. It was my first professional experience in the states, and it helped me a lot to learn about the start-up culture and e-commerce business. For my second co-op, I moved to New York to work at The Boston Consulting Group within their Global Branding & Marketing Operations team. This was a completely different experience at a global corporate company, and I had an amazing time there learning and growing. For my third co-op, I am now in Silicon Valley in California working at VMware, a technology company specializing in virtual technology. I am learning incredible new skills while I get exposed to the latest technology news and updates.
Q: You’re in California now, what are you doing there?
I am currently on co-op at VMware as part of their End-User Computing Portfolio Marketing Team. I am managing various projects from digital campaigns to data reporting, and many others. Working at one of the top companies in Silicon Valley has been very rewarding so far. After my first two co-ops, I am now working in a new industry, and exposing myself to another level of digital marketing. In addition, living in California has been nothing but dreamy so far. I absolutely love the weather and the lifestyle here. I not only get to visit the city of San Francisco often, but I have also been traveling non-stop along the west coast. California is full of natural beauty, as well as the world's most exciting cities, so I am doing my best to enjoy them all.
Q: Being a senior, what are your thoughts for the future?
It always felt so far away, but I am finally here. It is bittersweet, knowing in a few months college will be over, but I am very excited to see what life has to offer. I have worked hard throughout the past five years at Northeastern, and I am hoping to see my hard work and endless efforts pay off, either with an opportunity to work at a great company or to continue my studies at an MBA program. Although nothing is ever certain, and I often find myself wondering what's next, I am hopeful that things will work out. I will continue working towards my American dream wherever I will end up next.
Q: What additional insight do you have for the Northeastern community?
Live your American dream! We all have dreams, and they are all valid! No matter where we come from, what we have lived through, and what life keeps throwing our way, our dreams are valid and worth chasing. It might sound cliché, but I truly was a kid in a small town back in Turkey, always dreaming to achieve the next big thing. Now I am working in Silicon Valley, I’ve traveled around the country and the world, and I’m building my own empire! You can do it too!
Q: What do you plan to share during your takeover?
I will share my favorite highlights from living in New York and California. Both places have very unique lifestyles, and I hope to reflect the amazingness of both coasts through the images I captured. I will also share my American dream journey through these posts and show my perspective through the lens of The Amerikaan.