Master’s degree, baby, new job and valedictorian: Fulya does it all

18 Dec 2015

International postgraduate student Fulya Çalık Toker has had quite a year.

The Master of Business (Advanced) student will graduate from The University of Queensland this week as a valedictorian, after recently starting full-time work at a Brisbane strategic consultancy firm. Her third child was born in May.

Two years ago, Ms Toker was a marketing manager at Schwarzkopf Professional in her home country of Turkey. At the end of 2013, she and her husband Ahmet made the bold decision to move to Australia with their two children so Ms Toker could study at UQ.

A European Global Leaders Scholarship from the UQ Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL) assisted Ms Toker with the move, allowing her to live her dream of studying overseas.

“Balancing pregnancy, motherhood and full-time study was challenging, but somehow we made it work,” she said.

“All kids demand attention and they can’t understand that sometimes you have other things to do – mine are no exception!

“Mostly I studied at night while the children were asleep, or very early in the morning.”

The pace of life was such that Ms Toker submitted an assignment six hours before the birth of her daughter.

“It was difficult writing my thesis and taking lectures while she was just a newborn, but the support of my husband and mother, and my passion for learning, helped me through the challenges,” she said

Late in 2014, Ms Toker undertook an internship with Australian retail company LouenHide through the BEL Faculty Student Employability Team.

Ms Toker’s enthusiasm and marketing skills were noticed at UQ.

After completing her thesis, Ms Toker received a job offer – with a little help from UQBS.

“I was discussing my future career opportunities in Australia with my supervisor, Associate Professor Frank Alpert, who offered to send my résumé to his business network,” she said.

“He put me in touch with Chris Roberts, who is managing director of Engaged Marketing in Brisbane and an Industry Fellow at UQ.

“Chris offered me the marketing manager position at his company, which required a combination of research and marketing skills – which I had, thanks to my Master’s degree.

“I’m very excited about my role and the company I’m working for and I’m thrilled to be staying in Australia.

“I will be learning new things about marketing in the role, but I’m also confident that my own professional experience and my UQ education will help me contribute to the success of the company.”

Ms Toker graduates on Friday 18 December as valedictorian of her ceremony.

She said she was thrilled to be named at the top of her class, entitling her to the valedictorian role.

“My entire UQ experience, from the beginning through to today, has been full of passion, learning, joy, excitement and adventure,” she said.

“For me, my time at UQ is the most valuable asset and to be selected as valedictorian is the crème de la crème.

“It’s a really big honour and I’m so excited to have this amazing opportunity.”

Media: Alysha Hilevuo, 07 3346 9349 or 0428 884 097,