Welcome to the team
By Genevieve Buthod
In the “Welcome to the Team” series, we interview newly hired employees in Loyola’s School of Communication. This edition features Business Manager Ebru Karapinar. Growing up in Germany, Karapinar always knew she wanted to attend university in the United States. Today she is fulfilling her dream of helping other international students find their own dreams by pursuing their education affordably in the U.S.
What first made you interested in working at Loyola University Chicago?
I’ve always wanted to work in higher education. I felt that, if you get all the way to college, especially in the United States, it’s a huge deal. A lot of people from overseas aspire to go to college in the U.S. Going to a U.S. university is a huge accomplishment. Not only internationally, but also domestically, it’s a huge decision, it’s a huge investment. I like learning, I like education. I like seeing people develop all the way through their education, and it’s nice to be part of it and help them along the way.
You’ve held other jobs at Loyola prior to joining the SOC.
I worked in the Business Office and the Treasurer’s Office at Loyola, as well. That’s where I came from when I joined the SOC family. I wanted to be part of seeing students succeed. It’s such an important aspect of their life, and one of the biggest investments they’ll ever make. Helping the students achieve their dreams has always been something that appealed to me, ever since I’ve been a young kid. It’s a great environment to be in.
Tell us more about what you do in your role as the Business Manager at the SOC?
I’m handling the financial operations and the budgeting of the School of Communication. Any fiscal budgeting, any planning for the future. Anything that will be needed, for any projects that may happen. One is Jill Geisler’s Master Class. I help these classes get set up and ensure that the payments are received. I reconcile any reports, payments, and make sure that we have the accounting units, that the funds we have are all balanced. I make sure that what we have is spent wisely. I also handle requests for reimbursement from faculty and staff as needed.
What surprised you about your role when you first started?
Generally speaking, I’m pretty familiar with the policies and procedures at the university level when I walked in. Having that knowledge helped me smoothly transition into the school. Obviously, there were procedures I wasn’t familiar with in the beginning, but I have overcome them since then. Knowing where to go, how to look for answers that I need, is helping me overcome them. It’s just over two months that I’ve been in this role. Having the ground knowledge helped me understand the concepts. But there are always specific aspects that no one can really prepare you for, and you have to work with all the resources you have to come to a resolution.
What do you like most about your role?
I like that every day is different. It keeps me on my toes, it keeps me alert. It makes me look forward to what the next day will bring. I know that today won’t be the same as tomorrow.
Where did you grow up? What were your educational experiences like there?
I was born and raised in Germany to Turkish parents, but grew up primarily in Germany. I came here to the U.S. at 19, right after high school. My dad is from Istanbul, and my mom is from Burdur, an area close to the Mediterranean Sea. I speak German and Turkish, I grew up bilingual. And I learned English in high school. I also took French, Spanish, Russian, and Latin in high school. I know Latin is a dead language, but I could translate things into German and back from the Latin. I still speak French and Spanish. And I can still read and write in Russian, but I haven’t spoken it in a long time.
When you came to the U.S., where did you go to school, and what did you study?
When you’re an international student, you don’t get any federal aid. They require so many documents, and there were always more that they needed. I went to community college. I went to DeVry University. For undergraduate, I went to DePaul, and I graduated with a BA in Sociology in 2010. I got my MBA at Loyola in Finance at the Quinlan School of Business, and I graduated in 2018. I’m also working on a second master’s degree in Information Systems and Analytics, it’s an MS degree offered by the Quinlan Graduate School of Business. I’ll be graduating this May.
What is it that interests you about finance and analytics, enough to pursue a second master’s degree?
I’m just doing it for fun. It’s helping me to learn more about how databases work, how to build them and analyze them. I feel like it’s something that, no matter what field of business you’re in, it’s helpful to have that kind of knowledge. I only needed three courses to get this second degree, so that’s why I did it.
What made you interested in studying Sociology for undergrad?
When I was at DePaul, I was working full time at a bank, so I had to take night classes at school. I was majoring in finance, but I switched to Sociology because it fit my schedule better. But it entails hypothesis testing, regression models, running numbers. It wasn’t just dry research. That aspect is what I liked. It was good that I found another major where numbers were still playing a crucial role in that program.
How did you manage to go to school while working full time?
It’s all about managing it well. Which means basically, knowing what is expected of you where and when. It helps me make decisions on how to manage the time wisely. I look at what is priority, what is not priority, and then trying to compartmentalize how to schedule things well. Usually I used my weekends for studying. Same thing for work, if there is anything that requires immediate attention, then obviously I take care of it right away. So that helps me ensure that I meet deadlines.
What do you like to do in the rare spare spots on your calendar?
I like to spend time with my dog, time with my fiancé. We like to enjoy the city. I’m not too big on going out, but I like to meet up with friends. I cook and bake a lot. I like to try new recipes. And time for myself, we can’t neglect self-care. We can be so overloaded in our schedules that we don’t make time for it. But even just half an hour can make a difference. Just going for a walk can help.
Have you made any fun recipes lately?
I got a pasta cutter machine, and I have made quite a lot of ravioli with it. I make the dough from scratch, and the filling from scratch, and sit there and turn out the ravioli piece by piece. I made a ricotta and spinach filling, and the trick is, I always add a little bit of nutmeg to it, which really brings the flavors out. I like making interesting foods that I’ve never made at home before, like sushi. It’s a nice way for me to relax and unwind, especially after a very long day. My fiancé will try to help, but I like doing it myself. You could say I get a bit territorial in the kitchen. But then we eat it together and it’s nice.
Any final advice for students who want to follow in your path?
First and foremost, my advice would be to make sure you love what you’re doing. Because if you don’t, it’s going to make it very hard to dedicate the time. No matter what someone does, the main ingredient is always to love what you’re doing. That will help you look at what you need to do to accomplish it. It helps you see what you need to prioritize. If you don’t like what you do, you definitely are not going to worry about it, you might find yourself slacking. No matter what kind of work you do, it should be sure that you love what you’re doing. The rest, the income, will come on its own. The love for the subject has to come first.