Ipek T. Bahceci: Business Development Fellowship Program Alumna
What determines good governance
Note: This interview was conducted in fall 2018. Ipek Bahceci was a Business Development Fellow in 2018/19.
Ipek T. Bahceci is a Ph.D. student at UC Davis, working at the intersection of political economy of development and comparative politics. She uses statistical models and game theory to understand political mechanisms behind different levels of economic development around the world.
Bahceci has a M.Sc. in comparative politics from London School of Economics, and a B.A. in political science from Bogazici University, Istanbul. She spent a year at Intel’s Istanbul office, working on channel sales and marketing.
In a nutshell, describe your project or venture.
My research project aims to contribute to our understanding of determinants of good governance. My particular focus is on state capacity.
I believe people all around the world deserve good governance and, as a result, high living standards.
What’s important about your research or project—and where do you hope to take it?
State capacity is an important determinant of economic development, high economic growth and better programs of public goods. Weak states—that is, those that lack capacity—experience bad economic and social outcomes. Therefore, a key political economy question is why some states are weak. I study the historical persistence of state capacity, and try to find out possible determinants of this persistence. This research aims to contribute improving governance all around the world by revealing political mechanisms behind good economic and political performance by states and governments.
What are you most passionate about in your work?
My academic passion has been to understand governance-related reasons that hinder or promote economic growth and development. I believe people all around the world deserve good governance and, as a result, high living standards. I am passionate about bringing existing knowledge, tools and approaches together to answer challenging questions to contribute to the improvement of political and organizational outcomes.
What was the most important thing you learned at the Entrepreneurship Academy?
That entrepreneurship is not only about starting a new business. Entrepreneurship is a mindset, or a transferrable skill, that can improve all existing practices, including our own lives. I have also learnt the importance of the reducing-uncertainties approach: facing and reducing uncertainties efficiently and effectively at each step is key to ongoing development.
What is the most unexpected advice you received from a mentor?
The most unexpected advice that I have ever received from a mentor was to “give up.” To me, it was not only unexpected, but also counterintuitive and unsettling at the time. Soon enough, I realized that knowing when and how to give up is an important skill for long-term success, even though commitment is key to achievement.
Do you plan to participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition or “just” the workshops? How do you expect this to help you as an aspiring entrepreneur?
I am not in the competition this year. I am planning to participate in workshops and to follow projects of fellow participants.
How will your experiences as a Business Development Fellow help you to change the world?
The training offered by the program teaches us to combine scientific approach with business acumen to navigate successfully in professional life. As business fellows, we have been learning that every venture that ever changed the world has been made possible by people who envisioned a change, committed to it, and managed to build a network of people who are also incentivized to commit.