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Maya Ondalikoglu

Forward Progress

By Joy Y. Wang

Fall 2011

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This spring, people around the world watched while uprisings swept through several nations in the Middle East. Maya Ondalikoglu ’12 [Own-DAH-lee-koh-loo]admits that seeing the events unfold from halfway around the globe was somewhat surreal. After all, a mere two years earlier, the native of Istanbul, Turkey, spent time in Egypt and Libya working for Grameen, a microfinance bank.

“Grameen wanted to expand its program, which made it necessary to develop contacts and figure out how the government and banking system worked in those countries,” explains Ondalikoglu, who stayed involved in the project through her first year of law school. By combining that experience with her legal education, she intends to pursue a career in corporate law, with an eventual focus on energy law. 

This year, Ondalikoglu got a head start on that path while serving as a summer associate at Vinson & Elkins, a firm renowned for its specialization in energy law. The position gave her the chance to negotiate both sides of a deal internally and learn the ins and outs of how deals get done. “It’s been very helpful to experience the teamwork aspect of the process,” she says.

Ondalikoglu returns home to Turkey about twice a year, but her immediate future is rooted in New York City, where she plans to pursue a corporate law career. “I like negotiating, creating value, and carrying a transaction from point A to point B,” Ondalikoglu says. “I really enjoy seeing the ongoing process of a bigger picture falling into place.”

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Photographed by David Yellen