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We're Digging Deep Into Nasir Acikgoz's Journey to the American Dream

Updated: Nov 27

From episode: EP47: Experience the Journey to success with Nova Hardscapes - Pebbles, Pavers and More

Willie: So talk to me.. You're you are from Turkey?

Nasir: I'm from Turkey originally.

Willie: How did you end up here?

Nasir: Well Right after college finishing undergraduate undergrad in Turkey in electronics engineering, I talked to my father, I said, you know, I just want to go to America. United States. He said to me Okay, but why United States? You want to learn English? Yes, I want to learn English, but there's England here. Right here three hours away. Why do you want to go all the way to 12 hours with plane? I said, I love the American culture I love the American dream, the colleges their lifestyle.

Willie: And this was all in the this was in?

Nasir: 1996, when I graduated from my from college and I graduate college a little bit earlier. I was nineteen, nineteen and a half years.

WIllie: Wow, congrars man.

Nasir: Thank you. I Started going to school like at five and a half years old because they had like a program there, different programs at that time. They allowed kids to be with the first graders.

Willie: Yeah to accelerate.

Nasir: I took advantage of that and Thank God I passed all the grades, I never missed anything. So as a matter of fact, on my third year of college, I told my dad, you know, I want to go to the United States, please, would you support me? So he told me, Whatever you do son, I'm gonna support you. So right after college I started applying to colleges for MBA program because I said I want to do MBA. I want to do master's in business administration. If you ask me why, it's because it was the hip thing to do in Turkey at that time if you have your Engineering background. I mean undergrad and then you have the MBA, all the companies all the corporate guys, they want you and especially from the United States, you know the MBA. So I had two friends in Orlando Back then and I applied to other states as well, and one of the guys in Orlando called me. He said look Nasir, I know you're applying to other states. We have a house here. We have you know...

Willie: The dorms everything..

Nasir: Yeah, the dorms and everything, and we know people in the college, we'll help you out, and we love you, come over, We'll hang out! You know first, I was hesitant. I said, you know, I'm gonna go there instead of learning English right away, now we're gonna be hanging out Turkish people. So I had that doubt. Turkish buddies from my town, yes. We know their families, my dad knows their dads. But my father told me look, It's better to know someone there when you start off and then you if don't like it, you move somewhere else. It's easy, Easier.

Willie: It breaks the ice.

Nasir: It breaks the ice. So I said, okay.. They sent me the application from, it's called seminal community college. It's where the Seminoles Indians, All speakers English speakers..

Willie: And you didn't know any English at this point?

Nasir: very very little..

Willie: You speak it Very well.

Nasir: Yeah, I practiced there so much, you know.. They applied to college community college. I said, oh, it's a community college? It's not a university and my friends told me look, it's this little college close to our house. It doesn't matte, you're just gonna learn English. And here there's no Turkish people. Only there were some Latins like Puerto Ricans. A lot of Puerto Ricans.

Willie: You're in Orlando. Yeah, that's the Puerto Rican capital.

Nasir: Puerto Rican capital. Yes Back then it was like this 1996 1997. So I loved the idea. I said, okay, no problem. So we I applied and they said, okay, no problem. You can start the English as a second language program. I started going there, Yes, I was the only Turkish guy. So I had no option but to learn the language. So I loved it. So I said, you know what? I'm just gonna stay here. I'm not gonna move anywhere else and I started getting to know people. I had I met a lot of people there and we started hanging out even though our English, all of our English were a Little bit, you know, like it's off, but we still with hand gestures, with moves and stuff like that you manage to engage. So I finished English as a second language course, then I applied to UCF University of Central Florida for the MBA program. They accepted me, but they said I need to take a lot of prerequisite courses and I said, okay, and they gave me a list. It was like 12 courses I said, wow, it's too much and I gave you my transcripts guys, I'm an engineer I mean, but they said hey, you didn't take financial accounting. You didn't take managerial accounting, They said like economics, macro economics, micro economics, all these courses, and they said ,You know, you have to take them. So, I don't want to say I lost another year, year and a half...

Willie but you felt like it..

Nasir: I felt like it at first but then I appreciated it because that taught me a lot. Because you're learning the fundamental of Economics, financials, actually the courses that I took financial and managerial accounting courses, they taught you how to read your balance sheet of the company.

Willie: Which is great. A lot of people are clueless to that.

Nasir: Exactly and I actually am doing my own balance sheets, PNLs..

Willie: That's awesome.

Nasir: I'm looking at them every month, and I'm kind of, you know, Looking through it, even though my CPA looks at it almost every month. But when he talks about something, I already know. So that's why I was like, that time to me, like oh my god, I'm gonna lose another one year and a half, two years..

Willie: but it ended up working out..

Nasir: but it ended working out for me. So I started MBA program right after. I finished it and Studied business administration.

Willie: So you studied what you wanted to study when you were with your dad

Nasir: Yes

Willie: Telling them this is what I want to do

Nasir: Exactly. One little detail I left off before.. Before I got into UCF, the first year when I was in seminal community college, My roommate told me, hey, let's apply for a green card lottery. Oh, I said, what is that? I'm like lottery, also is, we're gonna win money? He's like no.. it's called green card lottery.. I still didn't understand the concept. And he told me, look you're gonna apply. A lot of people are applying and they Pick you and if they pick you, you can stay in this country and you get the residency. I'm like...

Willie: you're kidding me..

Nasir: For me to get my student visa, I have to go through so much...

Willie: so much..

Nasir: and they're just gonna give me my green card and that's it.. it's over like... you know.. that easy. It's like yes, that easy. I'm like, Let's apply. Let's apply and I'm thinking welcome to the United States. Welcome to American dream.

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