MBA student Bozhidar: « we take for granted that we are able to communicate with such a diverse set of people in our MBA cohort «
MBA student Bozhidar Draganov, creator of a renewable energy company in the US joined EMLYON Business School’s International MBA degree class of 2014/2015. Pictured here with Gérard Collomb, Mayor of Lyon, Bozhidar shares why he chose the MBA and the highlights of the first semester, including the social entrepreneurs he has met in his field of interest and the how much he values the opportunity to study, work and learn from the perspectives of a truly international cohort. He also shares his career objectives upon completing the Masters of Business Administration and some great advice for future MBA students.
It was not difficult to choose EMLYON for my MBA. I was looking for a good quality 1 year MBA programme taught entirely in English, located in Europe, at an affordable cost. All of that is offered here at EMLYON Business School. I am happy to say that I also found confirmation for the reputation of the school to provide a unique environment to nurture and challenge entrepreneurs. It does that, and it does it very well.
What was your background before joining the programme as an MBA student?
Upon obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in 2007, I worked for several years for private investors and a multi-national corporation before I launched my entrepreneurial venture abroad. Renewable energy is a favourite field of mine, so my work was related to solar photovoltaic power plants and wind power plants, responsible for investment due diligence and analysis, project planning, management and funding etc. I also have a long history of entrepreneurial activity, which started as early as high school, which is one more reason to say that my presence here as an MBA student at EMLYON is well rooted in my strong drive to seek and grab opportunities.
What was the highlight of your first semester?
Amongst other things, I very much enjoyed the Pygmalion Business Strategy game, which taught me some practical lessons in a very engaging way. Another highlight are all the extra-curricular meetings and events here on campus which bring people literally from all over the world. For example I had the chance to meet the Mayor of a city in the Philippines, as well as a new generation of social entrepreneurs who change the world of thousands of people with the power of business.
Another very important highlight from the very start is brought by all the people I meet – my peers from over 20 different countries and cultures and various backgrounds. As classes go by and we get to know each other better, we tend to take for granted that we are able to communicate with such a diverse set of people in our MBA cohort and at EMLYON Business School in general. But every once in a while, as an MBA student I realise how rare and valuable that is – to obtain first-hand feedback on the business ways of Asia, Africa, or the local trends within any other country as experienced by people who have lived and worked all over the planet.
What are your career objectives upon completion of the programme? Have these changed since you began the programme?
I am looking at a career in strategic consulting, probably in the field of energy. The ability to identify a problem, devise a solution and present it in a compelling manner, assisted by the skill to engineer your questions well and then listen to the answers of your client is useful in all industries and in life in general. Therefore I am not restricting myself only to the field of energy.
I would like to own a renewable energy power plant one day. I also have plans in the social sector, as I would like to contribute to education initiatives for socially disadvantaged children who cannot afford to go to school. This has not changed and in fact developed throughout my Masters of Business Administration studies at EMLYON. Arete Youth Foundation is an NGO which is doing great work back in my home country and I hope we can work together in the future to help the community I belong to, regardless of where I am based geographically.
What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming semester?
I am looking forward to taking some very interesting courses which will introduce me to frameworks I can apply across industries. Disruptive innovation and business consulting are areas of great interest to me, as I believe we are heading towards a time of almost daily generation of disruptive innovation in technology and thinking, and I am happy to be living in this exciting time.
There is also our 9-month consulting Entrepreneurial Leadership Project, which has already taught me some valuable lessons about the reality of business in France and in particular the industry of renewable energy, as well as strategic design and high-stake decision making.
What advice would you give to prospective International MBA students?
I would tell a future MBA student to plan your time well: arrive at least two weeks early in the city, find a good place to live, take care of administrative paperwork, bank accounts etc well before the start of classes. Once classes start, your free time ends and the work is very intensive and challenging. And of course, polish your skills in prioritising and working smarter, not necessarily harder, because with the amount of reading that needs to be done, that’s definitely an approach you will need to consider. For those that think it’s possible to combine work with a full-time International MBA degree, I’d say that it’s very close to impossible, because you’re engaged 6-7 days a week. I study 7 days in a week – and that is my full-time job for the duration of the programme. This intensity comes with a lot of fun as well, so come with an open mind and be ready for anything!
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