AUBG and SDA Bocconi's EMFBRE Program Begins with Top-Level Professionals

October 18, 2017

Twenty accomplished professionals from Bulgaria and the region took the next step in their professional development. The first cohort of the Executive Master in Finance, Banking & Real Estate (EMFBRE) program, a joint venture of SDA Bocconi and AUBG, began their studies on Oct. 12. They will spend the upcoming 14 months learning at the Elieff Center in Sofia.

“I think of this as the beginning of a great marriage between AUBG and SDA Bocconi, and we’ve had some excellent matchmakers for something that we think is very worthwhile,” said AUBG President Steven Sullivan.

Leonardo Etro, H.E. Stefano Baldi, and Dr. Steven Sullivan

To celebrate the inaugural cohort, His Excellency Stefano Baldi, Ambassador of Italy to Bulgaria and one of said “matchmakers,” hosted the participants and the team behind the program at his residence in the capital.

“It’s really a great pleasure to know that this new adventure started, because I believe that this is not only a big opportunity for each one of you, but it’s also a big opportunity for Bulgaria, for the region, and also for Italy, and of course for our relationship with the U.S,” said Ambassador Baldi.

While SDA Bocconi has experience with such joint ventures around the world, the EMFBRE marks the university’s first partnership in Eastern Europe. The program aims to not only help its students grow professionally, but to also have them bring these new skills and knowledge back to their communities, a key part of the mission of AUBG.

Ventsislav Ognyanov, General Manager of CCC Shoes Bulgaria, returns to academia 15 years after he earned his bachelor’s. The main reason is that the diploma he will receive at the end of his studies is a must in the career path he has picked. Ognyanov decided on the EMFBRE because of the high rankings of both AUBG and Bocconi, and because “you can’t find the combination that this program offers almost anywhere in the world.”

Ventsislav Ognyanov

After graduating AUBG in 2009, Esida Bujupi, another student in the program, started her career back home in the Bank of Albania. Now a consultant at the Central Bank of Kosovo, she stumbled upon the EMBFRE while browsing the AUBG website. “I’ve loved Bocconi since I was in high school, and AUBG I love and know what to expect from,” she said. With the support of her family she applied and was accepted. “I’m so glad that I did because it’s just an amazing program.”

The rest of the participants come from leadership positions in major banks, trade and real estate companies, and insurance agencies. Eighteen of them are Bulgarian and two are international – one from Albania and one from Italy. 

The cohort already completed its first module in Financial Analysis with Professor Lucilla Tealdi. Some of the other courses coming up include Financial Modeling, Real Estate Valuation, Banking Strategy, and Entrepreneurial Finance. They will be taught by faculty from both AUBG and SDA Bocconi.

Maurizio Dallocchio, Professor of Corporate Finance, serves as the Scientific Director of the program. His fellow professor Leonardo Etro and Provost Emilia Zankina are the program directors on behalf of SDA Bocconi and AUBG, respectively.

“This partnership for us is very important, the EMFBRE is the first step of our strong partnership we have with AUBG in the Balkans area,” said Etro.

Story and photos by Martin Georgiev 

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