AUBG EMBA student Ljupka Tancheva, who is originally from North Macedonia, is an accomplished civil engineer with professional experience coming from several countries in the region. Currently a Cost / Commercial Manager based in Sofia, Ljupka decided to further enhance her knowledge with the AUBG EMBA Program. We spoke to her to learn more about her motivation behind this decision, her experience as an international student and her future career plans.
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the state university in Skopje, North Macedonia. Immediately after graduating, I spent 6 months on one of the biggest construction sites in the world – Ilisu Dam in Southeastern Turkey. This was a unique chapter which allowed me to experience living in a remote place at first hand, far away from everything and everyone I knew. The project team of consulting engineers was very international and, as I often say, I learned a bit about engineering and a lot about life.
After this, I continued my career in Skopje, first working for a property developer and then working in the tendering department in the biggest construction company in North Macedonia, where I participated in the preparation of bids for public procurement procedures. During this period and based on my experience, I started realizing that I am willing to continue my career in consultancy, preferably in an international environment, so I started exploring the possibilities. After attending various networking events and sending numerous e-mails and applications, I have received a job offer from a Bulgarian consultant with extensive professional experience in England. I made up my mind and moved to Belgrade, as part of the Bulgarian-Serbian supervision team of the reconstruction of two main boulevards and one roundabout in the city center. The project was very intense and challenging and it brought me a lot of knowledge. I was lucky enough to have not just a manager, but a true mentor with immense passion for his job. Being the only person on the project able to communicate in both Bulgarian and Serbian as well as English was a great advantage and it made me realize the importance of communication when doing business. My main tasks were related to assistance with contract and claims management, preparation of payment certificates, reporting and monitoring the project budget and program.
Upon completion of this project, I moved to Sofia more than four years ago. I continued to work in the field of contract management and preparation of bids for supervision services in the region. In 2019, I worked as a consultant to a German contractor responsible for the construction of a railway and systems for signaling and communications in North Macedonia, providing contract and claims management services. Later that year, I got an offer to work as cost / commercial manager for an international project management company with offices in Sofia and I have decided to go for it. This brought me the opportunity to work on several Bulgarian retail, hospitality and office projects with clients from the private sector. I am glad to say that this gave me insight into the world of construction project management on the Bulgarian market and allowed me to meet with amazing professionals, some of them being my colleagues and collaborators, others my clients.
Why EMBA at AUBG?
After completing my Bachelor’s degree, I was fully focused on building my professional experience. To my understanding, a Master degree and especially an executive one requires maturity, life challenges faced and ability to see the bigger picture in every aspect of life. For me, it was very important to first find my place in the wide world of civil engineering, as there is a number of career paths that a civil engineer could take. Once I realized that I am very inclined toward project management and in particular its procurement, contractual and financial aspect, there was no doubt that an EMBA program would add to my knowledge, skills and aspirations. Naturally, I did research on the business schools in the region and the type of programs they offer and after careful consideration and thoughtful deliberation decided to apply for the EMBA Program offered by AUBG. My father, who is a university professor himself and taught me from an early age the importance of education and one of my mentors in Sofia, who is a civil engineer with an MBA degree, are my strong support system.
I appreciate the structure and clear presentation of the Program as well as the fact that it is delivered in Sofia. My initial contact with members of the admission team was very encouraging and they were very helpful and welcoming. I find studying in Sofia, the place where I live and work and which feels like home since the first day, very beneficial, as it enhances my already strong sense of belonging to this city and society.
EMBA: Challenging and rewarding
Our cohort is from a broad range of industries, and I am genuinely impressed by the experience and contribution from the class. It is clear that we all have very similar goals and willingness to share our experiences. Classes are taught with passion and many of the professors are truly inspiring. What is also rewarding is how our critical thinking is encouraged and how we are continuously reminded of our potential for achievements as future leaders.
The most challenging part for me would be the fact that I have no business background due to which I try to dedicate as much time as possible for course preparation. I strongly believe that in today’s fast-paced world, every person should strive for financial literacy.
My short-term goal is to rise to a senior management role in the consulting industry, and in order to achieve that I need the operations and management skills that the AUBG EMBA Program has to offer. Also, working together with future leaders at AUBG will surely help me polish up my leadership style. The skills and the network acquired, along with my industry experience, will help me achieve my long-term goal to lead a consultancy company, re-shape its business, and drive competitiveness through innovation, high performance, and talent development.
Taking into consideration my experience and interest in the Eastern European market, I would like to define a strategy for various countries in this region that will include multifunctional consultancy services offered and directly managed by a centralized organization. In addition, and as a response to the current pandemic situation, I would like to define a sustainable strategy in the direction of cultivating new client relationships and strengthening existing ones during these challenging times.
Piece of advice
Think it through and allow the idea to grow in you. Discuss it with supportive people from your circle and someone who has already obtained such a degree. Be prepared to get outside of your comfort zone and feel a bit overwhelmed at times. A strong incentive is of utmost importance. Finally, take a deep breath and enjoy the journey.
Learn more about AUBG EMBA