Capital’s January issue features AUBG President Dr. David Evans. The piece was originally published in Bulgarian.
AUBG has consistently occupied top positions in the official ratings of universities in Bulgaria. What is behind this success?
As with any consistent success, AUBG’s is the result of multiple factors. The most important, probably, is our educational approach inspired by small American liberal arts colleges. We prioritize student learning and teaching quality in all our programs and in faculty hiring, and believe that our students are genuinely colleagues rather than subordinates in the learning process. While our program mix includes many career-oriented majors such as various business disciplines, computer science, and journalism, we expect and provide many opportunities for our students to learn different approaches from other fields to identifying, understanding, and solving problems. They thus graduate as flexible, versatile thinkers who can bring broad perspectives to their workplace challenges and further education. Historically, the liberal arts have been intended to educated and empower free citizens (“liberal” has the same Latin roots in English as “liberty”) who can contribute thoughtfully to their societies and to the public good, and our highest aspiration as an institution is to continue to be an active and successful part of that tradition.
What is the role of faculty, Career Center, and alumni in career mentoring? How does campus life factor in?
Again, our faculty believe that our students are colleagues and partners in learning, and are specifically selected to be willing mentors in their students’ learning. A lot of education at AUBG happens outside the classroom, in formal and informal settings, where faculty interact with students in different ways and get to know them as more than just students in a course. We recognize that students come to AUBG for a total experience, not just the formal educational process, and work across all our constituencies to create value in this experience. Thus, for example, our Career Center provides a wide range of programs that help students discover professional possibilities and opportunities, prepare to apply for jobs, present their experiences to potential employers and graduate programs in the most compelling way, and engage with prospective employers throughout their time at the university. Our alumni are notably successful in many different fields, and one of the most significant ways they “give back” to AUBG is by sharing their experiences, wisdom, and expertise with current students, which adds considerable value for them. We have alumni all over the world, and the community tends to be quite tight-knit, so there is global support for current students who are still learning what might be possible for them after graduation.
Finally, our campus life provides many opportunities for students to gain leadership and organizational skills, interact with people from many different places, and work together to create programs and events. I am consistently impressed by how poised and mature our students are, and these are characteristics they develop through practice and experience on campus, in internships, and through travel and similar distinctive experiences we strive to make possible for them.
What are the priorities of the EMBA program which has been successfully educating the leaders of the Bulgarian society for 20 years?
The major priority is to continue offering an excellent experience to professionals in Bulgaria and the region to advance their skills, build professional networks, and gain insight into business processes and opportunities to improve their current and future work. We want the best, most interesting faculty for the program, who, again, will be learning colleagues for our EMBA students and enrich them with expertise and perspective. And, of course, we want the program to continue to evolve as the business atmosphere changes so our graduates have the best, most current knowledge to support their personal and professional growth.