Desislava Tabakova (EMBA ’22) on Making Decisions Outside of the Box

June 02, 2023
Desislava Tabakova (EMBA ’22) on Making Decisions Outside of the Box

Desislava Tabakova is the Director Site Management of Milestone Systems, a company that develops open-platform IP video management software, delivering easy-to-manage surveillance solutions for enterprises. Desislava graduated from the AUBG Executive MBA program in 2022 after obtaining partly qualification diploma from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. Her career path was marked by local and international companies operating in the field of pharmaceuticals, online commerce, and financial activities, in which she held roles in the field of finance, controlling, and accounting.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the AUBG Executive MBA program, we are talking to some of the alumni who were part of this journey. Desislava shared with us more about her Executive MBA studies and the lessons learned. 

“What is the common trait between all of the professors and subjects is that they are forcing us to think outside of the box, outside of the textbooks and the good business practices because they wanted to teach us those good practices but also how we can constantly improve them in that dynamic and uncertain environment.”


After stepping into a more complex role back in 2019 I felt the need to have a more holistic view of the overall company’s processes and strategy in general. I was looking for a challenging and comprehensive executive education program that would enhance my business acumen and leadership skills. I did not have to search a lot as I have already received feedback from my network that the AUBG EMBA program is a leading one not just in Bulgaria but also in the region. I was drawn to the program’s focus on practical and relevant topics, such as strategic thinking, business strategy, organizational design, entrepreneurship, and so on. I was also attracted by the opportunity to learn from experienced professors and especially to expand my network with fellow executives from diverse industries and backgrounds. 

EMBA highlights

The highlight of my studies was the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I acquired in the classroom to real-world business challenges through various case studies and projects. And even now – a year later, I am still catching myself referring to “that case study where because of a decision made in a telecom company the Arab spring broke”, or another project where we had to dig into ‘why in a car factory, a couple of senior executives were burned by the employees’, and why the decisions which I have to make today will have a different result.

I am aware of the strong examples I am giving but that is the uniqueness of the program. The professors are teaching us to be brave and to base our opinions on solid facts, never to accept a mediocre answer.

The main highlight of the program though are my colleagues.I enjoyed working collaboratively with them as they also brought different perspectives and experiences to the table, and I appreciated the feedback and guidance provided by our professors. I also found the international study trip to be a valuable learning experience, as it exposed me to different business cultures and practices. [A big moment for us was that] We managed to visit the Dubai Expo at the very end of the global pandemic wearing masks everywhere apart from our hotel rooms.


When you are about to give up – that is probably one step before you actually accomplish your goal. That is relevant for the whole EMBA program which instills with you the habit of continuous learning and personal development. There were so many sleepless nights with assignments due in the early hours of the day. But you just know that you can’t give up. Because the team relies on you and vice versa (I know I sound like a Nike ad now). The tip here is not to take yourself too seriously and have fun in the process.

AUBG impact

And exactly that aspect of the program is what made the difference in my both professional and private lives. After such an extensive program you know the basics – you also know that it is impossible to know it all (unless you are Chat GTP and you are not). But you know how the system works and how you can very easily get the facts. You know how to work under pressure and especially when there is a great amount of uncertainty.

Again I am catching myself very often in critical situations where decisions must be made fast that the stories which pop up are the ones from all the hypothetical situations in the classes.

And exactly those situations back then help me clear out that uncertainty and make the call today. Another upper hand from the program is within the field of prioritization. Now it is quite easier to decide what is important and what is not where to spend my time and energy on. 

Piece of advice

Just don’t give up – it would be hard, it would be exhausting but also it is totally worthed. Make sure that you get the max out of it and just have fun! 
Good luck!