Georgi Malchev (EMBA ’04) enrolled in the very first cohort of AUBG’s EMBA program and at the time he was director at the Ministry of Economy, and Secretary to the Council for Economic Growth. Upon graduation, he started his career in management consulting and corporate finance. Currently, Georgi is Managing Partner at the digital marketing agency Xplora and Xplora Academy.
One of the main goals he had as an EMBA students was to apply as many of the concepts and approaches, as possible in his work environment while studying about them. He also appreciated the diversity of spheres his classmates were experts in.
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. Georgi shared with us more about his Executive MBA studies and the takeaways 20 years after it started.
Why EMBA at AUBG
Frankly speaking – I didn’t plan it in advance. I enrolled with a little push from my boss, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy – at the time I was a director at the Ministry of Economy.
I was skeptical at first about my aptitude for the program, but when I took the GMAT test (required at that time) I ranked in the top 1 percentile worldwide. Second – I had a tight schedule, working from 7:00 a.m. for at least 12 hours on weekdays, and working on weekends. But then, as my studies progressed – I became more and more confident and graduated second in the class.
But most important of all when I graduated – I had already applied many of the concepts at work and I was already achieving amazing results.
Georgi outlines three spheres of studies that made a mark in his professional life.
Starting with strategy, and actually with IT Strategy. It is still the best book on strategy I have ever read and used. It covered everything related to business strategy and putting it into execution in a profitable and sustainable way – business models, company strategies, scaling, and strategic advantage. I have created and taught my team how to create sound business and digital marketing strategies – over 100 strategies now and counting.
- Operations management
Second – operations management, a totally new area for me prior to enrolling in the eMBA program. I discovered this is a 100% fit for my personality profile. I was then for more than 10 years an integrator for businesses, a perfect wingman to visionaries in many businesses. I applied operations management approaches in scaling Xplora to more than 70 people within 7 years of its foundation.
- Managerial Business Communication
The final area is Managerial Business Communication – it was the thinnest business book I have ever read and one of the best for sure. I have been using the concepts a lot – as a managing partner, as a professor at three universities, as a mentor.
The biggest takeaway for me was how limited we are in our knowledge and understanding of the business world.
During my studies, I was exposed to so many business, marketing, and communications areas I was not aware of.
Second – I was not aware of how many applicable models there are that I can relatively easily acquire relevant skills in many areas. During the EMBA classes, I was first exposed for the first time in detail to the leadership topic. I have made a constant effort ever since to upgrade my skills with every opportunity – as a managing partner in one of the largest digital marketing agencies in the region, as co-founder at Pay It Forward – an NGO supporting municipal hospices for elderly people etc. Vlado Borachev’s leadership classes were amazing and have been life-changing for me.
Georgi Malchev was part of the Hack AUBG 2022 jury
Georgi Malchev and his mentor Vladimir Borachev at the book presentation Journey for Leaders
There were so many business, marketing, and communications areas I was not aware of. Neither was I aware how compelling these areas would be for me and that I can acquire skills so easily in these areas.
Shortly after completing the program, I moved to management consulting and corporate finance. Then I had a mandate for turnaround management with a client that I had advised. I became a board member and COO at one of the largest Bulgarian holding companies. During the years I moved to other companies as COO, board member and then -Director Digital Marketing at one of the largest companies in Bulgaria. And was part of a digital marketing turnaround – for team dynamics, scale and complexity of projects, resources granted, strategic and tactical results.
Now I’m managing partner at Xplora – one of the leading digital marketing agencies in the region, with over 110 active clients – local and international. I am also managing partner of Xplora Academy – a subsidiary company dedicated to digital marketing training and online courses.
I have been 12 years now and I deliver marketing, digital marketing and advertising classes. Four years ago I started my personal blog covering best practices and tested techniques for leadership, personal development, marketing and communications. A dream come true!
Georgi is involved in the AUBG community as part of the BA and EMBA initiatives. Photo from his presentation as part of the Leadership Talks series.
Piece of advice
So my advice is to go through the asking phase that we all go through, especially in the digital age. Check the courses and notice and blind spots of yours. Find out who has already graduated from the eMBA program, and check their career path. Ask the administration for additional information and materials on the teachers and the alumni.
It’s an amazing journey. Demanding – for sure. Elevating – definitely. Career and life-changing – 100% validated.
And … I hope to see you as part of the new cohort in the eMBA program. I will be your digital marketing professor. As mentioned – it’s going to be demanding, elevating, and I hope – career-changing. If you apply the principles from the class in our life in the digital era – it could be even life-changing, as many of my students share a couple of years after finishing my classes.
And make sure to grab every single piece of advice by Vlado Borached – to test, internalize, consolidate as knowledge, and scale as life-changing skill.
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