With her 30-years tenure at Shell and her strong contribution to the company’s excellent reputation in the country, Kamelia Slaveykova (EMBA ’07) became a symbol of Shell’s successful presence in Bulgaria. After assuming the role of Country Chair for Bulgaria and Greece for 13 years, now, she is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Shell Bulgaria.
An active participant in the local business community, Kamelia Slaveykova is a member of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum since 2010. In the period 2016 – 2019, Forbes Woman ranked her as one of the 20 most influential business leaders in Bulgaria. Furthermore, in 2016 she was nominated as one of the top 10 Managers of the Year in Bulgaria in a competition of the prestigious magazine Manager. In November 2021 Kamelia was awarded a special prize for 30 years of leadership on the Bulgarian market at the official ceremony of “Mr. and Mrs. Economy” 2021 Bulgaria awards issued by the largest employers’ organization in Bulgaria – the Confederation of Employers and Industries and business magazine Economy. In 2019, Kamelia was named Woman of the Decade in the category “Business and Society” in the competition organized by woman.bg.
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. Kamelia shared with us more about her Executive MBA studies and the impact it had on her career.
All the professors are outstanding professionals in their fields and are actively working on provoking the students by having an open dialogue and deep and challenging discussions, looking for a fresh angle and perspective. You are there to learn and expand your mindset and all the courses (doesn’t matter what your initial interest and preferences to them) offer you this opportunity.
Why EMBA at AUBG
In 2005 I was already in the middle of my professional career: having spent about 8 years in scientific studies, having worked for Shell for 13 years on different managerial positions, having already several international trainings offered by the company under my belt and feeling that the time came for me to take another step and to challenge myself. I wanted to go beyond the narrow area of expertise of Communications and Public Relations, to stretch myself and to widen my horizon in professional terms.
I didn’t have any doubt that the AUBG EMBA program would offer me the desired high-quality academic journey. I was only wondering whether I am not too late with the start of a such program. After engaging with the person who was responsible for recruiting students for the AUBG EMBA program and listening to my inner voice I was fully convinced that I should explore this opportunity. I enrolled in the program and joined EMBA Cohort 2006. It was worth every moment; I really enjoyed the time despite the fact that it caused a serious imbalance in my work-life equation.
AUBG EMBA program brings together people who have a similar mindset: they are highly motivated to be in the driving seat of their professional career, open and curious to learn new things, to grow their knowledge base and to go beyond their scope of work and industry, to explore the different building blocks forming the concept of general management. And the EMBA program provides all this: a deep dive in many areas of general management. Some were new to me, for some, I had already some knowledge and experience.
The value of the EMBA program is that it brings all these building blocks in one and you are better positioned to see the bigger picture of the business organization and how you best fit in it. It helps you get ready for any managerial issue that comes your way.
Kamelia outlines four spheres of study that made a mark in her professional life.
- Technical knowledge
All courses were key, but some did prevail – technical knowledge gained in courses like Finance, Accounting, Strategy, Marketing etc. It is important to be able to read and analyze data, foresee trends, and make decisions, among others but gaining more perspective on soft skills and ability to inspire others is essential to a good leader
- Growth mindset
Think BIG, see the bigger picture, consider all the factors which are playing a role when you take an important business decision.
- Work-life balance
If you could manage the work-life balance during the EMBA program, you could manage any type of challenge in this aspect.
- Continuous learning
In 16 months, I read a massive number of articles, case studies, books, etc., and reading business literature becomes an even bigger part of your daily routine after the program.
Shortly after I completed the EMBA program I was appointed as a Country Chair for Shell Bulgaria and Greece. This might be a coincidence in terms of timing, but that is not the case. Assuming this role I felt that I am well prepared and confident for this challenging position which I performed successfully for more than 13 years.
Piece of advice
It is worth it! Go for it! Don’t lose time and take that path! It is a valuable instrument in building up your future!
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