Kristo Prifti (‘15): ‘Maintain a Balance between Academic and Social Life at AUBG’

January 25, 2024 Dimana Doneva
Kristo Prifti (‘15): ‘Maintain a Balance between Academic and Social Life at AUBG’

AUBG alumnus Kristo Prifti (’15) from Albania embarked on his post-graduate journey after completing majors in Computer Science and Information Systems. His career as a software engineer has been marked by continuous growth, from a software consultant to his current role as lead of mobile development. 

Career Trajectory 

Beginning as a software consultant in a company specializing in ERP/CRM solutions, Kristo found the new role exhilarating in the initial six months. This period not only contributed to his professional growth but also played a significant role in shaping his social connections. 

“It was a learning marathon not only in my career but also in my social life,” he said. “My first colleagues had a huge impact on my process of learning Bulgarian.” 

However, he realized that this specific type of software was not aligned with his passion and decided to explore opportunities in mobile development. The decision came as a result of his participation in the Startup Blagoevgrad contest during his university years, where his team claimed the top spot. 

The AUBGers developed a mobile application enabling users to stream music simultaneously on different mobile devices. “That project and the whole process of creating it was one of the main reasons behind my decision to focus on the mobile development industry,” Kristo said. 

In the next few years, Kristo joined several startups, “trying to explore new areas of Mobile Development and honing my skills in various programming languages and platforms, taking on roles that allowed me to contribute significantly to different projects. This diverse experience equipped me with a holistic understanding of the mobile development landscape.” 

Following this period of exploration and development, Kristo assumed the role of Mobile Development Lead at Quantive.

“I am responsible for leading a talented team of young and passionate professionals and ensuring the seamless execution of mobile and web solutions,” he said. “The fast-paced environment at Quantive challenges me to stay at the forefront of technological advancements, allowing me to apply cutting-edge practices in mobile development. This role not only leverages my technical expertise but also demands strategic thinking and effective leadership, making every day both challenging and rewarding.” 

The Impact of AUBG 

AUBG played a crucial role in both his personal and professional development. 

“On a personal level, AUBG’s multicultural environment helped me become more open-minded as well as adapt to and be part of different cultures,” he said. “Engaging with a diverse community enriched my cultural sensitivity. My desire to travel and visit university friends in their home countries kept growing. All my traveling and adventures are somehow connected to AUBG and its interconnected community.”

The university also helps you develop as a well-rounded professional, he said. 

“Professionally, AUBG instilled a commitment to excellence and a strong work ethic,” the alumnus said. “The collaborative projects and extracurricular activities shaped my teamwork and leadership abilities, preparing me for the challenges of the professional arena. The university’s network and alumni connections have also played a vital role in opening doors to opportunities, facilitating my career growth.” 

To get the most out of AUBG, one has to focus on both academic work and extracurricular activities, Kristo said. 

“The best way to stay an active member of the AUBG community and contribute to it is to be part of the student clubs and balance your AUBG experience in different aspects such as sports, technology, art and music, and entrepreneurship,” he said.

During his university years, Kristo was part of several student clubs, including AUBG Olympics, the Student Government, the Computer Science Student Union, and AUBG Daily. He also took part in different events, including TEDxAUBG, Startup Blagoevgrad, and More Honors.  

“Each of these clubs and events taught me something different,” he said. “In my opinion, it is very important to maintain a strong balance between academic and social life at AUBG. While it is crucial to pay attention to your classes and academic interests, it is equally important to attend those student night-outs and be part of the amazing AUBG community.”

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The Alumni Network 

Even after graduation, AUBG remains an important part of an alum’s life, Kristo said. 

“The AUBG alumni network continues to be a valuable asset in my post-graduate life,” he said. “It serves as a dynamic community where I can connect with fellow graduates and recall shared experiences. This network provides an avenue for professional networking, offering insights into various industries and potential career opportunities. I absolutely love the initiative of the AUBG Alumni Association (AAA) to organize monthly events and discuss different topics that concern both current students and AUBG alumni. Additionally, participating in such events keeps me connected with the institution’s ongoing developments and achievements.” 

“The AUBG alumni network serves as a source of inspiration and mentorship,” Kristo said.

“Engaging with accomplished alumni allows me to gain valuable advice, insights, and guidance as I navigate my own career path. The shared educational background creates a strong bond and mutual understanding.” 

The International Experience

Kristo said his experience as an international student at AUBG helped him expand his point of view. 

“Studying in Blagoevgrad as an Albanian was a culturally enriching experience,” he said.

“The multicultural environment at AUBG provided a unique opportunity to interact with students from diverse backgrounds. This exposure not only broadened my perspective but also formed many lasting friendships. Living in Blagoevgrad allowed me to immerse myself in a new culture, learning about Bulgarian traditions. Living in a student town made the atmosphere more welcoming and the transition smoother, and I appreciated the sense of community both on and off campus. Bulgarian and Albanian traditions also share similarities since they are both Balkan countries and this also helped me adapt to my student life in Blagoevgrad.” 

The multicultural experience at AUBG also fosters the cultivation of democratic values and civic engagement, Kristo said.

“AUBG emphasized the importance of critical thinking, open dialogue, and freedom of speech,” he said. “Engaging with students from various cultural and political backgrounds allowed me to witness firsthand the diversity of opinions and approaches to governance. This exposure encouraged me to approach democracy as an evolving concept that requires constant reflection and adaptation. 

Furthermore, studying in a region with a complex political history, such as the Balkans, and engaging with students from different Balkan cultures provided a unique context for exploring the challenges faced by emerging democracies.” 

Life in Sofia 

Life in Sofia offers opportunities to enjoy both urban life and historical legacy, Kristo said. 

“Transitioning to working and living in Sofia has been a natural progression,” he said. “Sofia’s vibrant and dynamic atmosphere offers a professional landscape with numerous opportunities. The city’s blend of history and modernity stimulates both work and leisure. Living in Sofia has allowed me to explore Bulgaria’s cultural richness further while engaging in a thriving professional community. Keeping in touch with the AUBG community in Sofia also helps go back to our student vibes every now and then.” 

Piece of Advice

If he could give advice to his younger self, Kristo said he would say the following: 

“Embrace diversity and take full advantage of the multicultural environment at AUBG.

Balance academics and extracurriculars. While academics are crucial, don’t underestimate the value of extracurricular activities. Join clubs, participate in events, and take on leadership roles. 

Invest time in building relationships with your fellow students, professors, and alumni.

Seek internships and work opportunities while at AUBG. 

Take risks and step out of your comfort zone.”