After completing her BA in Economics and Business Administration with honors, AUBG alumna from Albania Megi Hamza (‘19) went on to pursue an MSc degree in Strategic Marketing Management at the BI Norwegian Business School.
In this interview, she discusses why she decided to transition from marketing to consulting, her experience as an Albanian in Bulgaria, and the role of the AUBG alumni network after graduation.
You are currently based in Norway. What has been your experience studying at the BI Norwegian Business School and working at Disruptive Technologies and Bain & Company?
I came to Norway for my Master’s in Strategic Marketing Management at BI Norwegian Business School on a scholarship. Although I initially thought my passion was in marketing, a brief career at Disruptive Technologies made me realize I wanted to tackle bigger problems. This shift led me to join Bain & Company as a management consultant. While it’s a departure from my marketing studies, the diverse global projects I’ve been involved in have been a great learning experience, and I am surrounded by people I love working with. In the times that I am not on a project elsewhere in the world, I’ve chosen to stay in Norway. The decision is less about aligning with my initial choice to move here and more about having found a place that supports my personal and professional growth.
In what ways did the AUBG experience shape you?
My time at AUBG was incredible and had a profound impact on me both personally and professionally. The liberal arts nature of the program exposed me to interesting topics outside of my degree, and not only improved my writing skills but, more importantly, taught me how to think critically. One of the highlights for me was being part of the More Honors club. It made my experience extra fun, and I still have friends from there who are my closest buddies. The friendships I formed in the club (and outside) have been a source of support and joy. AUBG wasn’t just a place to study; it was a community that shaped who I am today.
How did AUBG prepare you academically for your career path?
AUBG really set me up well for my role as a management consultant at Bain. The dual-degree program and challenging academic environment at AUBG gave me a strong foundation in both analytical skills and the softer side of business. At Bain, I work on business problems and in a team setting, often helping C-suite executives with the most pressing challenges on their agenda.
AUBG’s focus on critical thinking and analytics has been crucial to set me up for success. AUBG taught me how to analyze data effectively and communicate complex ideas clearly. This balance has been key in my role, where I’m always dealing with intricate problems and ensuring that my analysis is well-translated into business insights and shows results. The emphasis on collaborative projects, group assignments, and extracurricular activities also taught me how to work seamlessly with diverse teams. This has been instrumental in my current role, where teamwork is the most important part of the job.
What role does the AUBG alumni network play in your life now that you are a graduate?
The AUBG alumni network continues to play a significant role in my life even after graduation. Beyond being a valuable source of global friendships, the network has become a professional asset and a unique bonding experience. I have friends from all corners of the world thanks to AUBG, and wherever my travels take me, there’s always someone to catch up with.
Professionally, the AUBG connection holds a special place. Being an AUBG alum has proven to be a universal bonding experience. It’s not just a shared alma mater; it’s a connection that opens doors and facilitates meaningful connections wherever I go.
As an Albanian, what was your experience studying in Bulgaria and living in Blagoevgrad?
AUBG felt like a second home, thanks to the vibrant Albanian community on campus. Despite the comfort, I made a conscious effort to connect with students from various backgrounds. Living in Blagoevgrad felt like being in a supportive student bubble, and Bulgaria, as a whole, was welcoming. The diverse experiences, combined with delicious food, made being a student in Bulgaria pretty great.
What advice would you give to a current AUBG student?
My advice to current AUBG students would be to embrace every aspect of this unique experience. Branch out of your in-group and connect with the diverse community around you; the friendships you build can last a lifetime. Don’t hesitate to explore different paths with your studies and discover where your true passion lies. Take those jazz classes and history classes seriously and truly enjoy learning and branching out from your degree. Get involved in clubs or activities that interest you—these can shape your journey and create lasting memories.
Remember that the connections you build at AUBG extend far beyond graduation. The alumni network is a powerful resource both personally and professionally, long after you leave. Your time at AUBG is a chapter in your life that you’ll carry with you, so make it as diverse and fulfilling as possible.