Tchaprachikoff Scholar Lilia Chobanova (‘16): AUBG Invests in Your Success Even after Graduation

AUBG alumna Lilia Chobanova (’16) became one of the most recent Tchaprachikoff scholarship recipients. Chobanova, who graduated with a double major in Economics and Business Administration, has been admitted to Babson College’s Master of Science in Finance program.

The talented alumna has been interested in economics and finance since the beginning of her studies at AUBG. “My decision to pursue a higher degree was nothing but a natural consequence of all my undergraduate activities. AUBG classes are great in a way that they allow students to get exposure to practical, project-based work, and at the same time also cover important theoretical grounds, thus allowing students to build a comprehensive understanding of the subject at hand,” she said.

Chobanova chose to continue her studies at Babson’s master’s program because of its innovative and practical approach to education and rigorous quantitative curriculum. She stressed on the fact that she will take classes at Babson together with MBA students. In her words, this brings diversity into the classroom and helps building an important network and learning from everybody’s individual experience. “In this way, Babson is actually very similar to AUBG, providing a stimulating environment, where one can accumulate academic, professional and cultural knowledge simultaneously,” she explained the likeness of the two schools.

It was also through the recommendations of AUBG peers that Chobanova decided upon Babson. “I knew about the university from my AUBG friends who had attended the SEP program, and also from one of my supervisors who attended executive classes there for career specialization. The first-hand insight into Babson’s program and dynamic environment, provided by AUBG students, thus proved crucial for my decision to enroll.”

However, the talented alumna’s dream to pursue a higher academic degree would have hardly been possible without the support of AUBG and the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship Fund. “With the scholarship award, AUBG helps me climb the steps I once considered unachievable, and it is an incredible feeling,” Chobanova shared. In her words, this type of support is extremely valuable for developing Bulgarian talents and demonstrates AUBG’s involvement in the personal and professional success of its students even after graduation.

Chobanova’s outstanding profile was among the things that made possible for her to receive the scholarship. Besides sound motivation, she possesses high career aspirations and was very active during her time at AUBG.

The awardee’s professional life quickly blossomed upon graduation, when she joined as an intern Expat Capital – the company that constructed and launched the first Bulgarian exchange-traded fund. “My time spent under the guidance of the former Bulgarian minister of the economy and other industry professionals made clear how important the technical knowledge stemming from a master’s degree is for success in the industry.”

She later became a financial analyst at IBM, where she learned about the importance of complementing technical knowledge with practical business know-how and communication skills. This was yet another area where her AUBG experience came in handy. “Working at a multinational corporation such as IBM necessitates strong business acumen, as well as the ability to get your point across to people of different cultures and professional backgrounds on a daily basis. This is where I find how beneficial the time spent in AUBG has been for me.

Probably one of the most important footprints of the liberal arts education is in how it teaches you to see interdependencies between subjects and phenomena in today’s complex and rapidly changing corporate reality. The diversity of the student body, on the other hand, helps you develop cultural literacy and communication skills that are essential drivers of professional growth.” Chobanova elaborated.

As an AUBG student, she was very active and took a variety of opportunities, which brought her a lot of successes. “AUBG education helped me succeed even while still in university,” Chobanova said. Following an exchange program she did at Beloit College, she secured a summer internship in retail banking at a local bank in Massachusetts. Returning for a second internship the following summer, she was shortly promoted to mortgage underwriter and processor.

Thus, she had the opportunity to delve into the dynamics of the U.S. mortgage market and its regulatory framework. “Securing this international experience while still in university was incredible. AUBG education fostered in me the mindset and motivation to follow my academic and professional aspirations, and it also opened up the opportunity to pursue them,” the former student explained.

In the spring of 2016 she was selected to present her research related to the European Sovereign Debt Crisis at Georgetown University in Washington DC, as part of the annual Carroll Rounds Conference for International Economics. The event gathered 30 students from Yale, Warwick, Duke, and other prestigious schools from around the world. “We had a chance to speak to world-known Nobel laureates, whose theories we actually learnt in the classrooms in Blagoevgrad,” said Chobanova, who worked closely with AUBG Professor Jeffrey Nilsen on her stellar two-semester thesis project. In her words, the remarkable experience and the year-long research process “triggered in me curiosity and desire for more specialized knowledge in finance.”

Chobanova sends a strong message to future AUBG generations. “To prospective students, I have to say that the AUBG experience can really be transformational for your career path and life after graduation. The opportunities for development that students can take advantage of are countless, and the dynamic environment of learning is a great cultivator of communication and leadership skills. Furthermore, the university’s support of its students is life-long, through the valuable alumni network that one becomes part of, and also through generous awards such as the Tchaprachikoff scholarship. All of this makes AUBG not simply a higher education institution, but a community that is invested in your success and development even after graduation.”

Story by Despina Koleva-Hristova

Photos courtesy of Lilia Chobanova

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