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Tchaprachikoff Scholar Panayot Ivanov (‘13): “The AUBG Education Has Never Stopped Paying Dividends to Me Ever Since I Graduated”

AUBG alumnus and current MBA candidate at Kellogg School of
Management is one of this year’s Tchaprachikoff scholarship awardees. The unique scholarship named after the famous and successful Bulgarian-American Anna Tchaprachikoff supports Bulgarian AUBG graduates who are admitted to a graduate program in any one of the top 20 national universities in the U.S. or to any one of the top 20 U.S. schools in the respective fields.

Ivanov, who has a strong background in business analysis, kindly agreed to answer a few questions about his professional career, AUBG experience and goals for the future.

Please tell us about your professional career so far.

Probably the most interesting thing – from a professional standpoint – about me is how my beliefs and understanding have evolved dramatically in recent years, which can also be more or less inferred by the career decisions I have made. More specifically, earlier I believed that a good idea is all you need to succeed. Experience, however, taught me that unless you execute properly, the value of your idea would be close to zero.

How has your AUBG education and experience helped you succeed in life after the university?

The AUBG education has never stopped paying dividends to me ever since I graduated. Not only has AUBG helped by unlocking many doors, but it also has formed a distinct and critical mindset in me that I believe is the key driver behind my professional success so far.

What prompted you to pursue a higher degree and why did you choose this particular area?

The more I progressed in my career, the more I started to feel the need for an upper-level education. I started to realize that the skills you need to reach top-level positions are quite different than the ones you need to kick start your career. That definitely prompted me to pursue a higher degree.

What really made me choose MBA, in particular, is that that program can build upon my previous experience, propelling me along my career path.

How did you choose this particular school?

The MBA program of Kellogg, the business school of Northwestern University, has been a perfect fit for me given my background and it also aligned perfectly with my goals going forward. As one of the top MBA programs in the world, I hope it will give me the right mix of knowledge, career opportunities and diverse network that I need to be successful in the future.

How did you find out about the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship and how did you decide to apply?

I heard about the Tchaprashikoff Scholarship in my first year as a student in AUBG (it I am not mistaken, it was first announced a couple of months before the start of my journey). So, I have known about it for a while. However, I realized that I would not be able to make it without that crucial support, once I started to narrow down the programs that best suited my goals.

Can you describe the impact that receiving the scholarship will have on your life and career?

I am not sure words can depict the colossal impact the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship will have on my life. Had it not been for the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship, the unparalleled opportunity to study in one of the top MBA programs in the world would have remained just a distant mirage for me.

What kind of message would you like to send to other alumni who would like to use this scholarship opportunity in the future? And what would you like to tell prospective AUBG students?

In my opinion, education is an asset that never depreciates and which value you get to enjoy over your lifetime. The benefits that the right graduate program can have on your professional development are huge, especially when you have the opportunity to pursue your upper-level education at one of the top universities in the world. So, I can only recommend to all fellow alumni, who are contemplating whether to enroll in a top graduate program or who are still unsure whether such step “is worth it,” to really consider what advice their 20-years-older self would give them now.

As for my message to prospective AUBG students, I strongly believe that the real value of high-quality education, i.e. one that not only provides you with knowledge and skills but also gives you the right mindset to tackle the ever-more complex problems we are facing, will only rise in the future. So, make the right decision today!

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