Interview of Momtchil Karpouzanov Ph.D, Academic Director of Graduate Program American University in Bulgaria

Interview of Momtchil Karpouzanov Ph.D, Academic Director of Graduate Program American University in Bulgaria

  1. What it offers to the new business managers the Executive MBA?

The Executive MBA at the American University in Bulgaria is a general-purpose postgraduate program in business management. It is designed to answer the needs and expectations of experienced managers updating and upgrading their competencies in various fields, thus preparing them for the challenges of executive-level management, and often entrepreneurship. It allows our students to “see the big picture” combining expertise at the operational level with strategic thinking and leadership.

Business managers who enroll in the program will not only refresh their knowledge in the main business disciplines but also challenge their ideas and understanding of business processes. By mixing talented and competent students with various backgrounds coming from different industries, all participants to our EMBA program have to step out of their “comfort zone” and reassess their decision-making processes.

To rephrase our current EMBA student from Albania, Ardiola Alikaj, senior project manager at Partners Albania for Change and Development, the program offers amazing network opportunities and outstanding professors.

If I can allow myself to quote one of our latest alumni, Dessislava Tabakova, site operations manager of Milestone Systems in Sofia: “The EMBA program is not the kind of course you do for a day and on the next you turn the page. It is an adventure that changes your life and way of thinking”

2. Information technology is determining the future of doing business, what do you offer to upskill the level of your students in this direction?

The ongoing digital transformation of businesses is accompanied by an increasing, perhaps overwhelming presence of information technologies assisting decision-making. The proper use of these tools is indeed paramount to the success of any venture. However, while in the early years of the EMBA program, a dedicated course was offered to improve the technical skills of the enrolled students, we have realized that with the younger generation of managers and students the focus must be put on the “meaningful use” of such tools rather than tools themselves as the program is not a technical, but an executive one. Therefore, we adjusted the program structure accordingly as the information technology proficiency is transdisciplinary.       

3. Which are the criteria to be part of this program?

Successful applicants must have a background and a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. More importantly, they must have significant industry experience (in quality, not only quantity) in order to contribute to the program with their specific knowledge and expertise, success stories or lessons learned from failures.

The EMBA program has participants from various industries ranging from the banking sector and financial services to the pharmaceutical industry, the IT or the energy sector. In recent years, the interest from the health industry has been growing strong along with NGO professionals and entrepreneurs.

The application and selection process takes a couple of months, and each applicant receives individual attention and assistance throughout the process

4. You are an American University, is recognized your degree in America?

The Executive MBA diploma of the American University in Bulgaria is recognized both in the USA through our accreditation with the New England Commission of Higher Education and in Bulgaria, and the European Union, through the accreditation by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education & Science.

One of the requirements for the Bulgarian accreditation is for successful students to pass the State Exams in few fundamental disciplines or prepare and defend viva voce a Master Project in Social Entrepreneurship under the supervision of their professor. This project invites students to reconsider the social, environmental, and cultural impacts of business project, account for the externalities of industrial activities, imagine ways to alleviate the negative spillover effects or mobilize and strengthen the positive ones. This requires students to “think outside the box”, invent appropriate methods for non-financial accounting and manage successful business ideas in a sustainable manner.

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