Ailita Liteva (EMBA ‘11), Marketing Director at TESY: ‘The EMBA took my competence and experience to the next level’
In an interview for AUBG Today, successful marketing professional Ailita Liteva shares her experience with the AUBG EMBA Program and the way it has enhanced both her personal and professional life.
How did your career start? How has it progressed since?
It started in the banking sector as my bachelor’s degree is in International Finance and Trade. However, during my first year at university, I really enjoyed my Marketing course and after a few months in the bank I realized that marketing is the passion I would like to pursue. One fine day I saw a job posting that Toyota was looking for a marketing assistant and I applied. It was 2005. I spent 11 years in Toyota. I did my EMBA while I was Brand Manager at Toyota and completing it actually aided my promotion at the company that same year, because my employer saw how the added EMBA knowledge has increased my value to the company. My EMBA also helped me get noticed and I started receiving impressive job offers like the one I accepted by BMW to become a Sales Director.
Thanks to my EMBA, today I am responsible for a global team of marketing managers & specialists and a global marketing strategy in 55 countries on 4 continents. The mixture of the people in the team is quite diverse, they are from various ethnicities, walks of lives and have different personalities. The EMBA also provides you a solid foundation on how to manage such multicultural diversity.
Why did you decide to enroll at the AUBG EMBA Program?
I chose the AUBG EMBA because the courses and programs were scheduled to enable participants to continue their business careers and everyday responsibilities without interruptions. The EMBA is the right push to boost your career.
The EMBA took my competence and experience to the next level. The curriculum was tailored to the demands executives and small business owners face every day. Most executives already have an impressive salary and benefits package, and are near the top of their professional advancement. However, I was only 27 and back then the EMBA really started to enhance my managerial career, personally and professionally, to become as impressive as it is today. Obtaining an executive MBA gives a lower-level manager the opportunity to progress into an executive position.
What did you find most valuable about the program? What was most challenging?
The most rewarding experience was my acquaintance with talented and inspiring managers, entrepreneurs and leaders. We learnt from each other, we learnt from the best. Sharing the skills acquired and built on previous experience, we developed the knowledge, skills and analytical tools to position ourselves at higher levels of responsibilities.
The main challenge, of course, was work-study-life balance. Teamwork could also be a tricky skill to develop. In an EMBA program, you will need to work on individual assignments as well as group projects. Group dynamics reflect strongly on the success of a project. However, you cannot act like the boss anymore. You have to be a good peer, to be a team player and to contribute and to collaborate; to be open to other ideas, to multicultural awareness, to different perspectives.
Beyond the academics, what role does the program play in building friendships and professional connections? Are you still in touch and collaborating with other AUBG alumni, and in what ways?
I will answer in a very short and simple way. I became the godmother of the baby of the girl who sat next to me at the EMBA. We met during the program. Imagine how close are the relationships that the program builds and establishes for life.
I am still in touch with almost everyone from the cohort, celebrating birthdays, weddings, christenings, Christmas. We travel together on holidays.
What were some of your favorite classes at the program, and why?
Strategy. There is a strong analytical focus in the EMBA program, because many people enter into this program without understanding the extent to which numbers, mathematics and statistics will be heavily involved. However, I really enjoyed the strategic focus, as the other one was very well covered in my bachelor’s degree.
I really enjoyed the course because of the deep grounding in the basic logic of competitive advantage, premised on a careful analytical treatment of the distinct qualities and positions of individual businesses and an understanding of broader competitive dynamics. The course gives you the competencies to build guiding strategies for both established and emerging enterprises.
What would you advise a person who is considering to enroll in the program?
Before you enroll, follow the university on all digital platforms /e.g. social media, YouTube, Blog/ to get a feel for student life and activities that happen on-campus. Socialize and network with alumni. Visit a real EMBA session. Talk with people who are currently taking their EMBA degree. All of these will help you become comfortable in your decision to pursue the EMBA degree.
If you want to enter the business world and succeed in it, enroll to create a bright future for yourself.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
The EMBA journey can be difficult and the workload can sometimes be heavy. Your class schedule will be so busy that there will hardly be enough time for everything you want to do. In order to cope, you should develop good time management and organizational skills to get some free time. However, you can always complete an assignment or have a zoom group call while being on the beach. We are living in a new WFH era that made us be so flexible in finding the right work-life balance. This COVID WFH period is the most appropriate for a career advancement and taking an EMBA. Imagine EMBA without commute stress and location dependence. You can customize your life according to your priorities.