Alexandar Hristov (’08), Senior CRM Business Analyst at Paysafe: ‘I want to see that the job I do really makes a difference for people’
Alexandar Hristov, who studied Business Administration at AUBG, talks about his professional experience, the value that diversity brings to education and why he believes everyone must take one or two courses in IT.
Tell me a bit about your time after AUBG. What was your first job like? What has happened in your professional life since?
I had the best time at AUBG. It proved to be quite different to what I was initially expecting. While a big part of my time there was studying for exams, a whole other part was the social aspect with other students. One of the best things that you can learn about in AUBG is collaboration. A lot of projects require communication and working together with others, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
My first job took me to Mobiltel as a product manager/business analyst. I was lucky there in a way, as I was placed to work on a huge project, which really kickstarted my professional carеer. It wasn’t easy, but with time and experience it got a lot better and very enjoyable. The work was rewarding in the way that I learned a lot and it gave me some good perspectives to decide what I wanted to do and what kind of profession I wanted to pursue. After many more projects I moved around some other companies to help further streamline my career focus. Now I am at Paysafe, and I couldn’t be happier.
What are your current responsibilities as Senior CRM Business Analyst at Paysafe and what do you enjoy about your job?
The focus of my responsibilities revolves around Salesforce. This is the latest CRM platform I am tackling and by far the most flexible and customer oriented I’ve come across. My main responsibilities are onboarding new teams of colleagues onto this platform and supporting them afterwards. During the onboarding phase we go through requirements management, where I meet with the internal stakeholders and learn about what they do, ask them what they don’t like and what they would like to change in their line of work, review their current processes and potential future ones as well. All this information is gathered in documents and then together with our developer team, we discuss internally what kind of potential solution would fit their needs. When I have an idea of what we can do, I discuss it with the stakeholders, see if anything needs to be changed and then initiate the development phase. Of course, when it is time to coordinate and start testing, things may change from a requirements standpoint and we make necessary changes and re-plan. This continues until everything is according to the stakeholders’ needs and they are satisfied with the result.
I’ve been placed in many different roles over the years, some I didn’t like, but others were great. What has proved to be my strength, and is still very much part of my current role in Paysafe, is communication with other people. We discuss issues and brainstorm how we can fix them. The beauty of it is that it is not mundane. The stakeholders always find something new which can surprise you, something that requires a little more uniqueness in the solution. It’s like a puzzle that needs solving.
I like the fact that when a project is complete and you see it in the hands of the users, you witness their enjoyment of using the solution. I want to see that the job I do really makes a difference for people.
What was the impact of your AUBG education on your personal and professional development?
AUBG taught me a lot of things, but diversity is more important than people realize. In AUBG you have the unique opportunity to meet a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds and countries. When you do group projects or consult with friends about an issue, it can help to see their take on things and how they would approach a problem. At the beginning of my career I didn’t realize how valuable this would be. I took working with people from different cultures for granted.
Which classes and/or extracurricular activities at AUBG did you find most useful and why?
It might be a little strange, but some of the most important classes were the initial ones – IT, business, operations management, accounting, finance (all one hundred level). All of these will give you a very good idea of how businesses operate and what happens. They provide you with the fundamentals of the real world and what you will face each day.
My general advice is regardless of which major you pursue, it is always a good idea to take one or two basic IT courses. We live in a digital age and everyone needs to know the fundamentals of it, no matter if you are an accountant or a marketing manager. It is an interesting feeling when you are working with people and they are amazed how fast you finish something in Excel or PowerPoint, something that to you is pretty basic if you’ve completed a course.
One of the interesting tasks I was involved with was to lead a lecture in operations management. The important part here was not about studying and preparing for the lecture, but the moment when you stand in front of others, everyone’s eyes are on you and they are waiting for you to start. This is a daunting moment and it gave me a little glimpse of what being at big meetings with stakeholders would be like. At some point in your career, you will find yourself in a position where you have to take the lead and at that moment, having been through the AUBG experience, it will not be that scary.
Are you still in touch and collaborating with other AUBG alumni and in what ways?
Some of my best friends right now are from AUBG. We constantly share the unique experiences of our daily tasks and challenges when we meet. This sometimes is more valuable for me than studying, to find out how in a real situation there was a problem and how it got fixed. This is a valuable experience that will just accumulate with time and in the end, make you a better professional.