Tchaprachikoff Scholar Anna Dimitrova (’19): AUBG ‘helped me shape myself as a critical and ethical thinker’
Every year, the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship Fund at AUBG supports Bulgarian graduates with scholarships to pursue a Master’s degree at a top U.S. school. One such alumna is Anna Dimitrova (‘19), Business Administration and Journalism and Mass Communication major at AUBG, who will study at the prestigious Simon Business School - University of Rochester. We talked to her to hear more about what helped her win the scholarship, her experience at AUBG and why she decided to pursue a career in finance.
What sparked your interest in the field of finance?
Actually, in high school, I was never curious about economics and when I came to AUBG, I had a very clear idea that I wanted to be a journalist or a PR agent. I knew that I was going to major in Journalism and Mass Communication, that was for sure. But then, when I took some GenEds, I remember I took microeconomics and macroeconomics, I realized that I actually am very interested in that. And this is when I developed that strong curiosity towards economics and the financial world in general. I decided that my second major is going to be in Business Administration because I found it very useful and the courses seemed very practical. Then I knew that I am going to do a concentration in finance, I remember the course in Corporate Finance that I took with professor Gurov.
I definitely think that my Journalism and Mass Communication degree really helped me shape myself as a critical thinker and an ethical thinker so I am very grateful that I was able to do a double major and I think my degree in JMC was just as significant as my other degree. I feel that it helped me develop a well-rounded mindset and eventually help me become a good communicator.
Why did you decide to continue your education at the Simon Business School?
Actually, Simon is very similar to AUBG in terms of atmosphere. Simon, which is the business school of the University of Rochester, is a very tight-knit community. The number of people going into finance every year is not too many, it is less than 200. It is very diverse; there are many people from India, from China, that I actually became friends with during the last couple of weeks. It is also one of the most high-strength programs in finance and Financial Times’s report that came a month ago ranked Simon Business School under number three for a Pre-Experience Master in Finance program. Initially, before you actually make your life decision to go to the school, there are a couple of meetings that they do online. You get to meet some of the faculty and the people that are in the career center, which will be very instrumental in your development later on. Everything clicked and I really enjoyed talking to them and I was very happy with my decision and am very happy that they actually accepted me.
What role did the Tchaprachikoff Scholarship play in your decision to apply for a master’s in the U.S.? What advice would you give to other AUBGers from Bulgaria on successfully applying for the scholarship?
The Tchaprachikoff scholarship was one of the things that made me realize that I could actually go to the States and pursue a Master’s degree, which was one of my dreams. It was instrumental. Without this financial support, I honestly don’t think I would do this master’s so early on in my professional development.
I would advise other students who would like to apply for the Tchaprachikoff scholarship to plan ahead. I know that we have this busy schedule at AUBG, at least I did because I was always doing something, I always had an internship and was working for the Writing Center. Also, I would advise the students to view their career as an ongoing concern, as a business they are trying to develop, and really go for it strategically. As professor Pantelides told us, map out a strategic plan of everything and try to follow it, and when time passes, make some adjustments because things change. I would advise students to make a strategic plan for their master’s and also to share their passion and how motivated they are to work in the field they are applying for.
Tell me a bit more about your time at AUBG. In what ways has your AUBG education shaped you personally and professionally? Which classes and/or extracurricular activities had the most impact on you and why?
Before coming to AUBG, I wasn’t as confident in my abilities. My four years at the university shaped me and I feel that I grew so much. I met so many people, we have a group of around ten people that are some of my closest friends now. I think that AUBG also played a huge role in my development as a professional and honed my discipline and how I view life in general. I became stronger in pursuing my aspirations and really believed in myself. Especially when I saw the feedback form professors – that these really smart people have this positive feedback to give, I definitely developed a self-esteem.
As for the extracurricular activities, I joined the economics club and was very active during the first year. I also was a marketing manager at the Writing Center, I also did my internship at the AUBG Conferences and Events Office. All of these things were positive experiences because they helped me be more conscious of my time and taught me how to plan and I think this will be very important for my future. Among some of my favorite people at AUBG is professor Lynnette Leonard, I really enjoyed each course I took with her, especially Media Law and Ethics. I feel like it really sparked my interest in philosophy and taught me to be conscious of how I am expressing myself to other people and how I put my thoughts to paper and become an ethical and critical thinker. She also gave a course called Interviewing that really pushed us to plan our careers, explore job opportunities early on and develop answers to questions that employers would give. So this was very helpful.
What are your career aspirations and plans for the future?
I definitely have a dream destination of where I want my career to go and it is venture capital. I really love to be around passionate, young individuals that are shaping the industries that they are in. I feel like I get great energy out of that. I what to be around those type of people and help them develop their businesses. But of course, early on when you don’t have that much experience, you cannot go straight into venture capital. So first, I want to explore corporate banking, become a financial analyst for the first couple of years to get some experience, then I would like to go deeper, maybe into investment banking. I know it is very competitive there but I will try hard and do my best. But yeah, I definitely know I want to be around entrepreneurs, that’s for sure.