Thaprachikoff Scholar Dobromir Dragotinov (’19): ‘The Tchaprachikoff Scholarship has made it possible for me to pursue my dreams’
Dobromir Dragotinov (’19), who studied Business Administration and Economics at AUBG, is among this year’s winners of the Tchaprachikoff scholarship. Just like Anna Dimitrova, he was admitted to one of the world’s top graduate programs in finance at the Simon Business School - University of Rochester. Dragotinov shares his experience applying for and winning the Tchaprachikoff scholarship, why he wants to study finance and why he thinks “the American University in Bulgaria is the best thing that has ever happened to [him].”
What sparked your interest in the field of finance?
Ever since the first week of classes, I was impressed by the principles of economics and decided to pursue a degree in that field. As I devoted more and more time to it, I discovered the complex and thrilling world of Finance. As the difficulty of the coursework was increasing, so did my curiosity for the field. Moreover, the AUBG professors in Finance and Economics pointed me towards the topics that were interesting to me. In the end, the combination of my hard work and their excellent teaching made me a person who could pursue higher education at any university in the world.
Why did you decide to pursue a degree at the Simon Business School?
After graduating from the American University in Bulgaria, I wanted to specialize even more in Finance. I learned a lot at AUBG, but a Master’s degree from a top-notch university in the USA would make me even more competitive on the job market. After researching all the possible options, I have concluded that the Simon Business School is the right choice for me due to both its status as one of the best Universities for Finance and its rigorous academic program. Moreover, Simon’s Master of Finance program is focusing a lot on building mathematical and programming knowledge I lack at the moment but is in demand on the job market. The substantial financial aid received from the university also played a role in my decision to join Simon. Last but not least, The University of Rochester is a multi-cultural place with students coming from all over the world and has an influential alumni network that could be of use when entering the labor force.
What role did the Thaprachikoff 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?
If I have to be honest, before coming to the American University in Bulgaria, I have never thought I will be studying in the U.S. at any point in my life. The Tchaprachikoff Scholarship has made it possible for me to pursue my dreams and to think big. It made me confident that I can achieve great things and completely changed my goals and aspirations. Not only did it motivate me to pursue a master’s degree in such a reputable institution, but it inspired me to compete with the best minds of the world after graduation. It would be impossible for me to afford to attend the University of Rochester without the Tchaprachikoff scholarship, and I will be forever grateful for the chance given to me.
My advice to the Bulgarian AUBGers is to be always confident in themselves. Yes, applying to the top American universities sounds surreal, but I believe AUBG prepares us in the best way possible for our postgraduate degrees. The key to success in obtaining the scholarship is preparation. One has to be aware of what his interests are and which program is suitable for his goals. Preparing for the GMAT/GRE is also extremely important as it is a detrimental part of the admission process and financial aid selection. There are a lot of requirements and paperwork to be done, but in the end, it is all worth it since a graduate degree from a world-known institution could be life-changing.
Tell me a bit about your time at AUBG. In what ways has your AUBG education shaped you personally and professionally?
The American University in Bulgaria is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Coming from a relatively underdeveloped region, AUBG opened the door for a whole new world for me. It completely changed my habits, my work ethic, and the way I think. It made me a lot better version of myself. I met smart and ambitious people who made my stay at AUBG amazing. I believe one of the main strengths of the university is that there are so many people you can learn from and be inspired by. In terms of academics, there were many valuable courses in AUBG. The liberal arts system has “forced” me to [explore] not only business or economics courses but courses I never really thought I would be taking when I was applying to AUBG. Moreover, I believe the Business Administration major is well-designed as you both learn how businesses function in general but can also specialize in a particular field that is of interest to you. Double majoring is another great opportunity presented to the students at AUBG as you can gain different sets of skills, which in combination can set the foundations for a great career.
Which classes and/or extracurricular activities had the most impact on you and why?
While I enjoyed every single course in AUBG, the ones that impacted me the most were Company Valuation and Value Creation with Prof. Termos and Risk Management with Prof. Gurov. These courses pointed me towards what excites me and gave me an idea of what kind of career I want to pursue. Due to how demanding the professors were, I was supposed to dig deeper to excel in the courses, which led me to explore the immense opportunities in the fields of Valuation and Risk.
What are your career aspirations and plans for the future?
Ever since becoming interested in Valuation, I have decided that it should be one of my main responsibilities at the workplace. Therefore, I ended up picking Investment Banking as a post-graduation target career. The application and interview processes are extremely rigorous and highly competitive, but I am confident that AUBG has prepared me well for the challenges ahead of me. If I succeed in establishing myself as a successful investment banker, I plan to transfer to the world of direct investments and manage a Private Equity Fund. I am confident that the determination and work ethic, developed while in AUBG, will lead me to fulfill my dreams.