A couple of years ago, Bozhidar Draganov found himself in a quandary: after applying to graduate MBA programs in the U.S., he received an acceptance and full scholarship thanks to his innovative entrepreneurial ventures—but those same ventures prevented him from obtaining the visa necessary to stay and attend school.
But the Bulgarian native would not be deterred so easily. Bozhidar had already left behind a promising solar contracting business in order to pursue higher education, and instead of giving up, he enrolled in the prestigious EMLYON Business School in Europe, where he graduated in the class of 2015. There, Bozhidar continued to pursue his interest in solar energy and learned how to better leverage his platform to make the connections necessary to succeed in a high-growth industry.
“The experience at EMLYON was absolutely vital to my ability to go around the world and just plug in,” said Bozhidar.
Especially vital was EMLYON’s Career Advisor Platform, which allowed Bozhidar to connect with mentors and participate in mock interviews. Bozhidar was aware of just how key such experience could be. A couple of years earlier, Bozhidar had received an invitation from the U.S. Commercial Service to attend a special trade commission from Bulgaria to the United States, meeting with business heads in investment banking, the Department of Commerce, and more.
"...the first step of learning something is to become aware of the extent that you are ignorant."
There, Bozhidar says, he first realized just how much he had left to learn. “That’s where I understood that the first step of learning something is to become aware of the extent that you are ignorant,” said Bozhidar. “That was precisely that moment for me.”
The Career Advisor Platform allowed Bozhidar to not only practice networking, but to help him develop his structure of thinking. Through the opportunities that the platform provided, Bozhidar was able to learn the right kinds of questions to ask, and how to approach everyday business problems in innovative ways. The feedback was especially valuable: Bozhidar explains that learning from his mistakes helped him sharpen his thinking in the day-to-day challenges of his industry.
For Bozhidar, the benefits of The Career Advisor Platform continue to extend the value of his education by offering him tools that will help him accomplish another lifelong dream: opening a school for disadvantaged populations in Bulgaria and offering free prep courses to help others gain access to vital education opportunities. Bozhidar himself is a member of a disadvantaged community in Bulgaria, and emphasizes that he hopes to leverage the capital he makes in solar energy in order to give back to his community.
For that, The Career Advisor Platform has been invaluable. “This really changed me,” Bozhidar said. “It was the most valuable experience that I could do.”
Bozhidar is now leading the execution of a strategic solar PV power plant in the Middle East for Phoenix Solar, a German EPC contractor.
About the Career Advisor Platform
Bozhidar is just one of many students engaging with Firsthand's global advisor network. The Career Advisor Platform connects students and professional experts for one-on-one career advice, mock interviews, and resume critiques.