Meet INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2017

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Ivo Vassilev 

INSEAD

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Humble, but confident; responsible/organised, but fun; finance oriented, but loves arts; realistic but spiritual.

Hometown: Sofia, Bulgaria

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have recorded three songs and am also a play actor. I sometimes write poetry.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Bath (UK), Accounting and Finance

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Morgan Stanley for 1 year in London; PwC for 4 years in Dubai.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Following my undergrad, I moved to Dubai to work as an auditor and that was a huge cultural shock to me because the work culture was completely different to what I had previously experienced. On top of everything, I was alone in a new country and I had to quickly adapt to the long working hours. Add to that the fact that I had to study for my accounting qualification while I was working. I consider my biggest accomplishment the fact that I never gave up and continued to work hard both academically and in terms of my job, ultimately getting promoted year on year, while also obtaining two Middle East awards for highest scores in my accounting qualification exams.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? I prepared for the GMAT alone so my advice is to spend enough time practicing. GMAT is all about practice; the more you do it, the better you become. Most importantly, make sure to purchase at least 5-10 computer-adapted exams and practice as if you are taking the exam in real terms. The application is fairly simple, but the essays might seem overwhelming, so I suggest you do not rush them and instead take your time. Do not try to predict what they expect from you. Just be yourself and tell your story. The same goes for your interviews. The alumni who interviewed me were very nice and basically wanted to check whether I would be a good fit for the school. Ask people who know you well to give you the recommendations. It does not matter how senior they are, as opposed to how well they know you and whether they can share valuable information about you.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? To name a few reasons: 1) All schools say they are international, but INSEAD is by far the most international school I have heard about. With campuses in 3 countries and exchange programs elsewhere, the opportunities are limitless. 2) In terms of academics, the school provides very interesting core and elective courses, while the professors I have met so far are also engaging and renowned. 3) Students are away from the job market for just a year, which reduces the opportunity cost greatly and saves a lot of money as compared to a 2 year long program. 4) I have been here for only a month, but I have been so busy networking that it seems like a lot longer. I have met some amazing people here and everyone has been so great that I have no doubt in INSEAD’s ability to discover the best talents and bring them to school. 5) INSEAD is one of the top sources of talent for a lot of companies in Europe and Asia.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My dream job would ideally have three main characteristics: 1) Take management decisions about the business strategy – I am not concerned about the day-to-day activities as much as what the purpose of the business is and where we want to take it. 2) Inspire and lead people by example. 3) Make sure the business leaves a positive impact on society and/or the planet through CSR projects. I would consider a dream job any job that allows me to do all of this.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? That I inspired them to be a better version of themselves. I strongly believe we should never stop trying to develop ourselves in order to reach our full potential and if I manage to influence other people to do the same, I would feel very lucky.

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