“I’m a citizen of the world who works with spirit, smile and dedication towards a better and more equal society.”
Hometown: Sofia, Bulgaria
Fun fact about yourself: I’m a published author. I got my first book with poems and short stories published when I was 16. My high-school years were the heyday of my creativity.
Undergraduate School and Degree: School: Sofia University, Bulgaria. Undergraduate: BA Cultural Studies. Graduate: MA Women’s and Gender History
Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Company: Sloan International Management Consulting. Role: HR Project Coordinator
Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Company: TESLA. Role: HR Business Partner
Where will you be working after graduation? Company: CITIGROUP. Role: HR Management Associate
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
- MBA Coach (mentored two first-year MBA teams)
- Forté Fellow and Forté Ambassador
- VP Marketing & Communications – Club Europe
- VP External Affairs & Acting President – Simon Dance Club
- MBA Event Ambassador (Admissions Office)
- Admission Committee Ambassador
Awards (Just for fun):
- “The Person Most Likely to Brighten Your Day” Award (Closing MBA Party, May 2017)
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I need to admit that when I started the program, I was terrified that all odds were against me. I had a quite untraditional pre-MBA background and couldn’t even imagine how I’d compete with all those talented and capable people. Indeed, there was a steep learning curve, but I’m lucky to say that every assignment, every final exam, every project, was a small victory for me and I made sure to celebrate it. However, what I’m most proud of is my mastery of time management. I believe that the first half of the second year was the most hectic, yet most rewarding time for me. I managed to maintain very high GPA while balancing multiple club activities and events, recruiting and interviewing, conference prep, coaching of a first-year MBA team, case competitions, and regular workout (so, I stay sane in the process). Enthusiasm, hard work and the support of my safety net – that was the recipe for success for me.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m extremely proud and thankful for the opportunity to intern at Tesla last summer. Tesla is one of the most competitive and wanted companies to join. I had the chance to be a part of a company that changes the world in a positive direction. I worked with an amazingly mission-driven team and I learned a lot from them. Furthermore, I was given the autonomy to lead a positive change for hundreds of people through my work. The job was exciting, challenging, and fast-paced (it moves in Tesla time, as they call it). Above all, it made realize how important purpose is for my career choices.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? I have many favorite professors, but three definitely stand out: Guy Arie, who teaches Competitive Strategy, Jeanine Mikos-Thal for her Game Theory class, and Greg Shaffer, who teaches Pricing Policies. Three very different classes and unique teaching styles, but each one of them contributed greatly to my understanding of current business realities.
What was your favorite MBA Course My favorite MBA course was Organization and Strategy, taught by Professor Michael Raith. I enjoyed the fact that we were able to master important organizational strategy framework while implementing it in real-life cases. The best part of the class were the discussions going on – I appreciated my classmates’ points of view that were constantly challenged by the professor. My biggest takeaway from the class is that no matter how successful from business perspective one company is, its success can always be hindered if its organizational and business strategies don’t align.
Why did you choose this business school? The decision to join a business school was anything but easy for me. Therefore, I wanted to be a part of a school and program that would give me a competitive edge but that wouldn’t be at the expense of the sense of belonging to a greater community. A close friend of mine graduated from Simon Business School several years ago and she was my strongest connection with the school. I loved her stories about the courses she took, the events she visited, and the friends she made here. I was also attracted by the school’s proximity to New York City. However, before committing, I visited the school twice and that was when they got me. I was impressed by the friendliness and positive attitude of the people I met here. Today, I couldn’t be happier of my choice – here, I’ve felt nothing but wanted, supported, appreciated and recognized.
What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be ready to get surprised by how much this school can change you. But make sure, you own it. Simon combines challenging curriculum, inspiring leaders, supportive network, and multiple opportunities for skills enhancement. Take advantage of all of them and thrive to embrace the true Meliora (“Ever Better”) spirit of the school.
What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth is that we are a heavy business, data-driven school. We absolutely are unabashedly analytical and we have a renowned finance curriculum, but we are also so much more – our talent goes beyond sectors, functions and geographies. Many of us are going into tech, product or project management, operations, pricing, brand management, entrepreneurship, HR, etc. I wished more companies and employers were able to recognize this tremendous shift, so they could take advantage of our talents.
What was your biggest regret in business school? Honestly, I think, I should have done more while here. I was never sure if I was doing enough. Did I take advantage of all resources I had – classes, professors, classmates, advisors? Did I give enough – to the school, to the community, to my classmates and friends? If you are in a different environment, two years usually seem a lot, but here we live in our own MBA dimensions – time flies and it’s never enough.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire all 106 of them because each one of them left their comfort zone by being here, and yet they all are rock stars. However, there are two people in specific that deserve to be recognized.
Saniya Shaikh: Saniya is VP Academic Affairs of the Graduate Business Council and worked tirelessly to make our academic lives better. She was our voice and a person of action when we wanted improvements.
Preeth KP: Preeth was my teammate for two quarters and he had been the most reliable and pleasant person to work with. He was not only a great teammate, but also the voice of reason and wisdom when our spirits were getting too hot.
Keep up with the great work, guys!
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Two people influenced my decision in the most tremendous way: My former manager and lifetime mentor – Julia Sloan and my partner in crime – Lyudmil Milanov. Both believed in me, gave me constructive feedback, and supported me at every step of the way.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…doing a PhD in International Affairs and Human Rights.”
If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? My biggest dream regarding Simon is that my classmates get more exposure and career opportunities. We nourish great talents here and they deserve to be recognized and appreciated. Simon Business School has a very prestigious name on the East Coast and in New York state specifically, but we are still quite unknown on the West Coast. Majority of my classmates (especially the international ones) join the program with rich, diverse backgrounds and extensive work experiences. Furthermore, the curriculum here prepares us to be knowledgeable and highly competitive. If I were the Dean for a day, I’d make sure that I invest in them by paving an easier path for them to companies like Google, Facebook, Tesla, IBM, etc. In business school, your network is the most precious asset you might have. That refers to faculty members, career advisors and even the dean. So, they all should invest in building an extensive and diverse network where they can promote and advocate for us.
What are the top two items on your bucket list? My bucket list is enormously big but in general there are two main themes – traveling and self-improvement:. I want to volunteer in Ecuador, Columbia and Peru (let’s start from there) and I want to go on a trip to India and learn yoga.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want to continue being the person who brightens their day no matter in what part of the world I am.
What is your favorite movie about business? One of my favorite movies is The Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith. The story of this entrepreneur who lived with his son, homeless for almost a year, has always touched me and inspired me never to give up. This movie made me cry both out of sadness and happiness.
What would your theme song be? “The Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor.
Favorite vacation spot: Barcelona, Spain.
Hobbies: Morning yoga, cardio workout, Latin groove dances, languages, volunteering, superhero movies.
What made Veselina such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?
“Veselina, or “Vessy” as she is known among the Simon community, has been an amazing addition to our MBA community over the past two years. Her prior work experience in fund-raising and project management for women’s rights issues translated into leadership and involvement in Simon as a Forte Foundation student liaison. In this role, she has worked closely with the Simon Women in Business leadership team to sponsor programming for our current MBA students. She has also been actively involved in Women’s recruiting activities with the Simon Admissions office, including our annual Women’s Conference, and on-boarding for our incoming women who will attend the annual Forte Foundation Conference prior to their MBA studies. Vessy also was involved in the “Women in Tesla” mentorship program for middle school girls to encourage them to pursue STEM careers through her summer internship at Tesla. She was a co-leader in planning and running our annual Garden Party networking event in spring 2017 to celebrate diversity and inclusion at Simon.
Vessy has held leadership roles in several other key organizations including serving as a 2nd year coach to a first year MBA study team, and as a Senior Advisor for the Simon Consulting student club. More recently, she was selected to serve as an Admissions Committee Ambassador and is involved in screening candidates for admission by reviewing applications and conducting admissions interviews. Finally, she has been involved as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Simon Club Europe, and Vice President of External Affairs for the Simon Dance Club.
While it is hard to believe she has any additional free time, Vessy has been involved in a few other key roles during her time as an MBA student. These include serving on the Simon Vision Consulting group that provides consulting assistance to start-ups and small companies, and participating in the MBA Human Capital Case Competition co-sponsored by Deloitte and HP, and participating in the Simon Volunteers Club that focuses on social impact activities to better the Rochester, NY community.
Vessy has worked tirelessly to create a legacy that will out-live her MBA experience, and has positively impacted the Simon and Rochester communities.”
Rebekah Lewin, MBA 2002
Assistant Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid
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