[0:08] Q: Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about your academic background and professional experience.

[0:16] A: I’m Mariya. I’m a pharmacist by education with more than 10 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. To expand a bit, when I started out as a pharmacist it naturally stemmed from an ambition to improve the world’s health. But also it dawned on me that this is a universal profession that I can exercise in a small village or in a big city. Well, it turns out that my first job was in a headquarters for a French pharmaceutical company in Paris so it turned out to be a big village indeed! Since then I have worked in a CRO, which means a Contract Research Organization, a marketing company in Bulgaria, so involving international, regional and local projects. My main domain of expertise is medical communications and patient safety.

[1:06] Q: Why did you choose to do an MBA?

[1:09] A: Well, I would like to apply for an executive program, so EMBA or executive Master’s, for many reasons. First, it’s the right timing for me, in my opinion. Since my graduation from pharmacy school I have obtained a Master’s degree in pharmacovigilance, and another certificate in biomedical statistics. But now, when I lead a team, when I have to forecast the budget, or when I delegate responsibility to an external service provider, my qualifications are no longer enough. So I definitely need a new set of skills and knowledge, like finance, people management, and how to conduct negotiations, and so on.

Also, the nature of business has changed a lot over the past 10 years. We’re naturally very happy to have witnessed so many innovations in pharmacy, but this has impacted directly on every interaction between patients, health care providers, regulators, and so on. Hence it’s a very, very complicated environment, and now I need the business perspective. Last but not least, networking is invaluable because one person can do a lot, one good organization even more, but when we collaborate we can really make a difference. And, naturally enough, I’m just curious to see what an MBA is and why so many brilliant people have already gone down that road!

[2:36] Q: Have you already taken the GMAT, or GRE, or any other tests?

[2:40] A: Not yet, not those. I have passed many tests so far, I mean exams, interviews and competitions, but those exams – no. For me the key word is preparation, and being careful not to underestimate the time and the effort needed to prepare for those exams and, of course, count on the right resources. By the way, PrepAdviser is a great tool; I definitely rely on it for my preparation!

[3:05] Q: Which part of the admission process to business school is the hardest for you?

[3:11] A: For me, it was the selection, because now we have access to so many programs in different countries, so making the triage was a bit time-consuming for me, and Access MBA helped me a lot with the selection. So for me it’s important to target the right school, and then to understand how to get there, not just apply because it looks affordable and easy at first sight.

[3:38] Q: At what stage are you in terms of the admissions process? Are you still at the initial stage or have you already chosen your course?

[3:48] A: My choice is more or less made, but I haven’t applied yet.

[3:56] Q: What is the best way for you to prepare for exams?

[4:01] A: Well, if 10 years ago I was able to fully dedicate 100% of my time to the preparation, now I really must find the right balance between having enough time for my family, and my professional life, and preparing for the EMBA program. So once again it’s a question of balance between time, dedication, and effort.

[4:25] Q: What are the tools that you use to prepare? I mean, what is the best way that you prepare, by which I mean do you go for self-preparation, or do you have a tutor who helps you?

[4:37] A: First, I’m aiming to use the tools from PrepAdviser, but if I’m not self-disciplined enough, I’ll probably go to local school to help me.

[4:46] Q: You mentioned that you already have three schools in mind. What three schools are you aiming for?

[4:55] A: I’d say that probably my first choice is the American University in Bulgaria. I mentioned that I’d already spent some time in France, but right now I’m based in Bulgaria and I believe this is a very reputable school in terms of quality of education, and also the network. As I mentioned, the ecosystem is very, very important for doing business, so yes, this is my first choice.