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AIBEST, the Association for Innovation, Business Excellence, Services and Technology, which is an independent industry organization with the mission to develop Bulgaria and the SEE region as a leader in knowledge-intensive products, services, solutions, and world-class destination for educated talents, has presented on 4 November its Annual Report for 2021.

Within the higher education section (pg. 49 in the PDF file), AIBEST identifies the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration (FEBA) at Sofia University, the Technical University in Sofia, and AUBG, as its key strategic partners. The analysis also includes quotes from the Dean of FEBA, Assoc. Prof. Atanas Georgiev.


At Sofia University’s Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, many lecturers are already preparing programmes based entirely on distance learning, building on the experience they have recently gained in the digitalisation of educational content. “We are aware that this cannot replace face-to-face teaching, but we intend to reach new markets with these e-courses, including outside Bulgaria, as well as to further develop our postgraduate qualifications, which are mainly online for the second year in a row,” Assoc. Prof. Dr. Atanas Georgiev, Dean of FEBA, emphasizes.

While the pandemic had its positive effects on the digitalisation of the teaching process, it also shed some light on one of the main challenges of Bulgarian tertiary education – keeping up to date with technology and the requirements of various types of industries. All three university representatives, quoted in the AIBEST analysis, named the need of specialised technology and equipment, and to some extent the lack thereof, as one of the main issues their institutions are facing. Cooperation with partners and representatives of the main employers in Bulgaria is one way to address this problem, according to Assoc. Prof. Atanas Georgiev.

FEBA is also striving to facilitate the dialogue between students and employers through its career centre. It is tailoring its programmes to the needs of employers, the most recent example in that regard is the creation of the new master’s programme “Responsible and sustainable governance” which attracted over 80 students.

Bulgaria’s oldest university also launched together with AIBEST the master’s programme “Outsourcing projects and companies” three years ago. The curriculum has a strong practical focus and aims to build skills and competencies for solving real business problems in various areas of outsourcing and offshoring. All courses are led by specialists with extensive experience in the academic field and representatives of AIBEST member companies.

Furthermore, this academic year students were able to receive financial support for their studies by applying for a total of 9 scholarships covering their costs related to semester fees. The scholarships are provided by AIBEST member companies - A Data Pro, Alorica, Coca-Cola, EXL, Pontica Solutions, and Telus International.

Given the broad cooperation with the business and the employment opportunities that this creates, it is only natural to consider Bulgarian universities to be especially successful when it comes to attracting students from abroad. FEBA has four master’s and one bachelor’s programme which are taught entirely in English and which attract students from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The number of enrolled foreign students is still small due to the administrative procedures in place and the faculty is actively working on developing legal and procedural changes that would help it enter new markets, Georgiev says, adding that the potential for growth is huge.

At the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Sofia University, efforts are currently focused on offering more opportunities for integrated initiatives between students, alumni and partner organisations. “We also have ideas for new master’s programs with an international profile, which we are already discussing with foreign universities and local employers,” the faculty’s dean notes.