Experiences of an E.M.B.L.-HSG alumna - Radena Dragieva

Sep 29 2014

Radena Dragieva, alumna of the class 2012/2013 and Expert in Insurance Policy within EIOPA (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) in Frankfurt a.M., talks about her experiences during the Executive M.B.L.-HSG.

Why did you choose to do the Executive M.B.L.-HSG program?
What was your motivation in applying for the program coming from a non-legal background?


Once I got into the web-site of the E.M.B.L. I was sure that would be a great experience for me even though I am not a lawyer. For me personally to understand business, everyone needs basic knowledge on how law is functioning in different business areas as well as in different countries around the globe; which is exactly the purpose of the program.

Then I went through the different modules considered for the program and once again became excited: hey, I am going to travel all around the world! That was an additional benefit for me as one of those persons keen on travelling, not only for fun but also exploring new cultures and business trends. There is also one very important background fact: when you come from Eastern Europe and you have grown up 50:50 in the communist’s regime and in democracy, the opportunity to visit countries being closed for us for many years is really exciting!

On top of everything I, as a German speaking person, was very proud of having the opportunity to study at one of the top universities in the German speaking world!

What did you get out of it – professionally and personally?
You being an engineer – what was the additional benefit for you?


I won’t dedicate many rows to the exact benefits of the program as everybody knows them and everybody is talking about them. The most important fact for me is that the University of St. Gallen, represented through the E.M.B.L. program is aiming at new nationalities for the course and I am proud of being part of it. Representing the South-East of Europe and especially the post-communist regime, I’d say it is really of great importance to succeed in convincing young people from this part of the continent to take part in this excellent course!

Was it difficult to familiarize yourself with the legal topics?

I won’t say it was easy for me to get familiar with the legal topics but actually those are the basics for business people even not being lawyers. So this was an additional reason for me to try and get the most important legal topics and understand the logic behind them. For some pure legal modules I really had to study hard, but that was compensated by others which were more economically oriented.

How did you benefit from the different professional, educational (lawyers, business people, public administrators, engineers) and national backgrounds in the course?

I think this course gives the participants the real opportunity to enter into a community which is strongly diversified in terms of different professionals and cultures. That gave me the opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices with people coming from other countries and other business areas which is quite enriching to young professional like me.

You worked 100% during the program. What were the challenges of combing job and studies?

Yes, I worked 100% during the program and it was a real challenge to combine work with the studies, but still I think the program gives the flexibility which allows the participants to stay with their current job and still find some time for travelling.

The real challenge for me was mostly to find free time enough to prepare myself for the different modules. Moreover as a non-lawyer I needed to study hard especially for those modules which were far away from my professional background.

Would you recommend the program to colleagues/friends? If yes, why?

Sure, I’d recommend it and I have already recommended it by inviting the EMBL team to visit Bulgaria and present the program for the first time. During the presentation and by discussing with friends of mine I saw that there is an interest in the E.M.B.L.-HSG.
This is still quite an exotic investment for young people from Bulgaria (also from other countries from South-East Europe) and therefore employers do not require it and mostly do not appreciate it locally. Actually a more broad view and appreciation is common for managers of foreign companies operating on the Bulgarian market.
My personal reason for recommending it is just the fact that this program allows young professionals to get more familiar with business law which is the core for day-to-day business tasks. Moreover this kind of education is something in development for CEE countries where, as already mentioned, those kinds of personal educational development is not a mass practice.

What did you particularly like outside the classroom (e.g. field trips, free time with students, receptions, dinners, cultural events, city tours, course locations)?

If I have to share about something which I’ll definitely miss after the graduation ceremony at the end of November 2013, that would be the great friendship I started with so many different people, the miles we flew together chatting on diverse topics, the fancy places we partied together at and last but not least the interactive way of studying and presenting our own point of view to what was the topic of the module!

How did you benefit from the networking opportunities given (co-students and faculty)?

As already mentioned this study program is an opportunity to enter into a network whose benefits are not measurable only during and right after the studies. On my side the opportunity to benefit from E.M.B.L. studies in all aspects has been recently opened.

Which was your favorite module and why?

Just after the New Years Eve (14. – 19. Jan 2013) our flying classroom landed in Brussels, Belgium for one of the most exciting modules of the program – Competition law. If we take a closer view of the competition topic, it arises as one of the most important pillars of the contemporary business world. It examines all aspects of competition policy primarily from a legal perspective, but also from an economic point of view.

The Brussels module was a forum of heated discussions on several topics, including abuse of dominance, fighting against but also investigating and sanctioning of cartels, U.S. and global antitrust as well as merger and state aid control. The lectures included in each and every panel were evidence of the fact that world competition has become hugely important in the field of global antitrust.  

By comprehensively understanding competition rules, being the main object of the module, everyone who was part of it was provoked to think about important questions in competitive context concerning its professional area.