Darislav Dikov comes from Sofia, Bulgaria. However, the many years spent abroad, between Bulgaria, Serbia, and the United States, have awakened his awareness that an international setting is the one in which he feels most at home.
Determined to make the most of his multifaceted cultural background, Darislav chose the Bachelor in Management (BSc) to shape his future. His path at ESCP Business School, which began in 2017, led him to fill the role of Specialist in Strategy Coordination at Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria today.
The opportunity to live in 3 different countries given by the ESCP management programme allows students not only to achieve a high level of independence, inventiveness, and interpersonal skills but above all to interpret and respond correctly to different cultural and social codes. Darislav spent his Bachelor’s years in London, Madrid, and Berlin, thus being able to personally experience three different ways of learning, working and facing everyday life.
The Path. Three campuses for three stages of growth
“My first year in London was an exciting one, but full of challenges,” Darislav shares with us. “I was extremely happy with all my professors and the extra-curricular events that took place at the campus. There were discussions with European Parliament politicians, startup founders and top tier consultants. Academically, I was very satisfied with everything the program had to offer. There was also some ‘social adjusting’ going on the first few months, but it turned out for the best quite soon.”
In his second year, Darislav moved to Madrid. “Until this day, I still believe that it is the best city to live in,” he affirms, going back to those days. “Also life within the classrooms gave me numerous satisfactions. Perhaps, the most exciting experience has been the company project on which my team and I worked for the entire second semester. We were consultants of a non-profit organization, where we worked out a business plan for enhancing sales and designed an interactive google map of prospective clients.”
In the same year, Darislav became a Student Representative and a Student Ambassador, thus helping young unoriented students with their academic path. “I was allowed to travel, meet people – including Ambassadors from other universities – and learn their stories. A priceless experience.”
In Berlin, since the class had to choose electives during both semesters, he decided to try out new areas of interest. “I signed up for Marketing, Big Data, and Wealth of Nations, which was very far off from the career path that I wanted to do afterwards, Finance. This experience helped me to realize that creativity is a strong suit of mine and that I particularly enjoy it. On top of that, I saw the power of technology, and how much of an edge it could give your business.”
At the Berlin Campus, Darislav worked also as a student assistant to Charlotte Hilling, Senior Head of Undergraduate Studies. “I loved working at ESCP since everyone on that team created a warm and motivational atmosphere,” he concludes.
The Change. Discovering yourself while becoming conscious of the world around you
There is no doubt that intense academic training abroad is capable of developing someone’s personality and potential. But in what terms does a student feel ‘changed‘ by this experience?
“My Bachelor hasn’t changed me just once or twice, but multiple times. I felt as if I was rediscovering myself every 6 months,” admits Darislav. “This powerful combination between taking care of myself, living in a multicultural social circle, and discovering new aspects of business, has given me the greatest opportunity of all to discover myself and my true interests.”
Adapting to life in so many different countries has indeed developed his intercultural skills by preparing him to easily socialize with literally everyone. According to Darislav, his whole generation has been luckily exposed to globalization since a very young age, whether they have had the opportunity to live abroad or not. “We don’t have the tendency to discriminate and we aren’t radically nationalistic. I hope this will make us more accepting and more considerate of each other compared to prior generations.”
However, he also sees some possible downsides since his generation is getting more and more accustomed to physical distance due to technology. “We have experienced the transition from a regular childhood to a ‘technological adulthood’. Although, we are innovators by heart and we like to take action on the big problems in the world, and that is exactly what I plan to do.”
The Horizon. The ability to plan while remaining open to the unexpected
During his second-year internship, Darislav entered Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria as an Intern in Assets & Liabilities Management. Soon after graduating from ESCP, he went back to the company where he now covers the position of Specialist in the Strategy Department. “My current responsibilities include data collection, data governance and implementation of strategic tools. Since my job isn’t a straight forward subject, I am using an interesting mix of the knowledge acquired during my Bachelor. More importantly, ESCP has taught me a whole set of soft skills, which I use at any given moment, such as resourcefulness, creativity, competitiveness and presentation skills.”
Imagining yourself in the future can be an easy task if you are planning a career, but, according to Darislav, way more difficult if you want to be an innovator. “I am definitely ready to jump for when the right idea comes, but at the same time I believe that every work experience can teach you something.” In the meantime, his plans for the future are crystal clear and the goals are all set. “In 5 years, I plan on being a specialist in two areas (Finance and Marketing) across two industries (Renewable Energy and Hospitality) and having proficiency in 4 languages (Bulgarian, Serbian, English, and Spanish). In 10 years, I plan on having the capabilities, skills, drive, and contacts to co-create a Private Equity Fund for the Balkan region.”
Although Darislav is focused and determined to achieve his career goals, at ESCP he has learned that a good leader always puts the needs of his team first. “I am a good-hearted, ambitious and smart leader. I love to surprise people with my hard work and creative ideas,” Darislav says about himself. “Even though I am empathetic towards my colleagues, I will always do what is best for the team as a whole. Developing others and helping them to discover their full potential brings me joy and satisfaction.”
As a former Student Ambassador, Darislav has helped many young students understand if the Bachelor in Management (BSc) was the right choice for them. “Ask yourself whether you would like to further develop your multinational view of the world. Also, whether business management as a whole, not just one subject, interests you the most. If your answer to both these questions is yes, then you should definitely enroll in ESCP. You will never find a business school that will serve you better in these two aspects.”
Learn more about the Bachelor in Management (BSc) and discover the path towards your cross-cultural journey at ESCP Business School.