Stories

Emil Tsenov (‘95): AUBG Professors “Taught Us How to Think Independently”

Emil Tsenov (’95) was still a student at AUBG when he landed his first job – that of a Marketing Manager at Blagoevgrad-BT, Bulgaria’s biggest cigarette manufacturer at the time. He’s held leadership positions at OMV and Phillips Domestic Appliances DAP and is currently Head of Global Marketing at ENPULSION, a major provider of satellite propulsion solutions that he hopes can “democratize space exploration.” Emil holds an MBA from INSEAD and is working on his doctorate from Vienna University of Economics and Business. Currently teaching at three Austrian universities, he says his “biggest joy in life is helping other people develop.” Emil is also an avid reader and traveler and author of the book with short stories “Gods of The City.”

Where do we find you at this moment?

On the balcony of my home in Vienna, enjoying the evening breeze with a cold drink after a really busy hot summer day.

What was your first destination after AUBG? Describe your career path.

I started work in 1994 during my last semester at AUBG as a Marketing Manager at Blagoevgrad-BT, which at the time was Bulgaria’s biggest cigarette manufacturer. There, I established the Marketing function and worked on the introduction of the brand family “GD Lights”. In 1999 I went to France to do my MBA studies. From 2000 to 2006 I worked for Philips Domestic Appliances DAP in IT and Strategy, preparing and implementing the strategic plan of the department in more than 30 CEE countries. From 2007 to 2014 I was the International Marketing Manager for the Lubricants division of the biggest Austrian company OMV and was responsible for all Marketing activities of the department worldwide, including the introduction of the motor oil brand “OMV BIXXOL”. Between 2014 and 2019, I was teaching (including a semester in Shanghai) and working on consulting projects. Since June 2019, I am the Head of Global Marketing of ENPULSION, a leading company in the field of satellite propulsion solutions. I also continue teaching as an adjunct faculty at three Austrian universities.

How have the years at AUBG prepared you for your career?

AUBG was the first institution in Bulgaria to teach market-oriented business subjects and the incredible professors we had made their utmost to transfer their theoretical knowledge and practical experience to us. They also taught us how to think independently and how to best evaluate opportunities. I also learned the value of teamwork. Last but not least, I made many friends for life at AUBG.

What class had the most significant impact on you?

There were many great classes but maybe I should mention the Marketing classes with different professors and the Anthropology class of Professor Janet Connolly.

Knowing what you know now, what would you want to tell your student self? If you could change something back what would it be?

What I would tell my younger self is: “Be more patient and do to not try to do everything at the same time!” I was studying at two universities and working at three places during my twenties.

What are the things that make you tick? What is your greatest passion or motivation at present?

There are several things that motivate me to move forward. I like learning new things every day and I read a lot (normally one-two books per week), mainly on historical and business subjects. Travelling is another big passion of mine: I try to make at least one big trip per year as it helps me discover new cultures and perspectives. I also write – I published a book with short stories named “Gods of The City” last year and I am happy to say that it got excellent reviews, so I am planning a new book on my travels by the end of 2019. Teaching is also something I enjoy doing a lot. Finally, my biggest joy in life is helping other people develop. I have been involved in many donations, scholarships and mentorship programs. I have recruited and mentored several AUBG students and I am very happy to say that they all made great careers.

Future projects and plans that you look forward to with anticipation?

I am really enthusiastic about helping my current company ENPULSION become a major player in the space industry. The company has a great team and has developed a unique technology which is scalable and can democratize space exploration. I am also working on my Doctorate research proposal and on my new book. Life is as interesting as you make it.

Article reprinted with permission.

Originally published on the AUBG Alumni Association website.

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