Year 2023 at Varna University of Management

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Another year has passed… Festive decoration, joyful songs, aroma of ginger cookies and hot chocolate… and time for year-end review.

Traditionally, at the end of each year, we look back to note what has been done, to celebrate the success, but also to set the new year goals.

For all of us, 2023 was a dynamic year, filled with accomplishments and challenges, with new opportunities and surprises. And counting down the hours to the coming New Year, let us remember to greet each other for the good work and recall some of the most valuable achievements.

As one of the best business schools in Eastern Europe we were continuously developing and meeting the standards of the global higher education.

We are proud to announce that according to the Ranking System of Higher Education Institutions in Bulgaria, Varna University of Management maintains its first position among universities in Varna in the fields of ‘Tourism,’ ‘Administration and Management,’ and ‘Economics.’ Moreover, the university performs exceptionally well at the national level, securing the 2nd place in Bulgaria in the field of ‘Tourism,’ the 3rd place in ‘Administration and Management,’ and the 4th place in ‘Economics.’ According to the same ranking, VUM is ranked 1st in Bulgaria for scientific research in social, economic, and legal sciences as an area of higher education.

It is no coincidence that Varna University of Management is one of the few internationally recognized Bulgarian universities. In 2023, both master’s programmes at VUM are ranked highly in the Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking – the master’s programme in International Hospitality and Tourism Management is placed 14th in the world, and the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme at VUM is ranked 3rd in Eastern Europe.

According to this year’s edition of the Stanford University ranking of the world’s best scientists, VUM is the only university with two scholars in the top 10 of the best scholars in Bulgaria – Prof. Dr. Stanislav Ivanov and Prof. Dr. Mihail Minkov. The prestigious ranking distinguishes our professors among the top 2% of the best scientists in the world. This recognition for Prof. Ivanov marks the third consecutive year, with Prof. Minkov joining him for the first year. The ranking is evidence of their exceptional contributions in their respective fields of scientific research.

We are pleased to share that according to Scimago Journal Ranking, VUM’s European Journal of Tourism Research, is placed in the Q2 quartile in the categories of Tourism, Leisure, and Hospitality Management, as well as Geography, Planning, and Development. It ranks 2nd among all open-access journals (without publication fees) in Tourism, Leisure, and Hospitality Management and 1st in the field of social sciences in Bulgaria.

In 2023, one of the longest-standing partnerships in the field of transnational education between Varna University of Management and Cardiff Metropolitan University in Wales, United Kingdom, was highlighted as a good example. This recognition occurred during an international webinar organized as part of the British Council’s Transnational Education (TNE) in Europe series. For 14 years, this partnership has allowed Bulgarian and international students to receive innovative education according to British standards in Bulgaria, granting VUM the exceptional privilege to educate students in programmes leading to both Bulgarian and British degrees, without the need for students to travel to the United Kingdom.”

In 2023, VUM welcomed a new member to its teaching staff, Dr. Bruce Whitfield, a lecturer in entrepreneurship born in Los Angeles, who has taught in numerous universities in Europe and Asia over the last 10 years. Professionally, Dr. Whitfield is a business transactions attorney, holding a doctoral degree in law and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He has taught courses in international business, commercial law, and intellectual property, with research interests in these areas.

At the end of September, we started the new academic year, welcoming students from 23 countries across 5 continents, surpassing a total of 50 represented nationalities in the university.

And while some were just beginning their academic journey, others successfully completed one of the most important stages in their lives. In a formal ceremony, VUM graduated the Class of 2023 – the 25th graduating class of the Varna University of Management and the 13th consecutive graduating class receiving degrees from Cardiff Metropolitan University. Among the graduates of the Class of 2023 are representatives from Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, Zimbabwe, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Seychelles, Uganda, and Ukraine.

The project activity of Varna University of Management was also exceptionally active during the year, receiving well-deserved recognition. At the award ceremony of the Valorization Conference 2023 – ‘Active Citizenship in Europe,’ the project FENICE: “Fostering Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Cultural and Creative Industries through Interdisciplinary Education” was honored with a quality mark for outstanding results. Our team received this high distinction personally from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Academician Nikolay Denkov.

The year was also marked by outstanding achievements of students and chef-instructors from the Culinary Arts Institute at Varna University of Management. In fierce competition with participants from Greece, Serbia, Turkey, Cyprus, and North Macedonia, our culinary experts captivated the jury and the audience at the 12th International Culinary Competition of South Europe in Thessaloniki, Greece. They secured medals in all categories they participated in. Furthermore, the title ‘Young Chef of the Year 2023’ also traveled to Varna, adorning the showcase of achievements at the Culinary Arts Institute.

An undisputed winner with three gold medals was Alexander Alexandrov – a student in the ‘Gastronomy and Culinary Arts’ programme. He uncompromisingly surpassed all participants in the categories of ‘Vegetarian Dish,’ ‘Sustainable Seafood,’ and ‘Poultry Meat,’ rightfully earning the title ‘Young Chef of the Year 2023.’ Chef-instructor Kaloyan Kolev was honored with a silver medal for his participation in the ‘Restaurant Dessert’ category. In the team competition, students Andonia Filumena Tsavrenkova, Dimitar Paskov, and Lyubomir Mitev brilliantly executed a three-act culinary concept reflecting the love and care for nature.

For another year, our young culinary talents impressed also the professional jury at the National Culinary Cup of Bulgaria 2023. The student in the ‘Gastronomy and Culinary Arts’ programme, Karina Kiryakova, won the title of ‘Pastry Chef of the Year,’ showcasing her exceptional skills and creativity. The CAI graduates Ivaylo Gaserov and Alexander Alexandrov, secured 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, in the ‘Chef of the Year’ category.

Our CAI representatives left wonderful impressions and earned respect from the international jury at the unique competition in our country, the ‘Biorest Cup,’ held at the end of the year. Although our team fell just a step short of the top 3, Chef-instructor Kaloyan Kolev had the courage to lead the only team with student participants who performed brilliantly in the fierce competition against professional chefs with years of experience.

So, day after day, step by step, victory after victory, 2023 has passed. The balance points to progress, commitment and a willingness to take on new horizons in the coming 2024.

As the Chinese philosopher and politician Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” We, the team of Varna University of Management, assure you that we will not stop developing, we will work even more actively and professionally to achieve more and more success together.

We wish you a warm and bright holiday and a healthy, prosperous and peaceful New 2024 Year!