From IWU Magazine, Summer 2011
What Goes Around
From Bulgaria to London, international students make connections that last.
Story by SARA (ZELLER) JULIAN ’’07
As an international student, Stefan Stoev (above) created a close network that continues
after his 2010 graduation.
Stefan Stoev ’10 is at an exciting point in his life. Just one year after graduating
from Illinois Wesleyan, he is spending a whirlwind summer working two internships
for international companies before returning to Boston this fall to complete his master’s
Growing up in his native Bulgaria, Stoev says he had one goal. “All I knew was that
I wanted to go and get a good education in the U.S.,” he says. From his first days
on campus, International Student Advisor Reenie Bradley was impressed with the young
man’s work ethic.
“For him, it’s not just the end of the project. It’s about the learning along the
way,” she says. “Stefan kept plugging away and seemed to understand that learning
happened as part of the journey, not just the end result.”
Now an M.B.A. student at Brandeis University, Stoev credits his fascination with business
to his first semester at IWU. “As soon as I took my first economics class, I knew
that economics and business in particular is a field that really relates to my way
of thinking,” he says.
The wide array of possibilities and connections Stoev is now forming has come in large
part from a friendship he developed while at Illinois Wesleyan. Arriving at IWU as
an international student, Stoev connected with other international students, among
them Stefan Filip ’07. “When I came, I had no one here,” Stoev says of his first year
at IWU. “I had to start from the very beginning and create very close relationships
with people who are going to be very close friends, like brothers, for the rest of
Filip, an international student from Romania, felt the same way. “The international
community at IWU was fairly small during my entrance to IWU. Therefore, it created
a very strong relationship between all of us across all classes, first-years to seniors,”
he says. “I have kept in touch with them despite being across several time zones,
from Nepal to San Francisco.”
Stefan Filip (above) helped Stoev in his education and internship decisions. Filip
is a funding analyst for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.
Stoev was intrigued when Filip decided to pursue a master’s degree in international
finance from Brandeis University. Filip, who earned his master’s degree in 2009, is
now a funding analyst for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in
London. His team is responsible for financing the bank’s operations, including issuing
debt on the capital markets to fulfill a $10 billion borrowing program. The bank’s
investments help build market economies and democracies in countries from central
Europe to central Asia.
“Stefan was first to approach me regarding his plans to attend a business school,”
Filip recalls. “He was very keen on finding out more about Brandeis as it was one
of the schools that he was considering.”
Stoev says he was attracted to Brandeis due to its international focus, the relatively
new business program and the enthusiasm he felt on campus. “I thought it was a very
cool combination for me. I feel like working hard is really not an issue there — that’s
how everybody else is. It’s a good feeling.”
The connections he formed at IWU have already benefited Stoev. This summer, he is
traveling to London for a 10-week internship with BlackRock, the world’s largest asset
management firm. Filip’s connections helped Stoev land the job.
“I tried to help mainly by motivating him, advising him on what courses and activities
would be valuable and tried to put him in touch with as many alumni as possible who
could give him the extra push in securing an internship and a job in a top financial
firm,” Filip says. Before he headed to London, Stoev spent six weeks in New York interning
for Beekman Real Estate Investment Management, an international company dealing in
commercial real estate.
This year, Stoev will pay forward the favors he has received from his classmate by
mentoring incoming IWU first-year student Nikolay Karnev, a Bulgarian childhood friend
who grew up on the same street. Like Stoev, Karnev has had a lifelong dream of coming
to the United States for college. “I’m planning to guide him all the way through,”
Stoev says. “I’m very excited.”
The dream continues for Stoev, who says the business world remains a source of constant
fascination. “I’ve always been very curious about things, and I like to know how things
work,” he says. “It’s addictive. It’s never-ending.”
To visit the Illinois Wesleyan Business Administration Department, click here.
To visit the University's International Office, click here.