Goran Isirov is an 2005 SBA Alumnus. His career path was extremely interesting. Goran works as the Platform Marketing Manager for MSD (in the United States and Canada known as Merck & Co., Kenilworth, NJ USA). MSD is a global healthcare leader working to help the health of the world through prescription medicines, vaccines, biological therapies, and animal health products. MSD operates in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions to people around the world.

I asked Goran about his studies at AAU “I started my studies at AAU in 2001. Before I started at AAU I had finished high school in the USA and had known that I wanted to continue my studies somewhere abroad.  I had a couple of friends that had told me about AAU, and after looking at other options as well, I discussed with my family and friends and decided that AAU was the best choice for me.” I was also curious whether or not AAU was Goran’s first choice. He responded, “Basically, yes. There were some options in other countries but I decided in the end I would choose AAU.” He added that Business Administration was the natural choice for him, as he mentioned that he was from a business-focused family, therefore it was the logical path. I asked Goran if Prague was a factor that influenced his decision to start studying at AAU. He replied, “Yes, I had a family friend in Prague so I knew what to expect, therefore it was much easier.

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I now had a full picture of Goran’s motivation for studying at AAU. I asked whether he remembered a positive experience connected with faculty or professors. Goran thought for a while and then explained, “I think overall the staff took a practical approach in their teaching. There were lots of presentations, working in groups, and professional preparation that helped students become better prepared for the work environment. Working on various projects and in teams was very positive for me, made me better prepared for collaboration, which is very important in today’s business environment.”

After completing university, Goran decided to stay in Prague as he started his “real world experiences”. I wanted to know what had changed during all of those years in Prague. Had there been any changes in the business environment? Is Prague attractive to business and investments? I received a complex answer: “I would say that Prague has definitely changed a lot since the period when I started. From an economic point of view, Prague has seen economic growth. The country overall is growing; if you compare prices when I first arrived to now, you can see huge differences in “any” point of view.  I think that is very solid for direct investments for FDI with multinational companies that want to open hubs, data centers, headquarters and variety of other business in Prague (Czech Republic). It is giving a lot of opportunities to people of different backgrounds because Prague and the Czech Republic are so different from other cities, as well as different from themselves from the past.

According to that answer, I asked Goran if Prague is also an attractive place to live and work for graduates. Goran expressed a little disparity in his answer, stating, “It is definitely attractive. You can definitely see a large amount of expats coming to Prague from the US, UK, Australia, and other countries and many “mature” markets. I used to work in many different international companies, so I had many colleagues from almost everywhere in the world. They came from South Africa, Latin America, Australia and another continents and countries around the world. There is an international environment not only in the company I work in now, but also in my previous employees. Prague is a very interesting location and it is becoming more and more attractive, so if people don’t have reservations, they may choose Prague as an interesting option to live and work.”

I wanted to learn some insight on general topics from Goran’s career path, such as his journey after graduation.

“It was an interesting learning path. Once I finished school I focused on different industries, so each industry had a different environment. I could learn from them all, but it was interesting to be creative and take different learning paths. When you compare how the business was doing in the past and today it is a little bit different. And technology plays big role in interrupting different business. I remember when I was at AAU we had a projectors where we could put the slide we drew on and present by telling a story.  Now you have USB sticks and many types of much more advanced technology. This could be in part how people get to a different level when it comes to work. There are many different ways to collaborate and things have really changed.” I asked if AAU had prepared Goran for his current life. He replied, “I think in many ways my education at AAU has influenced me. AAU can give you the education then it is up to you how to go along with your career path. You’re going to have to decide and it very much depends on you as the individual. You can learn, but what you make of it is really only up to you.”

I did not originally intend to be so personal, but I asked Goran what else was going on his life nowadays. Goran shared with me, “Work takes a lot of my time, but I go traveling and try to be active in sports. I became an uncle to a beautiful baby girl, so I also spend time with family and friends.” I asked Goran if he was still in touch with his former classmates. “Yes for sure,” he replied, “I am in contact with many people from AAU. I am still good friends with a number of them. My brother was also studying at AAU, and I have very close friends that studied together. I continue to stay in touch with a lot of them”

Goran is an active member of the alumni community. As an attendee at the Alumni reunion, I asked him how it was to see the new campus where AAU had moved. “The new campus is very nice, I liked it. The rooms, the way it looks, the environment and the spirit is very beautiful. To see old friends is always good as well. I had other friends of mine that couldn’t make it because of personal reasons and hopefully next time we will be able to get more people.”

I knew that the time reserved for the interview had almost passed, so I asked him one last important question: Is there a message you would like to tell AAU students? Goran replied, “When you learn, don´t only learn for the grades, but try to understand how you can implement the learning into your real life practice. Take and value what you learn when you study and try to apply how it makes sense in your potential working future.”