Alexander Stamatov says his childhood dream will never change. As a kid, he had a roulette wheel toy that he used to play with all the time. Even though casinos and gambling were considered a taboo topic for a young boy, the idea of working in a casino had taken over his mind.
“I didn’t know what the name of the job was, or anything about the job, but I was definitely interested in it. When I was 12 years old, I finally had the courage to ask my mother: I want to work in a casino – what do I have to do?” Alexander says.
Alexander is a 19-year-old freshman at AUBG from Burgas, Bulgaria. He plans to pursue a Business Administration major with a minor in Entrepreneurship, though he believes that not everything comes from the books.
“Practice for me is the most important thing to actually learn something. Without practice, you can’t do anything. With practice, you learn how to do things and you learn the theory at the same time,” Alexander says.
That is why he decided to apply for the Elevate accelerator program at AUBG, which is a mentorship-based program designed to help the participating teams start businesses. For Alexander, this is an opportunity to experience what it is like to start a company from scratch. His team recently got accepted into the program.
“We have a business idea and Elevate is a pretty good shot to make it a reality. Me and Georgi Georgiev started planning this a year ago. Back then it was just the idea and we slowly started to build it,” Alexander says.
He shares that he has always tried to gain practical experience in the fields that excite him ever since he was in high school. Alexander is also a part of an organization called “Burgas Free Tour,” which sets up free sightseeing tours around Burgas. They have a small team of around eight people, who organize daily tours during the summer.
However, according to Alexander, the greatest opportunity he ever got was working as a croupier in a casino for a year and a half before coming to AUBG.
“It was the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Alexander says, smiling. At the same time, it was hard for him to manage working only night shifts and going through a four-month-long training course while still in high school. But this was his childhood dream coming true, so he says nothing was more important to him at the time.
“I was in high school during my course and high school was in the background,” Alexander says, laughing, “I spent every day in the casino for like five hours, or so, just training and asking questions, even those that didn’t concern me. My grades weren’t that good at the time, because I was more concentrated and interested in the casino.”
This career path intrigued him when he was a child and continues to be Alexander’s focus for his plans after AUBG.
“The dream is to go to Las Vegas. That’s the place to be for casinos. They have a college there that teaches casino management. It’s a two-year program. I am planning to apply for it,” Alexander says.
Alexander also met the first mentor in his life while working at the casino. “I never believed in role models, but I believe in mentors,” he shares.
One of the senior croupiers who had over fifteen years of experience taught Alexander a lot of different things during the time which they spent working together. He used to train him when there were not a lot of people at the casino. And when they used to hang out after work, he would tell Alexander stories about the different casinos he’s worked at.
“He actually brought life to my dream. I will be forever grateful to him,” Alexander says.
He shares that if one day he manages to achieve his dream of pursuing this career in Las Vegas, he wants to become a mentor for a young ethusiast, the same way the senior croupier was for him.
“That will be the way I thank my mentor from the casino,” Alexander says.
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