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Alumni Profile: Simeon Bochev

Simeon Bochev

Simeon Bochev received his B.S. in electrical engineering from Texas ECE in 2012. He went on to receive a Master of Science, Finance from the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin, and MBA from Harvard Business School. We sat down with Simeon to talk about what he is doing now, and his time in Texas ECE.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am originally from Sofia, Bulgaria and immigrated to the U.S. with my parents as a baby and lived in Virginia while my parents pursued their Ph.D.s in mathematics. After spending 5 years in the DFW metro area as a child, we moved to New Mexico, which I consider my U.S. home. As an undergraduate, I focused on Computer Architecture and Embedded Systems. 

I started building computers when I was in high school and was fascinated by the intersection of hardware and software. Plus, it was cheaper to build rather than buy high-end gaming rigs. 

I'm blessed to have a large and loving family spread across the U.S., Europe and Asia. In the summers you'll find me in the water swimming, diving and body surfing, and in the winters, skiing. My spouse and I share a love for travel and have visited many new countries together. I have also been a card player since early childhood which blossomed into poker playing in middle school and beyond. I enjoy a variety of video games, and I have a particular nostalgia for games from the 90's and early 2000's (HoMM3 anyone?). 


Professionally, I've recently launched a new venture in the computing space to democratize access to compute. Compute is a more general term for describing the various components of technology infrastructure, including Central Processing Units (CPUs), Graphical Processing Units (GPUs), _PUs (other PUs such as TPUs, LPUs, etc), Data Centers, and more. Fueled by the AI revolution, compute will become one of largest capital investments worldwide, with major corporations and governments pouring hundreds of billions of dollars over the next few years into the space. 

My new venture will accelerate the development of the AI ecosystem by removing infrastructure friction, facilitating democratized compute availability and financial risk management – critical to distributing the benefits of AI to all of humankind. 

Since we're in stealth I won't be able to share more details, but stay tuned for exciting updates later this year. Personally, I've settled down in the Bay Area with my spouse, Mark, our dog Buchi, and we're hoping to expand both our human and furry family next year!


I graduated high school in 2008 at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, which had significant financial impacts on my family. I was faced with the decision of paying over $50k per year all-in to attend a top private university on the east coast and major in international relations, or attend UT Austin with in-state tuition coming out to roughly $20k per year all-in and studying ECE. Despite my parents believing the choice was crystal clear, and to be honest in hindsight it should have been, I agonized over the decision. I had been enamored by foreign policy and seriously considered a career in a variety of government roles, including the Navy, 3-letter agencies, and the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. At that point, I had worked as a high school student technical intern at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), one of premier national research labs, and my parents' own years serving our nation as scientists had rubbed off. However, I ultimately decided to attend UT and my thought process went as follows: you've been working with computers since you were 5, building your own gaming rigs and tinkering with Matlab and, possibly, hacking a thing here or there. While you clearly have a passion for international relations, a degree in that field is not a prerequisite to a career in the field; whereas, an engineering degree from a top 10 program like UT would enable a much larger set of career choices, lean into my technical background and existing skills, and teach me critical problem-solving skills that would serve me in all aspects of life. 


Maria Karamihova, my maternal grandmother, is the most loving, strong and influential women I have ever met. Masha, as we affectionately call her, sacrificed a promising career teaching physics to raise a family of three daughters during the peak of Communist oppression in Bulgaria. Watching Masha in her role as the matriarch of our family, I was always inspired by how selflessly she gave herself to everyone around her. From the good times—like putting up with my cousins and me fighting over who would get the longest nightly massage before bedtime-to the challenging times-like recognizing that the love of her life was stricken with a nexus of dementia, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a whole host of other maladies. Masha's new normal for the last decade has been the constant devoted care for her husband, knowing that any day could be his last, and making sure that he feels adored and cared for each and every day. Since his passing, Masha has recommitted her life to her extended family. Masha has given her life to her family and her legacy will live on through me as I aspire to emulate her passion for family as a father and grandfather. Thank you for always being my guiding star, Masha! 

Was there a professor(s) in Texas ECE that played a particularly significant role in your education or future career path? 

Many UT professors have had a hand in guiding my path, but none more so than Professors Yale Patt and Jonathan Valvano. My ECE journey started out with Professor Patt as my ECE 306 (Intro to Computing) professor. I vividly remember my first day, walking into a massive classroom with several hundred highly accomplished freshmen, and starting to get nervous that I was out of my depth given the limited existing formal programming experience I came with into UT. I sat next to someone from the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS) who had been programming since middle school; whereas, my high school didn't offer a single programming class. A few minutes later a tall and skinny man with a thick and long white beard and tattered shorts walked in and strode confidently onto the auditorium stage. I thought to myself, "I knew Austin had a past with the hippie movement, but what is one doing here?" Turns out, that was Prof. Patt, and he jumped right into the course material. Where other professors were much more coddling, he made it clear this was going to be a hard class and many would decide to drop not just the class, but the major because of it. My self-doubt was peaked and my heart was racing, worried that I might fail out of college and end my professional career before it even got started. Most of the material in that first class was over my head and I went to Prof. Patt's office hours a nervous wreck confessing my concerns that I'm starting from behind compared with many of my classmates and worried that I won't be able to catch up. He asked me simply, "are you willing to put in the time?" To which I replied, "of course, but it may not be enough." He told me not to worry, and I swear that he winked at me as I left. It only took me a few days to put the pieces together and see that I really wasn't starting that far behind my classmates, and that's kudos to Prof. Patt's entire course design. 

First, I have the distinct privilege of saying that my first formally thought programming language was binary. Prof. Patt believed that all ECE students should learn the absolute basics of how computers work before moving to formal languages like C, C++, Java, etc. This was a HUGE leveling of the playing field as not a single other student I studied with had been exposed to such a low level of computing abstraction (or lack thereof). Second, Prof. Patt created an incredible support structure of TAs, office hours, extra learning sessions, and more. As he told me in his office, if I was willing to put in the time, the resources to support me would be there. Finally, Prof. had a nasty (I mean fun...) habit of introducing new material on his exams and asking us to apply it in real-time to test our problem-solving skills and not just our ability to memorize and recall information. When all was said and done, I probably averaged 20-25 hours a week on ECE 306. 

While earning the A at the end of my freshman fall was an incredible sensation, especially as some of my better-prepared classmates dropped out of the course, as I reflect back on the real learnings I took away from Prof. Patt I am convinced that he singularly taught me not only how to study effectively, but also ingrained in me life-long problem-solving skills and a self-confidence that I can thrive no matter what my starting point in life.

 I am forever grateful to Prof. Patt and his teaching staff. 

Professor Valvano also left an indelible mark on my personal and professional life. We first met for ECE 319K, Intro to Embedded Systems. I must confess that I was really looking forward to the course because it was the first to combine the EE and CE portions of the curriculum and, along with ECE 306, definitively set me on the path to major in Computer Architecture and Embedded Systems. 

Similar to Prof. Patt, when a ragged and disheveled man walked into class on the first day, I felt that he couldn't possibly be the professor I had heard so much about. I was wrong again.

 Similar to Prof. Patt, Prof. Valvano leaned into his non-polished vibe, and for anyone that has visited his office (at least before the EER was built), you'd happen upon likely the messiest office you've ever seen. I'll never forget all the license plates that adorned his office, and I'm proud to say I've since contributed a few from my global travels. Prof. Valvano also pushed his students, like Prof. Patt, and similarly was overly generous with the time he personally invested, and his TAs and support team invested, in their students. Not only did Prof. Valvano make the course material challenging, but also incredibly fun and practical. It was those latter two characteristics that kept me highly motivated to go to class and lab and invest close to another 20 hours per week in the course. I had the opportunity to take ECE 445L with Prof. Valvano and, similarly to ECE 306 with Prof. Patt, that course changed my life more than I could have known. 

Seeing is believing, and Prof. Valvano's course design masterfully advanced to more challenging concepts while keeping the material fresh. 

Where Prof. Valvano further stands out is his outsized commitment to ECE student life beyond his coursework. He was (and I'm sure continues to be) an avid champion of undergraduate ECE student life and was a key advocate and partner of mine when I pushed to make changes within the ECE department. Prof. Valvano also pushed the boundaries of teaching innovation faster than any other professor I had. For instance, he was the first to introduce a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) when they became the rage in the early 2010s, and he did so despite his course having a lab component. He adapted the course to a virtual environment years before the rest of the world would have to figure that out due to COVID, and the remote educational experience didn't suffer as it did with other MOOCs in the early days. Taken together, Prof. Valvano personally invested in me and my education in ways I didn't expect nor have I experienced since. He pushed me, cared for me, supported me and other undergrad students, opened my mind to a world of possibilities, and we had a lot of fun along the way! 

Prof. Patt helped define how I see the world and tackle problems, and Prof. Valvano helped me define who I am as a person. It is not hyperbole to say that I wouldn't be who and where I am today without Professors Patt and Valvano. 

You followed up your education in ECE with a focus on business. What was the driving force behind that decision? 

While I was in ECE 445L with Prof. Valvano, I had an unintentional epiphany that would forever change the course of my life. One day about halfway through the semester, I had finished lab early and had gotten up to leave to go to a Student Government meeting. This was a regular routine for me, but, for some reason, this time I stopped and looked at the rest of my classmates. I started to ask myself, why are they all still here? Surely I can't be that much faster than everyone else? So I paused and observed, and, yes, while about half the class was still working on their lab assignment, many people had already finished. I thought again to myself, "Why are y'all still here? What could you be doing?" And it dawned on me! They are still here because they wanted to be. They were having fun tinkering in the lab and preferred to spend more time there. Suddenly, the different pieces of my life, including my decision to not study international relations, were coming full circle. I was spending time in Student Government, Residence Life, getting a Business Foundations certificate, IEEE leadership, testifying at the State Capitol, and more because those were the things that drove me. I've always strived to be the best at what I do, and while I was a pretty good ECE student, I knew that I wouldn't be one of the best pure engineers in the world because the drive to tinker and innovate wasn't there for me. This epiphany meant I had to do a lot of soul searching for what I wanted to be and where I thought I could be uniquely valuable in the world. I needed to answer the question: what could you potentially be the best in the world at? As I racked my brain over several months, the pieces started coming together. I knew I liked math and science, and was pretty good at applying the two in an engineering context. For example, I had worked as an engineer professionally since high school and was getting great reviews. I also analyzed where I spent my limited free time outside of engineering, and the answers were clear: in business and in policy. Taken together, I realized that what was ultimately driving me for my entire life has been the nexus of technology, business and policy. 

If I had to narrow my entire professional scope to one sentence, it would be: I am driven to fundamentally understand the most innovative and important technologies of our generation and turn those technologies from science fiction into real businesses that make a major positive difference in the world. 

Coincidentally, a few months after this epiphany, the McCombs school launched its inaugural M.S. Finance 5th year Masters program which I saw as an excellent chance to develop a deep vertical of knowledge in the most technical of business domains. I would later go on to get my MBA from Harvard Business School via the 2+2 program, which I saw as a rounding out of my individual technology (ECE), business (Finance), and policy (international relations) vertical expertise.