On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the founding of AUA and of the College of Business and Economics, we choose to present the profiles of the following MBA alumni. The selected profiles represent the diversity and the range of accomplishments of our alumni. Over the years, our alumni – men and women, local and Diaspora Armenians and international graduates, having a variety of educational and professional backgrounds – have developed successful careers in a variety of industries as entrepreneurs, members of major international corporations and national and international institutions.
We celebrate the achievements of our alumni and recognize the power and influence of their network. Through the selected profiles, we aim to recognize the achievements of ALL our alumni.
David Akopyan (MBA 1993) has been with the UN system since 1994. His responsibilities have included UNDP National Officer to Deputy Resident Representative, Senior Program Advisor and Chief, Technical Advisor for ITC Regional Program, and now Deputy Country Director in Afghanistan in charge of UNDP’s biggest program globally with a budget of one billon USD. He has also served in managerial positions on assignments and missions in Latvia, Tajikistan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. David Akopyan has 15 years of additional experience in financial and program management, R&D and hi-tech production, SME development, marketing, business consulting and commercial trading. Prior to obtaining his MBA, he had earned a PhD in laser physics from Yerevan State University in 1986.
Garik Chilingarian (MBA 1993) belongs to a group of MBA alumni who upon graduation chose the path of entrepreneurship. He is the successful founder and owner of Chilingarian Design & Construction; one of the leading construction companies in the Armenian market. The company is involved in general contacting, capital construction, finishing jobs, turn-key projects, consulting in real estate and construction management. Chilingarian Design & Construction is an integrated company; it owns a concrete plant, a construction base, tower cranes, and a fleet of trucks. It all started in 2001 with the idea to establish a powerful contemporary construction and real estate development company with a unique combination of western management and a professional approach to the construction business, while emphasizing environmental preservation norms.
Karen Grigorian (MBA 1996) is a Senior Economist at the World Bank. He has led multiple teams managing numerous financial and private sector projects in Eastern European and African countries including Armenia, Botswana, Croatia, Georgia, Lesotho, and Slovak Republic. Before joining the World Bank, he worked as the Head of Tax Revenues Planning Department of the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Armenia. He was involved in areas related to private and financial sector development, tax policy, competition, revenue administration and public debt management. His research has focused on topics such as institutional economics, innovation policy, FDI promotion, productivity enhancement strategy, and IT sector development policy. In addition to the MBA degree, Karen has a PhD in Economics from Economic Research Institute of Armenia.
Arusyak Alaverdyan (MBA 1998) has been working as an Operations Officer at the World Bank Yerevan Office since 2004 and is responsible for the rural development portfolio. After graduating from the Department of Applied Mathematics at Yerevan State University in 1986, Arusyak worked at Yerevan Research Institute of Mathematical Machines and various state and private companies in sectors such as telecommunications. After obtaining her MBA, she changed her career path and entered the World Bank as a financial analyst. Few years later, Ms. Alaverdyan used the opportunity provided by the Edmund Muskie Graduate Scholarship Program to study agricultural economics at the University of Georgia, USA, 2001-03. After obtaining her second master’s degree, she worked for World Bank in Washington D.C. and was involved in different projects concerning Europe and the Central Asia, before returning to Armenia.
Aida Arakelyan (MBA 1999) is Human Recourses and Organization Development Manager at World Vision Armenia since 2008. Prior to that, she held different positions combining her expertise in human resources management and finance in international structures, both for and non-profit organizations, including Ameria Bank, IREX, CRS Armenia and Credence Systems Armenia. Her varied background includes work as a senior researcher at Institute of Molecular Biology for four years.Other than the MBA degree, Ms. Arakelyan has a Diploma in Physics from the Yerevan State University that she earned in 1984.
Marine Jamkochian (MBA 2000) is a serial entrepreneur in the entertainment and restaurant businesses. She founded and currently heads NY Style that includes two restaurants; Granada and Dzorap. Prior to that she set up and run Mezzo Classic House Club. Ms. Jamkochian has worked as the CEO of entertainment division of Valletta and was in charge of the operations of seven fast food franchised chain restaurants and the Beer House. She also initiated, negotiated and successfully opened Segafredo franchise cafe chain in Armenia. Ms. Jamkochian has extensive experience in business and financial consulting and is the founder and director of European Investment and Business Consulting. Ms. Jamkochian is a volunteer to a number of organizations and has helped many new-starters to establish and run their businesses. Other than the MBA, she has a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering that she earned from State Engineering University of Armenia in 1993.
Ara Chalabyan (MBA 2001) is the Head of Internal Audit Department at the Central Bank of Armenia since 2010. His recent projects have focused on the development of internal audit methodology in accordance with international best practice and standards and the computerization of internal audit management. Prior to joining the Central Bank, Ara held a number of managerial positions at commercial banking, mining and retail sectors. Since 2006 he is a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants. He has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Yerevan State University and has studied at Tufts University Fletcher School of Advanced Economic Studies.
Nerses Nersesyan (MBA 2002) is an entrepreneur and a marketing expert that has built a successful career in the jewelry sector. He is the Deputy Director of Uvelon that represents Peter Benjamin & Co. jewelry brand in Armenia and the CIS countries. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yerevan State University, Nerses majored in marketing at the AUA MBA program. Upon graduation, he joined Yerevan Jewelry Plant–a company inherited from Soviet era with significant potential but lack of a clear marketing strategy. In two years, Mr. Nersesyan was able to implement a new pricing and product strategy that helped the company to regain its foreign markets in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. In 2005, Mr. Nersesyan started representing Peter Benjamin & Co. jewelry brand in Armenia. To implement the company’s standardized marketing strategy in Armenia, he initiated special training programs for the sales personnel that aimed at achieving a higher and more customized level of customer relationship.
Sam Samuelyan (MBA 2002) is an entrepreneur who came to Armenia from Lebanon to earn an MBA at AUA. After graduation, he attempted a couple of business concepts in Yerevan which were not successful. In 2004 Sam opened a restaurant called Square One in the center of Yerevan. By 2010 Square One grew to a 3-branch operation. In 2011, the brand was merged with another restaurant chain that included Segafredo Zanetti, Southern Fried Chicken, Gaucho and Ibar–creating the largest restaurant chain in Armenia. In 2010, Sam and his team took over the operations of Sidon Travel, a local branch of an American company, and improved the profitability and sales performance of the brand. In the same year, Sam took over the management of KIA Motors Armenia, the exclusive distributor for the brand in Armenia. Sam has a BBA from the American University of Beirut and is a Certified Hospitality Trainer by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Babken Mkrtchyan (MBA 2003) has more than 15 years of experience in business start ups, management, consulting, training, and market development. Since 2007, he has worked for Horeca and F&B centers that include hotels, restaurants, and cafes. He has managed the entire process of company setup including property selection, management of sales, finances, CRM and staff training. Currently, he holds a position of Business Consultant at a growing fast food cafeteria chain in Gyumri, his home town. In addition, Mr. Mkrtchyan is a Board Member of Armenian Cookery Traditions Development and Protection NGO. An avid learner, he is enrolled in Technology and Operations Management master program at Cyprus International Institute of Management.
Lilit Yordanyan (MBA 2002) is a member of the management team at Converse Bank and is heading the Internal Audit Department since 2008. She managed to restructure the internal audit activities and improve the operations of the bank to be in line with internationally recognized standards and best practice. Prior to that, she worked for KPMG (2003-2008), supervising the audit teams of leading commercial banks, financial institutions and enterprises in Armenia, Russia and Georgia. Ms. Yordanyan has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Economics from Yerevan State University. She has also participated in a full range of professional training programs in accounting, audit and taxation, and is a qualified Internal Auditor.
Ani Sargsyan (MBA 2005) found a part-time job at the Investment Department of ArmSwissBank while studying at AUA. This was the beginning of a successful banking career. Upon graduation, Ms. Sargsyan became a Risk Analyst, then Head of Risk Management Division, and was eventually appointed as one of the five members of the Management Board. She held this position for four years and was involved in all strategic decision making processes of the bank. In search of a new challenge and career growth opportunity, Ms. Sargsyan moved to Farm Credit Armenia in 2011. As Chief Finance Officer of this financial institution she is responsible for managing and supervising the Accounting department, managing annual budgeting procedures of the company, CBA reporting, and coordinating relations with international organizations, partners and investors. Ms. Sargsyan’s undergraduate degree is in economics from Yerevan State University.