AUA team wins in the Finance Challenge 2020 with Karen Sarkavagyan on the left (Photo - IAB)
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AUA Student Team Wins Finance Challenge 2020

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia – On February 20, 2020, a team of eight students from the American University of Armenia (AUA) won first place in the annual Finance Challenge 2020. The students, together with other beginning professionals in the field of accounting, audit, finance, and management, had the unique opportunity to test their intellectual abilities. Organized by the IAB International Academy of Business, this initiative helps junior and senior students to be more competitive in the job market by boosting their confidence for a successful career start. 

The members of the “Dream Team,” as they call it, are Lusine Sargsyan (BAB ‘20), Lili Sahakyan (BAB ‘20), Rafayel Avagyan (BAB ‘20), Diana Zakaryan (BAB ‘20), Anna Khachatryan (BAB ‘20), Elen Davtyan (BAB ‘20), Mari Mkhitaryan (BAB ‘20), and Knarik Jalatyan (BAB ‘20). Although these students share the same academic interests and take classes together in AUA’s Manoogian Simone College of Business & Economics (CBE), they got to know one another better when Sargsyan and Zakaryan offered them to form a team for the Finance Challenge 2020.

“Just a couple of minutes were enough for us to understand that we are like a well-made cake: we had all the necessary ingredients in place in the exact correct amount. That recipe was what mainly helped us in reaching the goal. None of us was getting nervous, as we knew what role each of us had in the teamwork,” noted Khachatryan.

The financial case, developed by the IAB faculty, was given to the 70 participants from five different university teams. The students had to find the right service to offer in the given circumstances in order to maximize profits. AUA team members said that one of the key components of their success was efficient division of work which allowed them to make several calculations simultaneously.

“We strategically divided the assignment and then connected the puzzle parts together,” said Sahakyan. “Despite the time limit of 10-25 minutes per task, our team managed to do all the necessary calculations of fixed and variable costs, risks, possible revenues, taxes, optimal scheduling, and so on, keeping in mind the goal of cost minimization,” added Davtyan. 

The winners of the Finance Challenge 2020 were selected by judges and mentors based on the participants’ teamwork, time management, presentation, and technical skills. AUA CBE Lecturer Karen Sarkavagyan, who was one of the judges, reflected that he had recused himself from evaluating the AUA team to ensure a fair and unbiased competition. But, “All the other mentors and judges were unanimous in their decision – the AUA team was the best!” proudly remarked Sarkavagyan.

“We got a chance to reevaluate our strengths and weaknesses and appreciate what we have learned at AUA. It was a priceless experience, the benefits of which we will always carry with us in our careers,” Mkhitaryan reflected on her experience. Sargsyan added, “It was an honor to represent AUA in the competition. We were feeling very confident with our knowledge and preparedness as AUA students. It is not a secret that during our studies, we get not only theoretical knowledge but also practical, which was a real asset during the competition. Our victory proved that the subject matter taught in an AUA classroom is an investment in our life, which will always pay off.”

Besides the winning cup and certificate, the team members will have a chance of interning in sponsor companies. “We’ve already received an email, which states that some sponsor companies have taken our contact information and will get in touch with us soon,” enthusiastically noted Zakaryan.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.