Alumni Success Story: Kuchukyan Father and Son (MBA ‘11) Make History at AUA
It was a chance conversation at home that set the Kuchukyan father and son, Arsen and Arman, on their path to continuing their studies at the American University of Armenia (AUA). Straight from their country home, the co-founders of software and product design studio MIIIND, Arsen and Arman Kuchukyan (MBA ‘11) talk about how they set a new precedent in the history of AUA by becoming the first father and son to study in the same cohort.
“I was enrolled in the Brussels-based Carolus Magnus University and my aim was to get a quality degree and systematic knowledge in business administration, which was needed in my position of Deputy CEO of SEF International UCO LLC. Finding a program in Armenia that would correspond to my needs was a challenge until AUA announced the launch of a business administration graduate program for full-time workers and life-long learners like myself,” Arsen Kuchukyan says. “Taking the standardized tests required for admission and entering the university that offers a high quality education was more challenging for me than for my son, Arman, for whom the decision to get a master’s degree from AUA was a natural progression of events that would lead him to a successful career path,” he continues.
With a background in engineering, Arman Kuchukyan discovered his love for marketing and creating digital products when he was attending AUA. The broad experience he received through various internships and managerial positions in both local and international companies complemented the education he received at AUA, preparing him in informed decision-making as he began creating his own products. “We feel that our business is on the right path. My father is the go-to person when it comes to financial analysis and forecasting, while I am in charge of adding creativity to simple yet useful product ideas. My love for marketing and management grew as the courses I took at AUA guided me through discovering the endless possibilities the field had to offer.”
“Studying in the same cohort with my son was surprisingly a refreshing idea for many,” Arsen Kuchukyan recalls. “Although there were students from different age groups in our cohort, I was one of the most senior members in the group, which meant breaking a lot of stereotypes and going all the way back to being behind a desk and assuming the role of a learner. It was an eye-opening experience, which definitely gave me the knowledge I needed to take the next step in my career,” he adds. Both father and son recognize the value of the soft skills they gained through group projects and other real-life endeavors assigned by their professors. The modern learning methods and practical approaches applied at AUA were what they needed as business-oriented thinkers and individuals who seek growth and advancement in their lives and business.
When asked about which course proved to be the most useful, Arsen Kuchukyan suggests that one should appreciate the opportunity of learning from experts even if it is a course they are not particularly interested in. “I remember how many of my classmates for whom taking the auditing course was not a priority, to put it mildly, ended up working for audit companies. Underestimating the value of a course only because you haven’t had the chance to understand its content yet is probably not the best idea. I would recommend current AUA students to stay focused while they still have the luxury of studying at AUA and build their castle of knowledge paying attention to every single detail.” Arsen Kuchukyan’s story perfectly portrays how being a lifelong learner increases one’s effectiveness in one’s chosen field and opens up doors that lead to further advancement and success.
Arman Kuchukyan, on the other hand, speaks up suggesting that financial gain should not be the only catalyst for pursuing university studies. He stresses the importance of gaining deep knowledge in one’s chosen field so as to make the country and world a better place. “Valuable content comes from deep knowledge and rich experience. These should be the deciding factors when you choose to attend a university, which is there to give you the valuable knowledge and the practical skills you will need for the rest of your life. Use your time at the university to experiment. It’s the perfect place to test your skills. Try to dabble in everything.”
What is “the Kuchukyan method” of dealing with challenging situations such as those caused by the global pandemic? “Create your own content, and craft your skills. The creativity and flexibility your university has taught you comes in handy in times of hardship, trust us!”
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.