Alumni Success Story: Astghik Zakaryan (MBA ’15) Pursues Her Dream
Astghik Zakaryan’s hard work and persistence have resulted in the publication of a long-awaited and much-needed book for Armenian families.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I started my career in the sphere of IT and Business Management. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I worked in various disciplines ranging from production to IT. This gave me the opportunity to enrich my knowledge in diverse industries and brought me one step closer to understanding where my real passions and interests lie. As a curious person who values staying updated on the modern world, I decided to continue my studies. I began the Master of Business Administration (MBA) Program at the American University of Armenia (AUA) in 2013. Throughout those years, an idea was developing in the back of my mind. The idea was connected with my passion toward working with kids, my entrepreneurial skills, my education, and my wish to help Armenian parents by giving them what they have always needed — a safe platform to freely interact and exchange experiences and ideas. I started the Facebook group called Armenian Parents’ Corner back in 2010 and it grew into a widely popular page, now with over 50,000 followers.
What was the turning point in your career? When did you direct your focus and energy to pursuing your dream?
It’s always a challenge to find the time to pursue your dreams when you work full-time and have other commitments that require your attention every day. I was finally able to register the Armenian Parents Club as a business in 2018. I am proud to share that our first product — a children’s book comprising 100 excellent games — was recently published. I always knew that the day would come and that the hard work and patience would eventually pay off. I consider my love and passion for working with children to be the most important factor contributing to the success of my project. To help you understand my passion: even when I had a full-time job, I also continued working at a kindergarten, just to interact with kids and never stop seeing the world from their perspective.
How did your time at AUA influence and prepare you for your work today?
I was experiencing self-doubts after being out of school for ten years. AUA completely erased those doubts and gave me the confidence I needed in order to move forward with my plans. Also, I would like to emphasize that AUA gave me the opportunity to study with people from different walks of life, and I enjoyed that immensely. Those who choose to pursue a master’s degree at AUA are usually highly driven and ambitious individuals who are open to collaboration and innovation. We know what we want and AUA helps us get it, making the realization of our dreams possible, and empowering us with a quality education and the professional skills we need to succeed.
Could you expand on your interdisciplinary background and your experience of working in different industries?
As the Armenian Parents Club is officially a business now, we collaborate with people and companies representing diverse spheres. Having experience and knowledge in those spheres enables us to perform our best. Also, I am certain that my current occupation is exactly what I want and am best at. Had it not been for my interdisciplinary background, my curiosity might have led me away from my true calling.
Tell us about the book you recently published. Is this the first of a series? Do you have any other upcoming publications?
I had been dreaming of publishing a book that would be of interest to Armenian parents and the larger community for 15 years. My partner and I finally managed to turn this dream into a reality, and it was a success. We now have orders from across the globe. My primary aim was to write a book that would be unique in its nature and content, as well as address the needs of many parents. The needs assessment I did with the Club parents helped me understand what an ideal book would contain. Also, it was very important to us to keep the price of the book affordable to most people, to ensure that we are helping as many Armenian families as possible. More interesting ideas are developing, and details will be revealed soon!
You have mentioned working for AUA as a proctor in order to maintain the connection with your alma mater. Could you elaborate?
The atmosphere at AUA is one of a kind. Even with all of the projects in my personal and professional life, I have managed to maintain my job as a proctor at AUA for years. My desire to be a proctor is driven by my interactions with the bright minds that study at AUA, as well as the wish to give back to my alma mater. AUA brings delight to my life. That’s undeniable.
Any advice for AUA students currently in the MBA Program?
My advice would be to follow your dream and be persistent. These statements sound cliché, but they are cliché for a reason.
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