Mariam Petrosyan (MEIESM ‘11): From Marketing to IT3 min read
As we celebrate women’s history month, we recognize Armenian women for their devotion to family and nation and perseverance to stand against different challenges throughout history. In today’s world, Armenian women continue to rise to the ever-changing challenges, striving to succeed in their chosen fields and unveiling their individual potential despite the difficulties they encounter, whether those are personal, national or global. It takes one close look to understand how much more potential there is in each and every Armenian woman. Given the right circumstances, this potential reveals itself and becomes a beautiful story of success.
This time, we bring to your attention American University of Armenia alumna Mariam Petrosyan’s (MEIESM ‘11) inspirational success story. Petrosyan works as an IT Project Manager at HSBC Bank Armenia. She started her career at AUA as a computer lab proctor and teaching associate while a student at AUA. “I quickly realized that the repertoire of what was available to learn at AUA was much broader than I’d ever imagined.”
Petrosyan tells us about her time at AUA and the career journey that led to her current role.
Why did you choose to study at AUA?
At the time of choosing a university, I was not even sure what I wanted to study. My first choice was business, however, I was not accepted because my experience and skills weren’t competitive enough. After that, a lucky encounter with an old friend made me realize that my true passion was engineering. I was accepted to the Industrial Engineering and Systems Management program without any difficulty. This is something that I really appreciate about AUA. The experienced faculty never fails to guide you toward finding your true calling in life and pursuing it.
What was your favorite course in the Program?
One of the minors, actually. The course was called Computer Edit Design and Manufacturing. Sarkis Zeytunyan, the lecturer, was just brilliant. The course was quite specific and given that my background was in business marketing, well, some would say it wasn’t for me. My love toward design and architecture, however, motivated me to pick the course and I couldn’t be happier about my choice. The reasons are multiple, but I’d like to highlight the two major ones. Taking the course made me realize that the stereotype that a person should choose one field he/she is good at and follow it for the rest of his/her life isn’t entirely true. [Writer’s note: this is also known as the Growth Mindset and I highly recommend that our reader should explore it further.] Secondly, my professor saw the potential in me and offered me to be part of a project, which allowed me to choose my thesis topic effortlessly. I believe that I landed where I currently am because of these experiences.
Tell us about some of your favorite moments in your career.
Overcoming the stereotype that women are meant to do certain jobs only, I guess. I myself enjoyed the pleasure of having different positions. Some of them were quite high, but even being a leader didn’t put an end to exploring what type of job I would like to do. I kept looking until I discovered the sphere of IT. It wasn’t necessarily easy to transfer from a managerial role in operations to going back to taking baby steps in this new field, but I did it and I am happy to say that I have no regrets. So to all the women out there hesitating whether or not they should take that risky step, I say GO FOR IT!
How did AUA help you to discover opportunities and prepare you for life after university?
Being at AUA gave me my independence with a safety net of friends and lecturers to help me along the way. I had to quickly learn how to navigate life as an adult, whilst studying and making new friends. The lecturers and research staff speaking about their careers and the opportunities they had taken part in was also really inspirational.
Tell us about your career journey since leaving university and what you do now.
I started with reporting, then led the operations team for three years. I’ve always wanted to try myself in the sphere of IT and a few years into my job I felt like the moment had finally come. The change was big, the role was different but I felt like I belonged right there. So fast forward a few years, I am now enjoying my role as an IT Project Manager in one of the biggest multinational banks in the world. This is still not the end though, so I am looking to see what the future holds.
What advice would you give to students thinking about a career in your industry?
I would say experiment with your communications, test a bit of everything before making your final choice. Other than that, listen to your tutors and lecturers, they have done this before! Apply early for the job you really want and ask for help. Explore your options while you still can and don’t be afraid to dream big.