Great Minds Go On to Do Great Things4 min read
American University of Armenia (AUA) alumnus Karen Yeghiazaryan (MBA ‘12) is CEO, Chairman of the Management Board at Evocabank. He talks about the rebranding of the Evocabank and how an individual can enable a great future for masses through consistency and hard work.
They say surrounding yourself with people who are driven, who think alike and are able to create a motivational atmosphere is key to success. While this may be easier said than done, AUA MBA ‘12 graduate Karen Yeghiazaryan managed to bring together a team of go-getters, together with whom they took Evocabank to a different level. The rebranding of the bank started back in 2016 when Yeghiazaryan together with the shareholder of the bank realized that the bank would not make much progress if it operated as it was. The former brand image didn’t express the vision and philosophy needed for the further development of the bank so a decision was made to build a new brand.
The work ahead was challenging and none of the success would have been possible without teamwork. “I initiated the opening of the marketing department at the bank and the first two members to join the team were recent AUA graduates. Despite their young age, they showed high professionalism and are still well-respected top managers of Evocabank. By the way, nowadays five out of the nine management board members of Evocabank are AUA MBA graduates.”
“I think AUA admission requirements have undergone some changes, but back in the early days one had to gain a high GMAT score in order to enter AUA. Having taken the test myself, I realize what it takes to get a high score in the exam. The requirements take a special way of thinking and a specific mindset. I am glad people I get to work with have similar experiences as I do. It makes it easier for us to understand one another and help the bank prosper.”
“Management courses have been my absolute favorite at AUA,” Yeghiazaryan elaborates. “The topics covered ranged from leadership to corporate ethics and organizational behavior and the content, as well as the quality of delivery by Dr. Janet Cox were exceptional in the Armenian reality. Dr. Cox had a huge influence on the quality of education I got at AUA and on my overall development. At the same time, marketing and advertising management courses delivered by Haig Messerlian have had huge importance and impact on me in leading the bank’s rebranding process.”
Yeghiazaryan also spoke about what drove him to AUA for graduate studies: “Given that I was already a working professional in a position that others in my field would consider lucrative, many were very skeptical about my decision to continue my studies. I don’t blame them, for I had already been through the many stages of career pathing and got to the position of deputy CEO. However, I knew it was the right thing to do for career advancement and, until this day, I am convinced that I made the right decision.”
Back to the time when he decided to attend AUA, Yeghiazaryan recounts: “In 2010, I already had a high position in a bank but I couldn’t stop thinking about my real goals and all the new possibilities that could potentially open before me if I kept moving forward. In this ever-changing world, one should chase one’s dreams and goals. Such a disposition is not akin to human nature. We love comfort, and it takes a certain level of effort and desire to always stay in shape. A moment of relaxation is enough to fall behind in a fast-paced world and, as you may already know, the process of catching up is not always effortless.”
For professionals in all fields, spotting the right opportunities and drawing one’s advancement also come with challenges. “A person who really wants to be successful has to keep looking for growth opportunities and seize them without hesitating. There was a point at the initial stages of my career where I passed a hard exam just to prove others that, against the common belief that one’s connections are essential for career advancement, someone with solid knowledge and high motivation is always in demand and will land on both feet in the pursuit of his/her goals. You must be demanding of yourself and set very specific goals. How would you expect to get anywhere without knowing where you want to go? Quoting Seneca — If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”
At the end, Yeghiazaryan emphasized the significance he and his teammates attach to maintaining constructive ties with their alma mater. “We give high importance and consistently collaborate with AUA. AUA graduates are always welcome to take on internships here at Evocabank. We also direct and encourage our employees to take courses at AUA Extension [now AUA Open Education] and if a staff member shows willingness to enroll in an AUA degree program, we make sure to facilitate that by funding 50% of the tuition fees. We have developed an internal evaluation system that keeps staff motivation levels high at our bank. That’s the way to promote self-development and it is of utmost importance in the 21st-century job market.”
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.