Aleksandr Sargsyan (MEIESM ‘12) Praises the Wide Variety of Career Opportunities AUA Offers

4 min read

American University of Armenia (AUA) alumnus Aleksandr Sargsyan’s (MEIESM ‘12) career path started with a spontaneous decision to go into auditing, which later led him to the banking world. Sargsyan currently works at HSBC Bank Armenia CJSC as MI and Planning and Group reporting manager. He started his career at KPMG Armenia LLC, where he worked as an audit assistant for three years. Then he moved to Converse Bank CJSC as a lead internal auditor, and later was promoted to financial and operational internal audit manager. In this interview Aleksandr shared with us the gratifying memories connected with his alma mater and the doors that AUA opened for him after he graduated from the Master of Engineering in Industrial Engineering and Systems Management (MEIESM) program.

What brought you to AUA?

With its western-style higher education, competent professional staff, positive and fair culture, and high ethical standards, AUA is recognized as a top university in Armenia. When planning to pursue a master’s degree, I considered AUA as a key to success in my future career. Of course, the admission process was not an easy one considering the competitive requirements for admission and high tuition fees. Following admission, being an AUA student also comes with challenges, including its demanding study schedules. However, I knew from the beginning that all of that would be compensated a few years after graduation. In fact, AUA opened many doors and career opportunities for me.

Why did you choose to study industrial engineering and systems management? Did you have a professor who influenced you?

My background was in economics, and during the application process, I had two choices: MBA or IESM. I was 21, with no work experience, which was a mandatory prerequisite for admission to the MBA program. So, I was advised to choose the IESM program, which offers a unique set of skills that can be used in any industry. Students of IESM can work in different spheres given the variety of courses that the program offers, such as Operations Management, Financial Management, Probability and Statistics, Data Analytics, and many more. Nowadays, project management jobs are trendy; IESM graduates can easily find jobs as project managers in different fields like IT, banking, manufacturing, etc.

At the IESM program, there were many professors and lecturers that influenced us. I truly appreciate the knowledge and experience gained from each one of them. Among them, I would like to make special mention of Dr. Agassy Manoukian, a very positive person and a masterful professional in his field. Communication with him was always straightforward and easy. He was also my master’s thesis advisor, and everytime I was in doubt about the topic of my thesis project or had conceptual questions, he consistently supported and motivated me to go forward. In the end, my thesis was a success. 

Tell us about your career journey. How did you start your career? 

When I was still a student at AUA, KPMG Armenia staff visited the University to present their company and get AUA students interested in their vacant positions. That’s when I spontaneously decided to apply for one of the positions. I was 23 at that time and had no work experience, and KPMG Armenia was a good start for me. So, that’s how I started my career in audit. I worked at KPMG Armenia as an audit assistant for three years. My work mainly focused on auditing financial statements of clients from different industries, including IT, production, banking, etc. After three years there, I realized that I wanted to transition to banking to get more experience and develop my competencies, so I moved to internal audit. Internal audit isn’t only about financial statements but also about operations management and evaluation of process effectiveness, and to me, that sounded more interesting.

Thus, I started working at Converse Bank CJSC as a lead internal auditor, and later was promoted to financial and operational internal audit manager. There, I worked directly with top management and the board of directors for six years. Last year I moved to HSBC Bank Armenia.

What is your current position, and how well do you think AUA prepared you for your career? What do you consider an important achievement in your career?

My current position at HSBC Bank Armenia involves coordinating management reporting and analysis functions, implementing strategic planning and providing reports to the board of directors and the bank’s government team. I work daily with different people from foreign countries, such as the UK, Poland, Switzerland, UAE, India, etc. I truly enjoy working in the multinational banking and financial services company that HSBC represents, as it allows me to interact with different professionals from many parts of the world.

No doubt, recruiters recognize AUA as an institution with high standards. Indeed, the mention in my CV that I am a graduate of AUA has played a vital role in my career path, giving me ample opportunities to work in different companies and positions. 

My most significant achievement thus far in my career is my current job where I have the opportunity to work and communicate with different professionals globally. I am confident to be on the path to achieving more in the future.

As we plan to mark the 10th anniversary of your graduation this year, what are you looking forward to celebrating on this anniversary? 

I will be happy to reunite with my professors and classmates, whom I have not seen for a long time. After graduation, I initiated soccer games for about eight years inviting many AUA students from different programs, including IESM, CIS, MBA, LL.M, and also professors. The aim was to have fun on the soccer field and to deepen relationships within the AUA community. But unfortunately, the Covid outbreak changed that tradition, and since then, we haven’t played soccer. So, coming back to my alma mater for the 10th anniversary of my graduation will be a superb chance to meet up with my old friends, as well as AUA faculty and staff and share with them unforgettable memories from my years at AUA.