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From AUA Alumnus to ChangeMaker: Hratch Andreassian’s (MBA ’01) Inspiring Journey

4 min read

GLENDALE, California — Inspiration typically transpires at unexpected moments and in different ways. For Hratch Andreassian (MBA ’01), an alumnus of the American University of Armenia (AUA), his inspiration was ignited at a recent event where he was invited to speak on behalf of AUA alumni. Little did he know that this speaking engagement would serve as a catalyst for his new role as an AUA ChangeMaker

From AUA student to a successful alumnus and now ChangeMaker, his flamboyant journey is a testament to the profound impact of an AUA education. In effect, this is a journey that nurtures the real-life success of its graduates, consequently igniting their desire to give back and, in turn, support other students in their own educational pursuits. 

As a proud alumnus, Andreassian posits: “I have a deep sense of gratitude to AUA and sincere appreciation for the education I received, which has allowed me to excel in my position as a wealth management advisor. Though I completed my MBA on the finance track more than twenty years ago, to this day, I continue to draw on the wealth of knowledge I acquired at AUA to function with confidence in my demanding position and effectively advise my clients on their finances, which they consider highly important, second only to their health.” 

Andreassian was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia. In 1994, as a high school student, he was one of forty students selected by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia to spend a year as an exchange student at a high school in the U.S. on a full-ride scholarship from the U.S. government. 

Upon returning to Armenia in 1995, he attended Yerevan State University for undergraduate studies at a time when AUA did not yet offer undergraduate degree programs. He continued his education at AUA, pursuing a Master of Business Administration, and successfully graduated in 2001.

Hratch Andreassian with his wife and children, 2022

Reflecting on his time at AUA, Andreassian recounts the rigorous academic environment and how his education served as a solid foundation upon which he built his career in finance. He emphasizes the significant role his professors have played in that process: “My finance professor, Professor Haddad, instilled in me an interest in financial markets and institutions. He taught us from 1999 to 2001, a unique period during which we witnessed the remarkable rise and subsequent crash of the bubble. Our statistics and data science professors laid the foundation for quantitative data analysis — knowledge and skills that continue to serve me to this day.

Currently, Andreassian is a senior vice president, wealth management advisor, and portfolio manager at Merrill Lynch in Pasadena, California. With almost 20 years of experience, he also holds several advanced professional certifications: CFP® professional, CIMA®, and CPWA® from leading institutions. This year, he ranked fifth among more than 2,500 Merrill Lynch advisors across the U.S. in terms of business growth and first in the U.S. southwest in realizing alternative investments, which include private equity, hedge funds, etc. — rankings he humbly discloses to duly highlight the degree to which his AUA education has sparked performance excellence in his line of work. 

“Years after my graduation from AUA, in 2016, I completed a one-year investment management designation program at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), and in 2018, I obtained certification in advanced estate and charitable planning from Booth School of Business, University of Chicago (UChicago). During these on-campus classes, we had advisors from some of the top firms in the U.S., such as Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, who had attended the most elite institutions. The in-depth knowledge I gained at AUA allowed me to lead study groups at both UPenn and UChicago, and assist my peers with the most advanced financial and statistical concepts and tools — an excellent testament to the quality of education I received at AUA,” remarks Andreassian.

On September 28, 2023, Hratch spoke at the special event hosted by Golden State Bank to welcome Dr. Bruce Boghosian as the new AUA president. Recounting his tremendous experience at AUA, he elaborated on the fulfillment he gets from doing the work he does. “I genuinely enjoy sharing my forward-thinking and deep knowledge of strategies of charitable giving and estate planning that allow my clients to maximize their legacy for their families and preferred charities, which often are Armenian entities.”

Hratch Andreassian speaking at an AUA event hosted by Golden State Bank, September 2023

During the same event, Andreassian learned from Vice President of Development Gaiane Khachatrian about the “200 ChangeMakers of AUA” campaign and its purpose. He was impressed by this growth initiative and, on the spot, joined the special group of donors himself, becoming an AUA ChangeMaker.

Elaborating on why investing in AUA students is a sound investment in the future of Armenia and its productivity, he adds, “As Benjamin Franklin has said, genius without education is like silver in the mine. AUA’s world-class education allows Armenia’s most consequential and abundant natural resource, the ingenuity of its people, to develop to full potential and shine its brightest as the ray of light that will guide our motherland to a brighter future.” 

To learn more about the AUA ChangeMakers campaign, visit:

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 and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values. AUA’s Office of Development stewards the University’s philanthropic efforts exclusively for educational purposes.