Woodbury has always been a comfortable place for those whose educational/career trajectories are unorthodox. 2020 MBA graduate Avetis “Avo” Mkhitaryan is no exception.
Avo dropped out of college at 17, owing to a loss in the family. He didn’t return to school until 2012, 14 years after he left. Making up for lost time, he earned his undergraduate degree in Economics at CSUN in 2014, taking just 2½ years to do so.
Today, his professional home is the credit union industry, where he’s been for nearly 20 years. At Logix Federal Credit Union, he serves as Senior Vice President of Member Service, overseeing operations, branch administration and the call center. “I have been blessed with an opportunity to serve nearly all areas of the organization,” Avo says. “I live by the motto ‘never stop learning,’ and have been in professional/academic programs for as long as I can remember.”
The MBA will cap a diverse, intensive educational career, which encompasses the CUNA Management School, a three-year program at Pomona College he completed in 2013; the CUES CEO Institute I, at Wharton in 2015; the CUES CEO Institute II at Cornell in 2016; and the CUES CEO Institute III, at the University of Virginia in 2017. That year, he also secured the Certified Chief Executive (CCE) designation.
Avo found his way to Woodbury through a professional affiliation with AAPSE (Armenian American Public Service Employees Association) and initial interest in the Master’s of Organizational Leadership program. “During this time, my previous employer was going through a merger, which occupied a majority of my time,” he recalls. “Once the merger was complete, I invested time in learning more about the MBA program and attended an orientation, during which I decided to enroll.”
Avo credits Dr. Satinder Dhiman as the “most inspirational and influential” among his professors and mentors at Woodbury. “Above and beyond technical and academic teachings, Dr. Dhiman’s wisdom encourages students to dig deep and think at a high level — one that considers our impact at a global level. I continue to rely on many of the books, scholarly journals, and research papers/assignments. The university and its students are blessed to have Dr. Dhiman share his wisdom and help us lead meaningful lives.”
While lauding MBA courses in Finance, Accounting, Ethics, Leadership, Statistics and Entrepreneurship, Avo says this: “I think that my experience and prior education helped me tremendously in performing well in my classes. I am bummed about the one A- I have so far, but it was a grade that was rightfully given — no complaints there!”
Looking back on the program, he cites “the uniqueness of the professors’ backgrounds, leadership style, and curricula. A Woodbury MBA encompasses technical components (financial management, statistics, economics), the philosophical (ethics-related courses), the strategic (entrepreneurship) and the motivational.”
Avo’s ultimate professional goal is to remain in the credit union industry as a senior executive. He is unabashed in sharing his aspiration to be a CEO — within the next two to three years. “Concurrently, I’m working on expanding my consulting business with the hope of transitioning to a consultative capacity within the next decade,” he says.
Proving, perhaps, that late bloomers can blossom with a flourish.