Vladimir Petrosyan came to Rancho Cordova High School from Ukraine six years ago as a junior, whereupon he learned English, made the honor roll and qualified for Sacramento State's Honors Program. His 3.9 grade-point average placed him on Sac State's Dean's List each year. A business major concentrating on finance and MIS, he was among nine students selected for the student investment fund. They made decisions and monitored and reported the performance of the quarter-million-dollar allocation of University Enterprises Inc.'s investment portfolio. When he graduated in May 2011, he was honored with the Dean's Award for the College of Business Administration. (A story and video on Petrosyan and the Dean's Award are available here.)
After graduation, he landed a plum job as a support engineer with Microsoft in Charlotte, N.C. He plans to rise through the company's ranks, become a consultant, a project/program manager, pursue an MBA and eventually open a business.
Q: As an emigre from Ukraine, what was the toughest challenge you confronted in high school and then in college?
A: Language, new culture and the lack of friends were the most challenging for me for the first year in this country. I had lived in Ukraine for five years and just barely got to a point where I was relatively successful and had friends, but I had to start over again.
However, after a year or so, I started to feel more comfortable and began to appreciate being here.
Q: How did Sacramento State prepare you to be a leader?
A: Our professors were passionate about their specialties and urged us to be no less passionate about ours. We were taught to be organized and responsible, and the classes helped develop these skills. The importance of teamwork was stressed because working together is essential. Almost every class I took had one or more group projects. We learned to communicate efficiently through oral and written presentations.
Q: Did being in the Honors Program sharpen your skills?
A: Definitely. I am sure I would not be the person I am right now without the Honors Program. I like challenges, and the Honors Program set the bar really high, which made me work extra-hard to excel. Learning from the best professors and the Honors students helped me to become a better student and person. Dr. (Roberto) Pomo was a great mentor.
Q: When did you decide to pursue a business career?
A: I chose business because a business degree is always in demand and there are countless opportunities in the business world, even with the weak economy.
Q: What's your opinion of Sac State's College of Business Administration?
A: It was a very strong program when I began my studies and became even stronger with the Business Honors Program and the Student Investment Fund. The professors' academic and professional experience prepares students for the business world. The college expands students' horizons by sending them to conferences and competitions, and should become even better and more prestigious under Dean (Sanjay) Varshney's leadership.
Q: How did you land that position with Microsoft, and has the company met your expectations so far?
A: During my last semester at Sac State, I applied to IBM, Intel and Microsoft. Microsoft responded first and scheduled a phone interview. The company flew me to Charlotte for a four-hour interview, and I received an offer within a week. This is a perfect match for me because Microsoft is a global player. The company’s training program has exceeded my expectations.
Q: Was it tough going from California to North Carolina?
A: Yes, because I miss my family and friends, but this is a good opportunity for me to learn how to be independent and explore the world.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: I've long had a dream of owning my own business, so that is where I am aiming long term. However, I need to get some more work experience and probably earn a graduate degree. - Alan Miller