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“My Career Path Has Fully Transformed Thanks to This Experience”

By Shana Childs (’14JRN)

As a college student in Armenia, Anna Martirosyan quickly “fell in love” with technology. She began her career at start-ups in her home country but sought opportunities across borders. In her last gig before Columbia, she worked on a multinational team at an Armenian start-up that teaches coding to approximately 50 million users.

“I always dreamed big!” she says. 

Martirosyan’s ambitions led her to the M.S. in Technology Management program at Columbia University in New York City. The ongoing conflict at home initially prevented her from receiving a student visa. But that didn’t stop her. “The incredible professors gave me the opportunity to study remotely for the first term, making sure I felt fully involved in classes—although I was studying at night because I am nine hours ahead of New York,” she recalls. 

She eventually made it to New York to earn her master’s degree and recently accepted a product marketing senior associate role at JPMorgan Chase: “I couldn’t be happier to work on behalf of a reputable financial institution that embraces technology to serve its customers,” she says. The recent graduate shared how her Columbia education is helping her to achieve her goals.

How did the Technology Management program impact your career progression?

The program helped me gain technical, strategic, and even political skills that will guide me through my career. Moreover, it helped me build a network of great professionals and receive the support of the vibrant Columbia community throughout my journey. 

Any favorite courses?

All of the Technology Management courses complement each other, so it would be hard to choose a “favorite.” That said, I’d say that the capstone with Dr. Thomas Cowan and Deirdre Silberstein; Operations Management in IT with Dr. Craig Cuyar; and Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for Technology Leaders with Dr. Norman J. Jacknis most impacted my learning experience. I also had an opportunity to take a Strategic Communication course as an elective: the Strategic Storyteller with Professor Edith Updike. This course contributed to my storytelling skills and will help me in my career as a product marketing specialist. I used the techniques taught by Professor Updike in my cover letters and interviews. She supported me and many other students throughout the entire job search journey.

What did you most enjoy about your time at Columbia? 

I vividly remember entering Butler Library on campus for the first time—it was at that moment that I truly realized what I was there for and started to recognize my dreams turning into a reality. The friends I have made here at Columbia will forever be part of my life. My Columbia professors, Deputy Program Director Jin Hi Rheem, and the Career Design Lab team—where I interned as a student—have not only helped me to succeed academically but also pushed me to grow and supported me in achieving my professional and life goals.

Overall, what I value most in the program and as a member of the Columbia community is the genuine connections built inside these walls. I had many professors rooting and cheering for me! As an international student, knowing your professor believes in you and supports you in achieving your goals is so encouraging. I am grateful to Dr. Mark E. Mooney and Dr. Douglas Scherer for encouraging me through this journey, guiding me through industries, and connecting me with people who are now my mentors as I try to achieve my goals. I hope I can contribute in meaningful ways as an alumna.

What would you say was most helpful in landing your role at JPMorgan Chase?

The Career Design Lab had a massive impact on my career development. My career coach, Nicole Arndt, guided me from the very beginning, providing techniques and tools for research, networking, and applications. As a CDL intern, I had the unique benefit of turning to the entire team not only for professional guidance but also for a safe space to fail, stand up, get motivated, and learn. The human connections built at Career Design Lab are truly priceless, and I think interning there made me even more connected to the Columbia community.

Tell us more about your job. 

I’m joining JPMorgan Chase as a member of the Lending Innovation team. I will support the strategy development and execution of My Chase Loan. Unlike traditional loans, this feature allows you to borrow money from your existing card’s available credit, and there is no need for an application, a credit check, or a separate account to manage. 

As a product marketing specialist, I truly enjoy what I do: technical discussions with the product team, strategy development with the marketing team, customer discovery with our users, and decision-making based on analytics.   

What overall impact or legacy would you like to make in your career and for the Armenian people?

The Armenian spirit is alive and unbeatable! Armenia is an emerging, rapidly growing technology hub, attracting foreign investment with its talents and potential. The tech industry is rapidly growing in Armenia with innovative and highly skilled individuals building revolutionary products for the world, such as Sololearn, 10Web, Krisp, Renderforest, Picsart, and others. However, the economy suffers from an ongoing war. 

Leaving my country, family, and friends in Armenia during an ongoing war was not an easy decision—neither was landing at John F. Kennedy airport and realizing I am all alone in a big, unknown city with no acquaintances. It was a challenge to live in and manage two realities at the same time: the one I was in Armenia, and the one I was trying to create at Columbia. Nevertheless, my determination to help my country, my family, my loved ones, and anyone in need kept me going. 

Like many young Armenians, I am motivated to use the power of knowledge and education to develop powerful technological innovations that can save and impact lives. I hope to use my education and experience to increase access to technology education for young Armenians. I’d also like to advise rising start-ups in the country. 

In addition, earning my master’s at Columbia would have been impossible without the support I’ve received from loved ones, professors, the Columbia community, and the Armenian community. As Oprah once said: “Your legacy is every human life you touch.” In the future, I aim to impact millions of lives through technological innovations while proudly carrying the title of Columbia University alumna.

The Columbia University Master of Science and Executive Master of Science in Technology Management programs provide students with technical, strategic, political, and communications skills to lead teams through constant digital innovation. Students gain the knowledge and insight to provide value to an organization by anticipating the impact of technology on individuals, organizations, and industries. Graduates leverage technology for business process improvement and successfully lead initiatives and major projects within or between organizations.

The priority application deadline for fall 2023 enrollment is February 15, and the final deadline is June 15. Learn more.