Name: Lusine Galoyan
Nicknames: Lusy, Lus, Galoyan
Originated From: Yerevan, Armenia
Undergrad Institution: Brown University
Job Before Booth: The White House & Brown University
Post-Booth Offer: Investment Banking Associate at Bank of America
And She’s a 30 Under 30 Armenian! Check out Her Feature Here
okay…now for the good stuff:
Prior To Booth
My story starts in Armenia where I was born and raised. I come from a very large family, many of whom held influential posts and power within the government during the Soviet years. When the Soviet Union collapsed during the early 1990’s, my family lost all that it had essentially. Although my childhood memories all revolve around enjoying life to the fullest and being surrounded by family and friends, in reality, my family was trying to rebuild their lives and re-establish themselves after having come from so much to having so little. When Armenia became independent in 1991, my parents knew that I would not have the same opportunities that they had, given the state of the country. This was a big driver to how we ended up in the U.S.
When I was 13 and a half we moved to New York. The school I started at didn’t have ESL (English Second Language) classes. So, for the first few months, I would just sit in history or literature classes, not understanding anything that was going on. Then one day, about 6 months later, all of a sudden it all clicked.
Science, however, was the universal language and was the constant throughout my education. We had quite a few biologists and researchers in my family. In high school, I quickly fell in love with science research and became fascinated with microscopic nematodes called C.elegans.
As I was adapting to this new life, my experiments and research with worms in the lab became my outlet for all of the uncertainty and instability that surrounded my family. And, the science world became a space where I made a lot of my friends. One of the most defining moments for me was participating in this huge science competition with my research on extending the lifespan of C.elegans. I won the New York City competition across all the boroughs and was sent to present my findings in New Mexico and to enter my research into international competition. I won 4th place against 1600 fellow researchers. It was a big accomplishment for me at the time – it was my first big science achievement.
When it came time for college, I was limiting my choices to New York only schools since the idea of going away was such a big deal for my newly immigrated Armenian family. But my mentors from a program which helps NYC high schoolers with college admissions, pushed me to think and broaden my outlook and the choices that I had. And that’s how I ended up at Brown.
During my senior year at Brown, I became a U.S. citizen. It was an incredibly momentous and special day for me. My friends threw a huge celebration for me, and I was the proudest citizen there could ever be. I had followed the biology track at Brown that I had started in high school. But while I loved the quantitative work that came with research, I realized that I loved interacting with people, and being in a lab all day, would not fulfill that portion that I found so satisfying. At the time I became a citizen, one of my closest friends encouraged me to work for the government after graduation since she could tell how passionate and grateful I was for the U.S. government. That conversation inspired me to think on ways I could apply the science background to science policy.
I applied to the White House Internship program, was accepted, and moved to D.C. This was during the Obama Administration. I was placed in the Presidential Personnel Office, which does delegations, high level appointments and nominations across the government. When my internship ended, I was asked to stay on as an Associate. One of my favorite moments on the team was when I worked on sending a delegation to Armenia. It was the commemoration of the 100 anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, and 10 years since I had moved to the U.S. It kind of brought my life full circle.
While in the White House, I had the opportunity to attend many discussions with high level people. One of the memorable ones was when the Vice President hosted a luncheon with young staffers. One of the attendees asked “What is one piece advice you can give us as we think about our careers?” To which he replied:
This is a piece of advice that I’ve taken to heart very seriously for the last several years.
After that role at Presidential Personnel, I was appointed by the administration to work at the Department of Energy in the Chief Information Office as a Special Advisor. I was the congressional liaison for cyber security. I knew very little about the job and didn’t have any cyber and not much energy background. I was interested in it because it was the department that revolved around science. And, I took that job because of the CIO. He had a vision of transforming how the department managed its cyber energy assets, and I knew this would be an incredible learning experience for me.
The White House Office of Science and Technology was always a dream of mine. Within the bigger political scheme of things, this office housed all of the scientists. When I was an intern, I would walk to the director’s office on the 4th floor of the White House during my breaks just to get a glimpse of the types of people that worked within its walls. One day, while still at the Department of Energy, I got the call with an offer to work at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and specifically to report directly to one of the greatest policy wizards in D.C. I was ecstatic, took the job and headed back to the White House until the end of Obama’s administration. I stayed on through the transition period between Obama and Trump, and in addition to my role, also helped with transition memos on what the office had done over the 8 year period. We were ready to pass the baton to the next administration. We did an impeccable job because orders from the top were very clear: whether it was going to be the same party or not coming in, we were instructed to do the best job possible to make the presidential transition as easy as possible.
My biggest lesson working in the White House and in politics was that I knew how smart, hard working and driven the people would be, but what struck me the most was how kind everyone was to one another. While politics can be seen in a negative light amidst all of the controversies and so forth, being inside the building didn’t feel like I was surrounded by the world of politics at all. It was more amicable and congenial than I could’ve imagined.
In 2017, the Obama Administration ended. I wanted to work on how to bring the academic, private and government sector together. I started asking myself, “What does energy policy look like in an academic setting?” At the time, the President at Brown University was looking for someone to do special project work on transitioning our campus electricity to renewable sources. Again, following the advice of choosing my boss along with the job, I moved back to Rhode Island to work for a great leader and on a topic that I was passionate about.
I got a sense of what government is like, how academia works and how the private sector fit into everything, especially within the scope of energy and technology policy. I realized that there was a gap that I needed to fill for myself in order to learn more about how the private sector truly operates. This need to learn led me to Booth.
If You Didn’t Have To Work What Would You Do:
Teach yoga and run a community center that is a wholesome space to encourage the experiences with meditation, reading, poetry and music. This center would also have an abundance of coffee. Really good coffee.
Do You Think That Aliens Exist?
Absolutely, there is no way we are the only ones here
Currently Reading / Listening to:
Energy, The Human History (Recommended by Gusty Clarke)
How I Built This
What do you think made you unique in the MBA application process?
Coming from the nonprofit world and bringing my perspective on how public sector would interact with private sector
What App Needs To Be Made:
An app that replicates a disco ball for impromptu dance parties
Favorite Disney Movie:
What’s The Hardest Lesson You’ve Learned Thus Far?
Follow your instinct and don’t let other people’s voices drown out your own
Favorite Booth Memory Thus Far:
Random walk Vietnam, the excitement of starting business school and meeting my new classmates in a country that was so welcoming of us was unforgettable
What Is Special About The Place where You Grew Up?
Armenia has the warmest people, the sweetest apricots, and the most beautiful mountain ranges
What Job Would You Be Terrible At :
A personal shopper, I am not a huge fan of shopping/ maybe would keep the items for myself 🙂
What Age Do You Want To Live Until:
Whatever age I’m meant to live until.
Favorite Place To Eat In Chicago:
S.K.Y, I love their root vegetable salad
Acadia has one of the best burgers
If you could live anywhere, where would You live?
Positano, Italy with its colorful buildings and the abundance of lemon trees
What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
The function of the Department of Energy – a lot of people don’t realize that the nuclear weapons are all housed under this agency!
What Industry Do You Think Will Be Revolutionized Soon?
Higher Education – especially in the wake of COVID
What Do You Wish You Knew More About:
Physics and the Outer Space
What Location Is At The Top Of Your Travel Bucket List?
Norway! I’d love to rent a car and drive through the country. But I guess I’d have to learn how to drive first!
What Lifestyle Changes Are You Trying To Make?
Finding balance in everything that I do
What was your summer Internship? Why did you pick it?
Investment Banking Associate at Bank of America in the Power and Renewables team. Having worked at the intersection of energy and technology policy, I was very interested in how the finance side of the energy and renewable technology space operates. Having worked at the Department of Energy and energy policy with the Obama Administration and later at Brown, investment banking will give me the opportunity to understand the financial decisions that CEOs and CFOs of major renewable companies and utilities make decisions from M&A to raising capital. Going back full-time will allow me to see this other side of this regulated utilities space.
What Fictional Place Do You Dream Of Going To?
Narnia, I took a whole semester of class in college on Narnia (so much for that biology degree)
How Will The World Be Different Post COVID-19?
When we return to our normal routine, people would enjoy the everyday activities which they once thought of as burdensome and mundane
What Is Worth Splurging On Everytime?
How Will You Make Your Life A “Good Life”?
By following my heart and not overthinking
Most Memorable Gift That You’ve Ever Received?
A turtle necklace by my Mom. Its a lockette, but I didn’t know until years later.
If Magic Was Real, Which Spell Would You Try First?
What Do You Think Makes A Good Friend – How Much Do You Live Up To Your Standards?
Someone who is not afraid to tell you how it is. I’d like to think that I am, but always trying to be better
What Do You Want To Get Out Of B-School?
I came to Booth without a background in economics and finance, so this degree has opened up that world to me. Plus I met so many interesting new people.
Best Trip Of Your Life Thus Far:
In high school, I did a homestay in Segovia, Spain for the summer to learn Spanish. It was my first time abroad and truly being independent. My favorite memories are sitting on the terrace overlooking an aqueduct with my host mom and discussing our lives in a new language
Who Do You Go Out Of Your Way To Be Nice To?
Grandparents / The Elderly
What Really Makes You Angry?
Favorite Candy / Snack:
Don’t plan too much
What Would Your Last Meal Be?
Feta cheese and cilantro on a lavash bread
What Is The Best Way That Someone Can Spend Their Time?
Taking a leisurely walk with a loved one
What was the Virtual Internship experience like?
The bank did an excellent job making the most of the situation and making sure the interns felt supported throughout the process. I learned an incredible amount and had excellent mentors who guided me throughout.
How Would You Describe Your Booth Experience:
The amount of support that the Booth community has for one another has been one that has surprised me the most. Especially the care that second years have for first years in guiding and advising them. The understanding that we are stronger together, and passing that culture on into the next year is remarkable