From Bentley to Converse: Lessons Learned

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How a Lifetime of Learning and Encouragement Can Make a Difference

Bentley alumnus Mike Sarmanian ’12 has had a colorful career path since graduating in 2012. Sarmanian, who received a bachelor’s degree in accounting, first worked as a financial analyst at The Boston Globe. Next, he became an operations analyst at Bright Horizons, a child care and early education provider.

In March 2015, Sarmanian moved on to his current position as a financial analyst with shoe company Converse. As part of the company’s segment finance team, he works with its different regions around the globe to compile accurate information so that the company can make more informed financial decisions. He also works on forecasting, budgeting and long-range planning, and provides insights on diverse requests from various departments.

Here are three lessons he picked up along the way:

  1. Always Be Learning

“My accounting classes at Bentley were invaluable in helping me develop knowledge of how businesses run, how to read and analyze various reports, and how financial information is vital for a company’s strategy,” says Sarmanian. “And the general business classes for which we worked in teams prepared me for this collaborative work environment.”

But it wasn’t only the business classes that Sarmanian found valuable. He also greatly enjoyed the astronomy, psychology and literature courses he took.

“My interest in these topics continues today,” he says. “I think it’s important to always be learning, even if it’s not directly tied to your career.”

In addition to his coursework, Sarmanian took part in service-learning while at Bentley, most notably with the Boys and Girls Club of Waltham. His experiences have inspired him to stay involved in his Boston community.

Learn more about how service-learning is important to education.


  1. Encourage New Opportunities

But it was Sarmanian’s finance internship with Charles River Laboratories that led him away from an accounting career.

“I found [being a financial analyst] much more interesting than strict accounting,” he says.

For that reason, Sarmanian urges current students to not feel tied down by their major.

“One of the great things about Bentley is that you learn about all aspects of business, not just your major,” he says. “That, combined with Bentley’s great reputation, provides the opportunity to have a wide range of choices when starting your career.”

Sarmanian says his biggest regret is not studying abroad during his time at Bentley, since the opportunity to spend months in another country doesn’t often arise when working full-time.


  1. Keep Social Connections

His favorite memory of college? The great friends he made there, many of whom he is still close with today.

“Senior trip to the Bahamas is a close second!” he says.

Clearly Sarmanian is a people person, so it’s no surprise that he says the people are the best part of his job at Converse.

“Converse is a company that not only allows people to be themselves, but encourages it,” he says. “Having so many different personalities together allows for new and innovative ideas and decisions.”

Presented By:

Jennifer Marino Walters is a Washington, D.C.-based writer whose work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Scholastic magazines, and more. She blogs at Double Duty Twins.