July 26, 2021 • By Eliana Chow
Some of Adroushan Mardirossian’s earliest memories of growing up in Torrance, California, take place in his father’s mechanic shop, where he spent summer days fixing cars and interacting with customers. “That was my first stepping stone into business,” says Mardirossian. “It wasn’t the most glamorous job, but the value in the experience was undeniable.”
When he wasn’t at the mechanic shop, Mardirossian was at the ice rink, where he played competitive ice hockey for over a decade. Every day, he worked to perfect his technique and hone his strategy. Over time, he began noticing broken hockey sticks discarded by the side of the rink. “Each hockey stick was $300, and I remember thinking there was no way a hockey stick could go from $300 to worthless with a single snap,” he says. “So I started collecting them, not knowing what I would do with them quite yet, even though my parents would scold me for stockpiling broken hockey sticks in my bedroom.”
At 12 years old, Mardirossian converted his seemingly eccentric hobby into a viable business venture. With some online research, he discovered companies across the U.S. that specialized in refurbishing broken hockey sticks. “I’d call these businesses with the deepest voice I could muster and was able to negotiate a decent paycheck for my collection of ‘trash,’” he laughs. Before long, he created an online platform to sell used hockey gear across the country. “From there, I branched out into selling used cars before I even had a driver’s license to my name.”
With a wide range of business management experiences under his belt, Mardirossian entered the University of California–Irvine and graduated in three years with a degree in business administration and minor in psychology and social behavior. Looking back, he credits his time at The Paul Merage School of Business with refining his skill set. “I grew with each and every class I took and learned how to think fast on my feet while clearly articulating my ideas,” he affirms.
During the 2020-2021 school year, Mardirossian became the inaugural recipient of the Merage School’s Giving Day Scholarship, which supports students whose journeys demonstrate what it looks like to live the American dream in meaningful and personal ways. In addition to providing welcome financial aid during the pandemic, the Giving Day Scholarship motivated Mardirossian to continue pursuing his passion for forging new paths to success in business.
“While it’s important to be internally motivated to persevere, it’s also affirming to be recognized for all the hard work I’ve put into my education and career,” he says. “I was ecstatic to hear I’d been selected for the scholarship, and I felt mentally refreshed to continue working hard in that final countdown to graduation.”
Jon Kaplan, assistant dean for the MBA and Specialty Masters Programs at the Merage School, contributed to the Giving Day Scholarship through a matching gift.
He said: “No doubt, the greatest joy one can experience in life is when one is able to contribute to and make a difference for another. In this particular case, my business degree has benefited me greatly and through my gift, I was thrilled to be able to pay my good fortune forward. Additionally, it was especially gratifying to offer a matching gift that emboldened others from our incredible staff to give as well.”
In August, Mardirossian will join Deloitte Consulting as a consulting analyst. “What ultimately pulled me toward management consulting was the ability to work with numerous businesses to help solve modern business problems, aiding in their growth and extracting their full potential,” he says. “I’m thrilled to embark on this new endeavor and I’m grateful to the UCI community for preparing me to begin the next chapter of my career.”