Nikos is a great example of an AISB alumnus, attending AISB from 1999. From academics to sports he was always part of the community. He achieved so much in all of the years spent at AISB.
|29 Sep 2019|
|WM Summer 2019 Celebrating Family Connections|
WM: Why do you consider AISB important and dedicate some of your time to the AISB Alumni Association?
NK: AISB has played a very important role in my life. My journey at AISB has been a fantastic one. I had the opportunity to be taught by great mentors, meet some of my life time long friends, discover and play the sports I enjoy and grow up in community that prepared me for the future both academically and personally- with the right academic knowledge and community values that set me up for success in my future endeavours.
Throughout my academic career at AISB, I always worked to give back to our community. I was fortunate enough to serve the AISB family under various student body positions and community service groups. For example, Vice-President of Student Council, President of Amnesty International, President of Sports Club, Habitat for Humanity etc. Reflecting back on those experiences they were certainly some of my most fulfilling experiences at AISB.
When I found out about the opportunity to serve as the Treasurer for the AISB Alumni Association I was absolutely thrilled. Throughout my two years in Bucharest I have worked with some amazing people! It has been an absolute honor to have worked with the association and to have been a part of all the great achievements we have accomplished. I am sure that the Association will continue to grow and will continue to do and achieve remarkable things for the community. As I now have moved to Canada I look forward to continuing to serve the AISB community in Canada as the current Canadian delegate for the Association.
It was always logical to give back to the community in this way, to help provide others with the same opportunities and the sense of community that was provided to me – that was the legacy I wanted to leave behind at AISB.
WM: When at AISB, how did you find the IB and the other activites you were exposed to? (sports, travels etc)
NK: My overall academic experience at AISB was remarkable – sure, there were some ups and downs; stress about exam results, will the coach put me on the court in the second half, I wish next period was lunch not math (laughs) but all necessary for the learning journey itself.
Let’s start with the International Baccalaureate program first. I believe that now reflecting on it all – the IB program was one of the most difficult and at the same time most rewarding experiences I went through at AISB. The program really challenged me to achieve not only my academic growth but also to develop an inquiring mindset – the later has made a significant impact in my post academic career.
The sports curriculum in AISB is absolutely amazing and truly prepares students with excellent lessons in leadership and sportsmanship. I had the opportunity to play a series of sports: football, basketball, softball, etc. Overall great memories from my athletic involvement at AISB: victories on the pitch, funny stories, great advice and lessons from my coaches, making friends from other international schools, traveling to new cities etc.
WM: What did you go onto study in University and how is it helping you now. A lot of students worry about what to focus on, did you make the right choice?
NK: I was fortunate enough to receive the Capstone Scholarship and the M Psilos Business Scholarship which really enabled me to study at the University of South Carolina School of Business. I double majored in international business and global supply chain management, with a minor in Spanish. Both of those degrees prepared me for my future career, consultant of operations with a focus on operational excellence, and how you use operations to modify behaviors and achieve a better result. My two degrees really helped shape and prepare my future. I would encourage students considering what to focus on, to explore more than one degree in University. It really does allow a bigger spectrum of opportunity, you’re exposed to different fields, even if it’s in the same school, it gave me different perspectives and made me more competitive.
WM: Did you feel you were prepared academically for the University of South Carolina?
NK: I believe that the IB program really prepared me for my first year at university. I saw many advantages in completing the IB program. First of all it is a very well-known and respected curriculum among universities, which allows for extra course credits that are particularly helpful in college. Second it provided me with the necessary academic base that eased my transition into university. If I went back - I would do it all over again.
WM: After completing your studies what career path did you choose and why?
After I completed my studies in the US, I returned to Bucharest to work for PwC Romania. It was an amazing experience and I worked with some amazing people. I had the opportunity to do what I always wanted to do. I started in operations consulting with a focus on operational excellence. The two years in PwC Romania have been remarkable. More than a year ago I decided to explore a new market. I decided to move to Toronto, Canada with PwC and continue my consulting career.
WM: Your career has allowed you to travel a lot, tell us more about that.
NK: I was fortunate enough that in my career I have had the opportunity to travel and explore a lot of new places. I have worked around the world including: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Perth (Australia), London (UK), Mexico City (Mexico), Montreal (Canada) ect.
Having the opportunity to travel and work in different economic landscapes and work with stakeholders from different cultural backgrounds has really helped me grow as a professional. I have equally enjoyed all the places that I have lived and traveled for work – each has its unique characteristics. Traveling is vital for personal growth and I would encourage our students to travel and explore new places and learn from those experiences.
Nicolas Kougionas (Nikos) was Treasurer of the AISB Alumni Association during 2016-2018 and a dedicated part of the Alumni Executive Committee. Nikos was meant to take the role of the Vice President of the Association, but in an attempt to attract additional ambitious team members, gave the position to a newcomer and took on the important role of treasurer.
As the current president of the alumni association, I know how strongly Kougionas believes in the mission and people of the Alumni Association.
He has done everything in his power to encourage connection, build a program, and support alumni in coming together and supporting each other. Read on for more about his experiences at AISB and beyond:
Nikos you have been part of AISB for a very long time and continue to be involved even if you are a continent away.
Nikos is a great example of an AISB alumnus, he started attending AISB back in 1999. From academics to sports he was always part of the community. He achieved so much in all of the years spent at AISB and then after returning back to Romania after completing his degree he came back to his community and served in the AISB Alumni Association. Dedication, work ethic, fresh ideas, a down to earth attitude and a wonderful energy is how he approaches everything he does.
Even now after he has moved a continent away, in Canada, he still is part of the Alumni Association, and always helps us out with anything he can. Nikos really is a successful and responsible global citizen in that he does add value to his community no matter where he is, and is inspired to help others achieve their potential as well.
Interview & Commentary
by Alex Cristescu
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