An active and supportive alumni network is one of the most important feats universities strive to achieve. Alumni are brand-ambassadors; their success is directly connected to their alma-matter, representing, to a large extent, the institution’s academic reputation locally and abroad. As such, in collaboration with professor Ina Tori, we decided to utilize UNYT’s cultivated alumni network to bring academic and professional value to our UNYT-Insider community.
During an excellent open lecture given last December, Anisa Vrenozi, a doctoral candidate and Scientific Assistant at the Center for Accounting Research at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria, was introduced as an alumnus of UNYT. Interested to know about her journey to international academic success, we conducted an interview that goes in-depth on life during and after her studies at UNYT.
Interviewer: Professor Anisa, let’s take a quick trip back in time. Why did you choose University of New York in Tirana and did it live up to your expectations?
Professor Anisa: The decision to trust my academic education to UNYT was based on many reasons. In my perspective, UNYT was and still is the best university in Albania. My first impression regarding this university was based on the excellent reputation in Albania and abroad, among the academic community, industry, and student networks. I started my journey in the field of Finance at UNYT in October 2009, being awarded a full scholarship after a very competitive examination process. I remember the rest as an excellent and challenging experience of learning – both academically and practically.
Interviewer: Professor Anisa, you graduated from University of New York in Tirana in 2015 with a master’s degree in Finance. Tell us about your college experience, challenges you faced along the way, and memories you hold dear to this very day.
Professor Anisa: For six years, I had the opportunity to study in amazing programs that offered contemporary and updated academic knowledge. The academic materials, such as books and software programs, were of extreme usefulness in transmitting cutting-edge knowledge, similarly to our fellow students in European and USA academic environment. Course organization, with multiple examinations within the semester, research papers, homework, and presentations, was a highly efficient combination to acquire knowledge and also develop further soft skills such as teamwork, deadline meeting, and presentation skills that are crucial for a successful career afterward.
Interviewer: What were your favorite classes? What did campus life look like back then?
Professor Anisa: My favorite classes include technical classes which were directly connected to my field of studies, such as Corporate Finance and Advanced Finance, However, I highly valued other classes which aimed at educating the social and human aspects, such as Civilization and Art classes, psychology and mythology. This combination was crucial in educating students, not only as professionals but also as decent and cultured individuals of society.
Additionally, University of New York in Tirana provided an excellent environment to develop a network of professionals and also fellow students. The professional and human relations established at UNYT supported me not only to develop a successful career but also in making lifelong friendships. As I remember back in those years, student social life was very active with lots of Clubs (Charity Club, Book Club, Drama Club, “Workaholic” Club, the monthly Newsletter, etc.), forums and conferences. I value them as life-changing social experiences.
Interviewer: How has your college experience at University of New York in Tirana impacted who you became in life both academically and personally?
Professor Anisa: My experience at UNYT highly shaped the individual I am nowadays. Academically, UNYT gave me the best education experience while being in my own hometown, Tirana. The entire experience shaped my mindset and perspective for the career and life and today I feel an accomplished individual, professionally and personally.
Interviewer: After graduation, you worked as a lecturer at University of New York in Tirana. Now you are a doctorate candidate and scientific assistant at the Center for Accounting Research at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz , Austria. Tell us about the moment you decided to pursue a career in academia, rather than in the Finance industry. What sparked your interest initially?
Professor Anisa: My passion for academia and teaching has been in my thoughts since early in the initiation of my academic journey at UNYT. Being a lecturer for two years at UNYT (2015-2017), not only confirmed this passion of mine but also provided me the self-confidence and assurance that this is a career path I want to passionately follow. In this sense, the teaching experience has been one of the best experiences of my life. Being able to transmit knowledge and interact with curious minds, motivated me daily to give my best human and professional potential. Additionally, the research experience, which I now experience as a doctoral student of the DART program at the Center of Accounting Research at Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, has complemented me with another perspective of academia. Being updated with the latest knowledge from elite professors in the field, confronting and discussing topics with brilliant minds and fellow students worldwide and researching a topic of interest, have proven to be an extraordinary experience to complement my academic knowledge, and further pursue a career in the field. Hence, I would value my experience of doctoral studies as complementing and further enforcing my passion for academia.
Interviewer: What advice do you have for University of New York in Tirana students?
Professor Anisa: To be successful in academic studies and also have a cutting-edge competitive advantage in their chosen field, students should combine robust academic knowledge with updated technical skills. UNYT provides an excellent environment to fully support them to become well-prepared and competent young professionals and decent citizens. As such. they must benefit from each and every of such opportunity. Most importantly, students should not stop their academic career once they graduate, but rather work to constantly update their knowledge in order to be always competitive in the respective field of practice.
Kejsi is a sophomore at University of New York in Tirana. His “a-ha!” lightbulb moment in life was the second he realized that words carry the vibration needed to serve as a source of inspiration, encouragement, and life-changing revelations. As such, he utilizes the power of storytelling to connect with people on a deeper level of humanity. At Insider, he is Editor-in-Chief for the 1st Managerial Board. He seeks to bring into spotlight social issues that have long been the cause of injustice and inequality in our society.