Ilya Firman '02: AUBG Offers Education for Professional and Personal Growth

Constant learning is part of Ilya Firman’s job. He is a software engineer at Google and has to update his knowledge every day to keep up with the demands of his job. Challenging as this sounds, the 2002 graduate admits he misses the opportunities he had at AUBG to challenge himself at analyzing literature and film, learning about history and philosophy.

The wide selection of general education courses was what Ilya enjoyed the most at AUBG. “Perhaps if I went to a technical university instead of AUBG, I could’ve taken more computer science classes. But then I would never have taken ‘Film Noir’ or ‘West of Everything’ or ‘Artistic Visions of Political Problems,’ and these are the classes I remember the most. They did not influence my career much, but they certainly influenced my world view and my interests beyond the career.”

Besides broadening his worldview, AUBG prepared Ilya well in both his majors - Computer Science and Business Administration. It helped him get into a top graduate business school, and later to embark on a successful career at Google.

At AUBG, Ilya was a member of the IT club in his senior year and technical director and website developer for the student publication FlashNews. “These projects gave me valuable practical experience in running real-world software projects,” Ilya says. He went on a student exchange trip to Hungary in his sophomore year, while as a junior he spent a year at the University of Maine. Ilya graduated from AUBG Magna Cum Laude and was on the Dean’s and President’s Lists for achieving a high GPA for several semesters.

Ilya believes that his AUBG education was crucial not just in terms of academic preparation but also for his development as an individual. “It taught me critical thinking, responsibility and open-mindedness. It helped me understand what I wanted to do with my life. It gave me friendships and connections that will last a lifetime.” It was at AUBG that Ilya met his wife, Hannah Firman, a 2002 graduate herself.  

Hannah and Ilya Firman

AUBG showed Ilya a world of possibilities and a path to reaching those possibilities. It taught him how to appreciate the diversity of cultures and opinions around him. According to Ilya, the greatest advantage of the liberal arts education is that “it gives you a wide selection of subjects to help you understand what you are good at and what you are interested in. It gives you an opportunity to learn about the things you love, not just the things that will help you make a living.”

Photos courtesy of Ilya Firman

We are Social