Olympian balances academics, athletics while at KU

Alexandra Emilianov graduated from the School of Business this spring with a major in information systems.

Alexandra Emilianov

Athletics have always been a big part of Alexandra “Sasha” Emilianov’s life. She was recruited from her native country, Moldova, to compete as part of the Jayhawk Track and Field team throwing discus and shot put, and she even represented Moldova in discus at the Tokyo Olympics.

But this spring, she’s celebrating a very different accomplishment: graduating from the School of Business with a major in information systems.

Emilianov always had an interest in computers, which drew her to study information systems, a major that prepares students to use information technology in business and organizational settings.

“I took a class in IST about cybersecurity, and I understood that this is what I want to do,” she said. “I am very grateful to School of Business for helping me find what I like and helping me learn from real-life cases.”

But balancing her studies and rigorous athletics schedule proved challenging, Emilianov said.

“You wake up, go to class; after class you go to practice; after practice you have another class, and around 5 p.m. I would be free,” she explained. “Later, I get home, have my dinner and I have to start doing homework. There would be times when I had to stay up until 4 a.m. doing homework and go back to class at 9:30 a.m.”

Most professors were understanding of her grueling schedule, and Emilianov worked to submit assignments before she traveled for athletic events. She also found time to enjoy small moments as part of the School of Business community. Emilianov said one of her favorite memories was the Back to School BBQ hosted in front of Capitol Federal Hall last fall.

“I called my friend and told him he had to leave his class earlier and come eat barbecue with me,” she recalled.

The same weekend she graduated from KU, Emilianov won her third-career Big 12 discus throw title, and she sees both athletics and business being a big part of her future. She is currently in the process of applying for KU’s MBA program but will also continue training for the next summer Olympics.

“I have a plan to practice until Paris 2024,” she said, “and after that we will see.”

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Stories highlighting School of Business students graduating as part of the Class of 2022

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KU School of Business

KU School of Business

Stories about the students, alumni, faculty and staff of the University of Kansas School of Business.

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