This Spring, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE) was proud to host students from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business (TSB). From two different continents and countries, students came together in a collaboration to implement a rapid consultancy project with Yerevan Brandy Company (YBC). Five teams worked to prepare strategy recommendations for YBC’s expansion into the US market and presented their findings to AUA students, faculty, and YBC representatives.
Strategies were developed based on information provided by YBC, a tour of the factory, sampling products, and a Q&A with Karine Madelrieu, Sales and Marketing Director of YBC. After the proposals were presented, YBC selected one strategy that best suited the company. Artyom Yepremyan, a Bachelor of Arts in Business (BAB) student at AUA, who was part of the team that crafted the selected strategy said, “It was a great experience to see how ideas and perceptions of people from the United States and Armenia are getting mixed into new ideas. Also, it was a great surprise for my American counterparts that my educational background was sufficient to be able to fully participate in discussions as I did not encounter any problems with understanding the terms or business models. All in all, it was a great and valuable experience, and I do hope that our suggestions will be of help to YBC.”
Another BAB student, Artur Aghajanyan, noted that while working on this project, he obtained a wealth of experience and knowledge. “As a result I once again decided that I will apply to MBA program to further enhance my experience and knowledge in various fields of business,” he adds.
Stephiney Foley, a Tuck student said, “Armenia was an eye-opening experience that provided insights to a very young country that is trying to bounce back after a plethora of unfortunate series of occurring. I think one of the more memorable days for me was visiting the Impact Hub and Idea foundation. It was great to see the country be so progressive in thoughts and passionate in social change.”
“I’m taking back to the US appreciation for Armenia as a developing nation, thoughts on how to source IT work here, and a taste for Armenian food, wine, and brandy!” Steven Kelly, an MBA student at TSB noted with enthusiasm. While prior to his visit Steven expected to see high levels of poverty, Soviet bloc, and little exposure to Western culture, at the end he noted that, “Everyone we met was very forward-looking and passionate about developing Armenia.” Together with 25 peers, Steven traveled to Armenia within the course of Global Insight Expeditions (GIXs). Beginning with classroom sessions and establishing ties with CBE, the group spent their spring break in Armenia with professor Stephen Powell.
“For my students, I think the outcomes included getting to know an AUA student, and thereby getting to know an Armenian roughly their age; addressing a typical business challenge but for an Armenian company with its own local issues; and working with the people at YBC who were uniformly impressive. Overall I would rate it as one of the very best aspects of our entire trip. My students were very proud of the work they did, especially given the very limited time they had, and they felt that they engaged with Armenia in a depth that is hard to achieve any other way,” noted Mr. Powell.
Reflecting on the project, Karen Sarkavagyan, CBE professor and AUA’s coordinator of the project, said, “The cooperation, was, in fact, a continuation of an event that took place two years ago with TSB, and this is a continuous relationship for AUA. The previous event was a classroom discussion, however this time we worked to create a more substantial and engaging project.”
Ms. Madelrieu, who was also present during strategy presentation remarked, “What we saw has absolutely amazed us not just in terms of business approach and analysis but most importantly with the level of emotional involvement. We believe the task that the students have been assigned with will provide them with valuable takeaways for their future business activations. Moreover, we hope that this experience will become a gateway for wider cooperation, promote entrepreneurial spirit and contribution to local communities.”
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.