MSM Students Complete Consulting Projects for Companies
The MSM Capstone project is the culminating course for students in the Master of Science in Management (MSM) Program at the American University of Armenia (AUA). Students in the program are expected to integrate and apply knowledge gained from finance, accounting, operations, marketing, and organizational behavior courses, which is achieved through the implementation of a real-life project.
Partner companies are invited to bring forward project proposals that span across various specialization practices, such as market research, strategy analysis, business plan development, or forecasting based on data analysis. Students are expected to demonstrate advanced analytical skills and the ability to synthesize knowledge and methodology. The projects are important and useful for both the students and the companies.
The student teams produced a detailed report at the end of their projects and delivered informative presentations after two months of hard work. The profile of this year’s partner companies and select team testimonials are listed below.
Narim Ltd. is an Armenian import company that specializes in household goods and food products. The company has recently launched its online shop and needed to make changes and advancements to its website, such as site redesign, email marketing, and an incorporated bonus system. Thus, the project required conducting an experimental analysis through video installation, website development, tracking, and analysis to determine the benefits and advantages the specified changes would deliver upon implementation.
Within the scope of the capstone project, a group of AUA graduate students completed the digital marketing and sales consulting for Narim Ltd. The group offered important pointers and content for improving the company brand and expanding its website reach, while recommending additional steps that would positively affect the company sales and boost traffic of Narim Ltd.’s social media pages and eCommerce website.
Armenia Insurance Limited Liability Company (LLC) provides a wide range of insurance services to individuals and legal entities. The company has been operating successfully in the Armenian market since 2004 and has been awarded many Information Security Management and Quality Management certificates.
Armenia Insurance, LLC came forth with a proposal for students to analyze the company’s existing methods for measuring the costs of products and services. The purpose of the consulting project was to calculate the average cost of the health insurance package offered by the company. The student team conducted two types of market research and analyzed the company’s position in the market based on several criteria. The team worked to determine the general operation of the market to be able to distinguish among the main advantages and disadvantages, and to recommend ways for capitalizing the advantages and turning disadvantages to favorable features.
The project partnered with the Tavush Governor’s office to assess the Tavush region’s long-term and short-term market potential in local, regional and international markets. The focus of the analysis was on the market potential of several horticultural products that grow in the region, such as walnut, hazelnut, persimmon, fig, and cornelian cherry. The student group researched and analyzed the regional and international trends of these types of crops and offered potential solutions for improving the competitive advantage of the Tavush region.
“The project was interesting, challenging, and a very valuable experience. We used our marketing and finance knowledge for analysis and to offer pertinent recommendations. Our knowledge from operations management and behavioral economics courses were vital for using certain coordination tools and understanding farmers’ biases toward certain aspects of business. This project showed us that we can rely on our university knowledge to move further and achieve success,” the team comments.
Riviera Capital CJSC acted as a consultant in the acquisition of Milko CJSC, a small, fast-growing cheese producer located in the outskirts of Yerevan. The company’s vision is to promote the growth of profitable, sustainable, and socially responsible companies with important economic benefits through the mediation of foreign investors, including the Armenian diaspora, to participate in investment opportunities in Armenia.
The student team examined the subsegment of ethnic cheeses in the wider dairy market in both Armenia and Russia and determined methods to enhance the competitiveness of the company.
Also, the student team addressed topics such as market demand for a variety of cheeses (halloumi, akkawi, labne, feta) in Eurasian Economic Union member countries and Georgia. The analysis covered available alternatives and commensurate recommendations for market entry the competitive environment of Milko products, including retail and wholesale prices of competing products, product and pricing strategies, marketing alternatives, participation in key trade shows, use of targeted marketing approaches, product shipping approaches, and adherence to requirements regarding export procedures and certification of dairy products.
Armenia Wine LLC is a major player in the wine industry with a wide array of wine, vodka, brandy, and sparkling wine production. The company has created and continues to maintain a strong positive brand reputation, both locally and internationally, devoting much effort into making the best price-to-quality offers to its customers. The ultimate aim of this project was to suggest ways for increasing the effectiveness and productivity of company operations.
The team provided an analysis and evaluation of the operations and supply chain of Armenia Wine Factory LLC. The entire supply chain was examined including four key areas: planning, procurement, inventory management and delivery.
“The successful completion of the project is a result of all our team members’ hard work and dedication. We applied the knowledge gained throughout our studies and made recommendations to the Armenia Wine Factory, which we hope will be helpful to grow the company. This project gave us a deeper understanding of how production and supply chain networks operate, what issues may arise, and how those issues can be eliminated. We are sure that this unforgettable experience and what we learned will be helpful in our career paths,” the team remarks.
Supervisor Khachik Badeyan reflects, “I am a firm believer that these capstone projects are at the core of career growth for students and young professionals. Mentoring students in their capstone project is one of the cornerstones of the MSM program. The capstone project takes students out of their comfort zone and allows them to work on non-hypothetical problems, together with mentors both from the respective company and the University. It’s also a great way to share the best practices we employ and teach at AUA with companies in Armenia.”
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.