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Insights and Perspectives from Industry: MBA Hosts Open Session

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — On April 19, the American University of Armenia (AUA) Master of Business Administration (MBA) program hosted Hayk Lorikyan, deputy CEO and chief business development officer at the Galaxy Group of Companies. The guest speaker particularly focused on the “Strategic Foresight and Execution” that has helped the holding company develop agile approaches to successfully overcome rapid changes in the business landscape and remain competitive. 

The session was initiated by MBA Program Chair and Associate Professor Dr. Mane Beglaryan who attaches significant importance on building good relationships between the University and industry. The primary objective of the session was to expose students to Galaxy group’s success story and hear the speaker’s insights and perspectives on multiple topical business issues. 

The guest speaker first presented the structure of the Galaxy Group of Companies, demonstrating how vertical and horizontal integration afford agility to pool in the necessary talent for business development and deployment, and to identify and pursue unique business opportunities, ranging from hospitality to entertainment, retail, telecommunications, and IT. Emphasizing the importance of strategy building for the success of any large company, he elaborated that the process involves more than just setting goals and objectives; it is more about understanding the market dynamics, analyzing the competition, and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the company to determine whether a new project organically fits into its overall vision and leads to desired outcomes. According to Lorikyan, a well-crafted strategy could give a company the competitive edge to help it achieve its long-term goals.

Lorikyan went on to discuss some of the key elements of strategy building, highlighting the importance of understanding the market, most importantly customer needs, trends, and behaviors. He noted that a complex strategy that lacks focus can lead to confusion and could fail to align with the vision of the organization, therefore hinder its success.

The session also touched upon the evolutionary path of Galaxy Group: how it has emerged from a family business into a holding comprising multiple companies, as a result of the “checks and balances” embedded in its corporate governance. 

The speaker also covered other business concepts answering questions from attendees about the challenges of balancing short-term and long-term goals and the need for flexibility in the face of highly volatile market conditions; the importance of involving key stakeholders in the strategy-building process; and the role of effective communication across all groups to ensure that everyone in the company is working toward the same goals.

Through the use of specific examples, the speaker also discussed how the Galaxy Group of Companies has successfully implemented its own strategy-formulation process, how it has identified new opportunities, diversified its portfolio, and expanded into new markets, including Belarus, Georgia, and Uzbekistan.

AUA alumna Elina Gabrielyan (MBA ’11), the deputy CEO of Business Operations at the Galaxy Group of Companies also joined the session to share her perspective and experience in strategy building, particularly in the areas of operations, human resources, and logistics. She spoke about the importance of understanding the internal operations of the company and aligning the strategy with the organization’s capabilities and resources.

The session was followed by Q&As to allow participants to raise questions and delve deeper into strategy formulation and execution. This allowed exploring a diverse range of aspects complementing the attendees’ understanding of the topic and associated context.

Industry-academia connecting sessions of this nature provide hands-on experience to students of the MBA program and fulfill the Program’s goal of preparing future professionals the knowledge and competencies to drive them ahead in the existing marketplace. They are also meant to sharpen students’ vision and strategy on how to start and grow a business rapidly despite the peculiarities of the Armenian market, while taking advantage of global developments that could drive changes in the local context.

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.