Ian Bromage - IT Specialist in Mongolia
Bachelors Degree in Business and Cultural Studies
Working for a large multinational company.
Ian travelled to Mongolia for three months, using his experience gained from years of working with big business to help a developing software company in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. This is what he had to say about the project
"For me, the challenge was to assess a young software development company and make recommendations to improve the management processes and increase market share. Previously I had worked in a large multinational, but now I had to operate without the vast resources that I had become accustomed to. However, what I could depend upon was the enthusiasm and hospitality of my Mongolian colleagues. Their willingness to learn, accept change and take risks to grow their business should serve as an inspiration to many Western managers."
The Project Partner
He worked with the Interactive Software Company who had recently been set up to provide software solutions for the computer systems used by the Mongolian government and large firms in the capital. While they were a relatively new company, they had experience of working with tight budgets and a lack of facilities and resources. This meant that they were able to educate Ian on a slightly different way of doing business and help him to appreciate the reality of life in a developing country. At the same time, they were keen to learn from his experience and he was able to advise them on ways to improve their management processes and increase their market share. Ian felt that he was able to make a real difference and learned a lot from the way in which the company directors worked with such meagre resources.
Role of the Volunteer
Ian’s role at the company included the following:
- Assessing and analysing the existing management structures in place at the company and using his experience in business to suggest and implement improvements.
- Looking for ways for the company to increase their market share.
- Helping to produce a new business plan, taking into account his proposed changes.
- Working with the directors to formulate a new marketing strategy for the company.
Benefits to the community
The work of Interactive along with Ian’s added help have combined to provide the following benefits to the local community:
- The company has managed to grow considerably over the last few years, resulting in the need to hire more staff from the local community.
- They are now providing an example to other local entrepreneurs and start up companies who will be able to use their experience to grow and improve the local economy.
- New jobs have increased the average wage in the local area and the extra money will be spent on other local businesses, gradually improving local infrastructure and standard of living.
"Mongolia is a remote country, but as a volunteer with Projects Abroad I never felt isolated. Oko the country manager ensured that volunteers were introduced to each other and often took us for group picnics in the countryside. One quickly discovered that Mongolian picnics did not consist of dainty cucumber sandwiches, but instead involved vast mountains of food, so before coming to Mongolia ensure you pack a hearty appetite. It seems a Mongolian can consume an entire sheep in one sitting.
My first impression of Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia's capital, was of a dreary city that sat uneasily in the natural splendour of the steppe. But the harsh exterior masks the warmest of hearts and exuberant character as the people of Mongolia always extend the traditional hospitality of the nomads to visitors.
It is perhaps the vastness of the countryside that is the most awe inspiring feature of the Mongolian landscape. It is rare to have the opportunity to experience such pristine wilderness and your mode of transport may range from jeep to kayak, horse to camel.
Mongolia is a place where the winters may be cold but the welcome is always warm and where your skills will always be appreciated.”
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Programme Advisors.