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One of the pleasures of being a Certified Management Consultant is to meet and collaborate with CMC peers from around the world. One such colleague is Altantuya Altankhuu (Tuya), currently the Chair of our management consulting Institute in Mongolia. In the spring of 2022 Tuya told her story: Consulting in Mongolia- a Personal Journey, to the members of our Institute in the UK.

I had the pleasure of working with Tuya in Mongolia, and more recently completing an 18 month virtual project with one of Mongolia’s leading retailers.

The feature picture from this article was taken (with my wife Donna in the foreground) during a day-off trip into the country with Tuya and other leading management consultants in Mongolia.

Tuya has and has kindly allowed me to reprint the text of her speech here.

Little did I imagine that when I started the Mongolian Management Consultants’ Institute (MMCI) in 2011 that I would have the honour and privilege to be where I am today.

I first learnt about the Institute of Consulting in 2012, when over 24 Mongolian consultants received core consultancy skills training from John Moore of Exponential Training and ICUK. Eight of the consultants who attended John’s training passed the examination and we all received Institute of Consulting UK certificates that made us feel as proud as any university graduate.

It has been an extremely interesting decade since we started operating

From communism to capitalism

Mongolia transited out of a command economy and into a democratic and free market economy in the early 1990s. During the past 30 years, we have witnessed a great deal of change.

In the first decade, money came from trading with China and Russia, plus starting up the private SME sector, combined with the privatisation of State-owned organisations.

The second decade, the 2000s, saw an attempt to invest money in an endeavour to make more by trying to put management systems and structures in place. There was a dawning realisation that there was a need to learn about management, along with the importance of education in doing business properly.

There was a dawning realisation that there was a need to learn about management

In the third decade, the need for training and consulting to help businesses to manage strategically in order to ensure sustainable development and survival in the marketplace was acknowledged. This has been a slow transition as the industry and commercial sectors begin to familiarise themselves with the services that management consultants can bring to them.

In Mongolia we have only one train, the Trans-Siberian, and it makes about six stops as it travels across the whole of the country – which is five times bigger than the UK.

And it has been an extremely interesting decade since we started operating in the early 2010s, with a handful of us working tirelessly to build the MMCI in parallel to building our own businesses. Currently, 95% of our 70,000 active companies employ fewer than five people and productivity in the SME sector in Mongolia is less than 30%.

It has also been very challenging for management consultants in our country, especially financially. As Mongolia transitioned to a market economy, many donor countries helped in this transition by subsidising all kinds of training programmes. However, as Mongolia has got back on its feet, the subsidies have begun to disappear, leaving only the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), who offer partial support, to help our sector.

Continuous growth

As a consultant in the area of strategic planning and organisational development, I have been seeing an increase in demand for management consultancy and a renewed willingness to pay for this service – as long as the consultants bring value, which is a major step! I began to witness a breakthrough as our consulting pioneers were recently celebrating their 30th anniversary, with some enterprises now employing consulting giants such as McKinsey.

Yet, unfortunately, the recognition of management consulting amongst other professions, such as accountants, lawyers, teachers and doctors, is not yet there. Businesses are reluctant to invest in something they don’t see as tangible, but the MMCI is working hard to change people’s views on this.

We have been working closely with the Government of Mongolia, the SME agency of Mongolia, as well as some international organisations and major banks to create an awareness of management consultancy and improve visibility – and we are slowly making our presence felt. It’s only the love of and belief in what we are doing that keeps us going.

Boosting development

By closely working with the ICMCI and some of its members, we have learnt that we can bring much more value to clients by being recognised as elite professionals. The MMCI became a full member of the ICMCI in 2020 and we can now certify local consultants. We have followed ISO 20700 standards since 2017 and it has been highly beneficial.

For me, helping my clients’ managers to be more effective is highly relevant for Mongolia

Currently the MMCI membership encompasses 80% of consultants in the field of SMEs. We have 12 CMCs and 40 MCMCs among our 84 members, which is only 10% of the total number of consultants that are registered by state. We have not been able to attract bigger consulting companies in Mongolia, however with the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification this is going to change.

For me, helping my clients’ managers to be more effective is highly relevant for Mongolia: my country’s vision is that by 2050 Mongolia will become a leading Asian country in terms of its social development, economic growth and its citizens’ quality of life. The MMCI aspires to realise this vision and create a better world through consultants’ and clients’ collaboration. The Government and the private sector are now beginning to work together in harmony in an effort to support one another to create a better society.

Altantuya Altankhuu CMC®, MBA is chairperson of the Mongolian Management Consultants’ Institute (MMCI) and lead delegate to the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI).