Invest Magazine Armenia interview with Silva Mesropyan, Executive Director of IMC Armenia
In celebration of IMCA's 10th anniversary
IMC Armenia as an institute. What is its main function?
The Armenian Institute of Management Consulting, better known in the market as the IMC Armenia brand, was founded in 2011. The motivation of creating the organization was the participation of a training course organized by the EBRD, which encouraged six Armenian consultants to establish the Institute of Management Consulting in Armenia and to join ICMCI. The main goal of the organization is the development of consulting in local market and the provision of services in accordance with high professional standards by qualifying consultants according to international standards. This initiative became very contagious for local consultants, through joint efforts, the organization was established, which acts as an association of consultants. IMC Armenia's role is to promote business consulting, develop local consultants, adhere to professional ethics and bring consulting practices in line with international standards. The institute has both a development mandate and an advocacy function. IMC Armenia targets consultants.
How do you assess the activity of this structure in country, what has changed it in the Armenian business environment?
This year IMC Armenia marks the 10th anniversary, which is a significant indicator of the organization's stability, growth, improvement and active operation. This decade of the structure can be considered as a period of development, when the role of consulting in the market was further emphasized and strengthened, the capabilities of local consultants were refined and improved, brought in line with international standards, bridges of effective and useful cooperation with local and international organizations During these years, the structure has maintained its image, targeted consulting, has not deviated from its mandate to protect the interests of the sector, develop the sector and promote the role of consulting in economic development.
IMC Armenia operates as the only national consulting institute and is officially accredited by the ICMCI, and in 2017 the organization became a Provisional member. In 2014, IMC Armenia participated in the Gabriel Al Salam “Consulting Without Borders” Award in Kiev and was named the Most Dynamic National Institute.
Who are the members of this structure?
The target of the organization are consultants and consulting companies. The institute is currently joined by leading market consultants, who apply their experience both in Armenia and in a number of other countries. Many of them manage the most famous consulting companies in the market, are certified consultants of international organizations, represent almost all branches of the field: finance, human resources, marketing and PR, management systems, internal operations, etc. The list of our members also includes specialized consultants in the field of horeca, vehicle aftersales consulting, insurance, IT and other fields. The differences in the expertise of our consultants enable us to cover all areas of business development services and to provide a wide range of business problem-solving tools. The list of members has changed over the years, but the presence of a growing number of new members helps to expand the scope and structure of services.
What can they give to the Armenian economy and business environment?
Consulting is considered one of the top professions in the world because of its efficiency, tangible results and significant impact on economic development. The business needs a consultant at all stages of its existence, through its specialization, external expertise, consulting, problem solving, or consulting guidance. No matter how important the role of consulting is considered by the business, it becomes a necessity at some stage. The benefits provided by consultants to the country's economy and business environment are multifaceted: sectoral research and analysis, business modeling and development / investment programs, financial forecasting and analysis, management systems and quality standards, training and coaching, in-house consulting and implementation. These consulting interventions have a direct and significant impact on the recovery and progress of the economic environment.
What path do people take to become members of this institution?
IMC Armenia is a community of professional consultants with three levels of membership: Full, Associate and Affiliate Members. Only professional and experienced consultants with many years of experience and high recognition can become full members. It should be noted that in order to qualify for the CMC, the consultant must have only full membership. Associate membership is for less experienced and novice consultants when professionals want to join the professional community and gain experience. Affiliate membership is for more followers when professionals want to simply follow the industry and build capacity through the exchange of experience with professional consultants. At present, our members of the association are mostly full members and a small number of associate members, which indicates a high level of experience and professionalism of the organization. In the coming years it is planned to expand the membership and include consulting companies, students and other representatives who will provide new experience and areas. The involvement of students is aimed at rejuvenating the field, which is followed by international institutions.
What does a qualified consultant mean?
IMC Armenia is a provisional member of ICMCI and presents the CMC certification, which is the most recognized consultant qualification in the world, recognized in more than 50 countries. The peculiarity of this consulting is that it confirms the compliance of the consultant's experience with international standards, ethical norms, methodology and competencies. A qualified management consultant must have sufficient ongoing consulting experience and high ethical standards to have his or her experience assessed in accordance with international standards. We should be proud to say that Armenian consultants were the first to receive an international qualification in the South Caucasus and our market is considered the strongest in the region. Many of our consultants are currently assessors, mentors, qualification committee members of CMC GI, and provide training for consultants in more than 50 countries around the world.
What is the difference between a "qualified consultant" and a person with higher education and specialization in a certain field?
Management consulting is not included in the education system of Armenia as a profession and the consultant develops his /her professional skills through experience and non-formal education. Going this way, the consultant is not always convinced that the services are provided in accordance with the standards. There are international standards developed for any profession, the certification of which confirms the high quality features and specialization of the specialist. CMC qualification has been implemented in Armenia since 2018 and at present we already have well-qualified and re-qualified consultants. Qualification processes help the consultant work in a more systematic and orderly manner, understanding the roles and actions of consultants on the right "shelves". In addition, a recognized qualification facilitates the consultant's marketing and promotion. It is very important that the business environment correctly evaluates the cooperation with a qualified consultant, as it will provide a more guaranteed quality and guarantee of professional behavior.
What are the plans ahead?
We are proud to celebrate the 10th anniversary of IMC Armenia, which forces us to build more ambitious and ambitious goals. IMC Armenia is currently in the process of becoming a full member of ICMCI, which will enable it to qualify independently and apply for its full international membership mandate.
The 10th anniversary event includes a series of professional interviews to help the business community discover all the benefits of consulting. In addition, we plan to push local consultants to the international market by introducing them to various international awards, competitions and opportunities.
During the new decade, IMC Armenia will expand its services and scope of cooperation due to a new strategy. In the coming years, it is planned to expand the scope both within the consulting market and in terms of increasing partnerships.