AK-47s in Mongolia

Day 0 We arrive in Ulan Bator airport in Mongolia at 11:30PM. Poor Jason and Yonghan. Their luggage didn’t seem to want to come along. Probably somewhere in limbo… Jason’s spirits are low, but a company car comes to pick us up. We crash into our apartment for work the next morning.

Day 1 We join the client’s senior executive management’s monthly meeting. Jason and Yonghan question the status quo, by wearing the same casual clothes from the last 48 hours, while everyone else is looking sharp in suits. Good way to represent Haas 😉

Our client is a conglomerate, employing over 1,800 people in its diversified portfolio of group companies across Infrastructure, Telecommunications, Information Technology, Civil Aviation, Financial Services, Real Estate and Renewable Energy sectors.

Projects Yonghan and Alex are assigned to projects in the telecom business. Jason and I are at the holding company assigned to an interesting CSR project. Our mission: to develop a business model and marketing materials for partner investors, to establish the first American University in Mongolia to impact the overall higher education reforming in Mongolia. (see Jason’s blog for background)

As mentioned by Jason, our original project was cancelled at the last minute, so we arrived unprepared. No problem. Jason and I are ex-consultants-and ready for anything. We get up to speed in a few days. I get to apply my newly acquired finance and financial modeling skills and quickly build a DCF model from scratch with data tables capturing multiple scenarios and sensitivity to changes in the drivers.

Week 2 In order to validate our hypothesis, Jason and I interview local potential investors and clients, including CEOs and HR Directors. We even attend The Business Council of Mongolia. We continue to refine our model and create marketing materials for our client to sell the concept to potential partners.

We look forward to making our final presentation next week. In addition to our core deliverables, we have some creative ideas in our back pocket to recommend to our client on the business strategy and an approach on how to operationalize it. Who are we presenting to? The CEO, a former Executive Director in Investment Banking at JP Morgan in New York. We remember. Confidence without attitude!

Extra-curricular Food: For the gourmet-oriented, you will love this country if you are a meat-lover! Vegans, little hope for you here…

Things to do: There are many things to do in Mongolia, but you can also go out near a military base. We got to fire a real Russian AK-47, WW I era machine guns, a sniper rifle, and a few different type of handguns. Best of all, I fired an RPG. (see Facebook) Beyond yourself!

Final comments IBD is not only a good opportunity to apply the tools you learned in school and gain international business experience, but it’s also a good transition between school and your summer internship – you get to enjoy an international getaway and slowly get back to work-mode. If you’re considering Haas, go for it. Student Always!

—Taka Uenishi

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