Ten Questions - Baya Tuvshintugs

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Baya Tuvshintugs is an MBA graduate from ENPC School of International Management, France. She now runs her own consulting business in Mongolia and central Asia, which she hopes to expand to include clients outside the business circle, such as the nomads of the region.

Ms Tuvshintugs grew up in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and spent her summers with her grandmother, a nomad, living in the countryside. She moved to the US in 2000, to study for a Bachelor of Science in business administration at Towson University in Maryland, then moved to Denmark to complete a Master of Science in finance and strategic management in 2008 at Copenhagen Business School. In 2010 she was awarded her MBA, after having been nominated for the AACSB MBA Student of the Year Award.

Prior to setting up her own business, Ms Tuvshintugs worked as a supply chain graduate trainee at Novo Nordisk A/S, a pharmaceutical company based in Denmark and Brazil. She also has experience as a budget analyst from working at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the US.

Ms Tuvshintugs enjoys running, dancing and reading historical novels. She volunteers at an orphanage and plans to adopt a child in the future.

1. What is your earliest / favourite memory of school?

I once made a public speech about gender equality when I was in high school. I said there should be a same standard set for both genders in all sports because we only achieve what we set our eyes on. The then-president of Mongolia, an elderly gentleman named Mr Ochirbat, who was in the audience, got very irritated by my speech, I was told later by the school principal.

2. What academic achievement are you most proud of?

Becoming one of the finalists for the prestigious MBA Student of the Year Award 2010 given by the Association of MBAs. The MBA education opened my eyes to the world, enabled me to dare to pursue my passion of becoming an entrepreneur, and introduced me to one of my best friends, Einstein Albert from India, who has been such an inspiration for me.

3. What would you do if you were dean of a business school for the day?

I would organise events to bridge the business community with other communities such as sports stars, indigenous people or government employees. I think there is a lot to be learned both ways, ie, what can organisations learn from high-achieving athletes?

4. When and why did you decide on your current career path?

I am always in search of secrets to excellence and like to reflect on reasons for various phenomena in life. What makes a person a good leader? Can nomads work in teams or are they culturally destined to be individuals?

I think I have the courage to ask the simple, stupid questions. This level of curiosity and hunger for knowledge led me to wanting to become a management consultant.

5. What is your biggest lesson learnt?

Never settle for an easy job. Always challenge yourself to your fullest potential. The path you are afraid to choose holds the key to your happiness.

6. What advice would you give to women in business?

I would repeat what I heard a female faculty member at a Danish university once say on a radio talk show when I was a student in Denmark. She said, “Women should dare to dive into fields that are traditionally known as men’s, such as IT and finance”.

I was lucky to take some classes with the Executive MBA class at ENPC School of International Business while doing my MBA. A female IT executive once told me “women have this zeal to do things perfectly but I think it is just as important to get things done on time, though not perfect.”

These two things I always try to keep in mind.

7. How do you deal with male-dominated environments?

I have always felt comfortable in male-dominated environments. I think it has to do with my childhood as a chess player. I could always beat the boys in my age group with ease, but my toughest opponent was a girl. Since then, there has never been a doubt in my mind that I determine my own destiny.

8. What is the last book you read?

Richard Branson’s Business Stripped Bare. His main message is “communicate relentlessly and deliver on promises,” which I try to follow in my adventure of starting a management consulting company in Mongolia. I literally drink this book word by word.

9. What inspires you?

Extraordinary people who dared to “travel the road less travelled,” and be different from the crowd. I love stories well told, especially those of strong women who overcame personal obstacles and prejudices of society. My favourite movies are: Gone with the Wind, Out of Africa, Million Dollar Baby.

10. How do you deal with pressure?

I have been running everyday for the last four years. Now, it is like brushing my teeth, I do not even think about it. Running is more than a sport, it is a philosophy for me. There is something magical about this forward movement. It is the first challenge of my day that I need to overcome and is a reminder that everything from yesterday is in the past and that I only need to look ahead.

Interview by Charlotte Clarke

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