Member's Success stories
Munkhnasan Narmandakh, CEO at Monpolymet group
This time AmCham is pleased to host Ms. N. Munkhnasan to tell us a little bit more about her life principles and share with us the secretes of her business success.
How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
I spent my adolescence years trying to help my mother form our family business in the midst of Mongolia’s change from communism to free market economy. My mother was a geological engineer and with a handful of other geologists she formed a small startup company and explored alluvial mining deposits. Education was important for me, so I went to the USA as an exchange student when I was 15 and finished high school, college and grad schools there. The American family I stayed with helped me tremendously in those years for shaping my life. I then came back to Mongolia to work at the Central Bank as an economist after college.
After finishing my master’s degree at the George Washington University, I got accepted to work at the World Bank in Washington DC. With great passion I also wanted to learn how to help alleviate my country’s poverty and this was a great place to gain experience working as an economist in its Poverty Reduction department. However, I realized that I can have more direct impact on poverty through business, so I rejoined the family business and started working on new projects that can have impact on the country’s economic diversification, create hundreds and thousands of jobs, and introduce modern technological innovations.
A brave decision was made for building the country’s biggest cement plant, which utilizes modern technological innovations including a waste-heat-recovery system that produces electricity from waste hot gas from the plant, water treatment system that recycles 90% of household and industrial waste waters, 4-5 times less water usage than that of wet method, and twice as less fuel consumption.
The plants created over 700 new jobs with a prominent role in regional infrastructure development. For nearby communities we built railway stations, water wells, installed fiber optic cables, removed trash that had accumulated for years thus spreading contagious disease and as per our core mission we focused on environmental rehabilitation.
What are the principles you mostly adhere to in the business?
I learnt that kindness is not the worst principle in business. Being kind to the environment, to the community, to the employees can help shape great corporations with sustainable future. Of course, businesses face challenges every day but I look at them as opportunities for better change rather than problems. I focus on being responsible, accountable and always at the top of your efficiency from myself and as well as my teams. I believe that businesses fail when the management think they’re successful therefore, being agile is important especially in these day and age.
What was the shortcoming that was the most challenging for you in the business?
As a very small, land locked emerging market economy, businesses struggle with scaling up. The geopolitical tensions and underdeveloped infrastructure are slowing down our effort to increase exports. Finding project financing for private sector large scale projects has been challenging given the low country rating due to economic and political instability.
After all this success, what do you struggle with now?
The stability and attractiveness of Mongolia’s business and legal environment, which remains as obstacle, is crucial for our ability to attract foreign investment and strategic companies with know-how. Government of Mongolia has been introducing laws to promote direct investment and tax incentives with mixed results such as Foreign Investment Law passed in 2012 and Investment law passed in 2013. However, investors and companies are still cannot take advantage of such tax incentives due to inconsistencies of investment laws with general taxation laws. The average length of Mongolian governments since 90’ is less than two years, thus policy decisions lack longevity unfortunately at private sectors’ loss.
What is the latest business achievement you would like to highlight right now?
With Moncement project we achieved our goal in building Mongolia’s first Waste Heat Recovery System for power generation. This and with numerous other environmental and operational stewardships, Moncement was awarded the Sustainability Award for Best Social and Environmental practice by EBRD – the first time from Mongolia chosen from 200 projects worldwide.