It has been 2 weeks since we arrived in Ulan Bator or Ulaanbaatar (“Red Hero”), the capital of Mongolia. I cannot believe how fast the time is flying by!!! In just one week we will be back to San Francisco…

So far, the experience in Mongolia has been great and I must admit that I am impressed by the people and the culture. Mongolian culture is well-known for its hospitality and everyone we have met here is very friendly and genuinely welcoming. They truly care about us and our work.

Mongolia is a very unique place with vast open fields that stretch as far as your eyes can see. It is one of the largest countries in the world (about 3 times the size of France), but also one of the world’s least populated. The total Mongolian population is just about 3 million and almost half of the population has a nomadic lifestyle. As you can see on the pictures, in the countryside you will meet more sheep, goats, horses, and cows than people.

We are in Ulaanbaatar, the largest city of Mongolia and the cultural, industrial, and financial heart of the country. Our team (Jason, Taka, Yonghan, and I) is working with Newcom Group, an investment company in Mongolia with investments in the Infrastructure, Telecommunications, IT, Civil Aviation, Financial Services, Real State, and Renewable Energy sectors. Based on my background I have been assigned to work with Mobicom (Newcom’s Telecommunications Company). My project is to re-define Mobicom’s Pricing Strategy for both the Pre-Paid and Post-Paid segments and help Mobicom to sustain competitive advantage. The intensity of competition has increased in the last few years and the mobile phone market in Mongolia has undergone a remarkable boom. A price war has already begun in the market and the challenge for Mobicom is to maintain its leadership position without having to sacrifice profits.

The Project itself is very interesting and I have been learning a lot. However, the experience of living in Mongolia for 3 weeks is the one that I certainly will never forget. From shooting with AK47s and Rocket Launchers to drinking Airag (the most famous Mongolian beverage made of fermented mare’s milk); from sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar to walking in the mountains, every experience has been unique and rewarding.

The food, the people, and the culture are very different from what I am used to and I am definitely out of my comfort zone. But I guess this is the main goal of IBD; to challenge ourselves and teach us that there is a whole world out there that we don’t know.

Bayarlalaa (Thank you in Mongolian)

—Alexandre Montoro

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