CIVITTA Challengers - Sevak Hovhannisyan

At CIVITTA, every project is carried out by a group of individuals that makes the results unique and impactful. To introduce those who are operating behind the scenes, we invite our colleagues to tell their stories.

This time, we asked a Partner from Armenia —Sevak Hovhannisyan — to share his story with us. Read about what motivates our people to challenge themselves and what it means to be a management consultant — below.

 

Sevak Hovhannisyan

Partner at CIVITTA Armenia

I am a Partner at CIVITTA Armenia (former EV Consulting) and am a founding board member of EV Research Center. At EV I managed numerous research and economic development assignments for public sector institutions and private companies, was a key contributor to major economic policies and led cluster development projects. I work in a Public Stream, so my focus is mainly on working on policies, helping governments and international organizations to design, implement development projects in Armenia and also abroad. As for free time, I spend it with my family, play football and socialize with people, read and paint.

EV Consulting became CIVITTA gradually. Our corporate culture and aspirations were quite similar, and it was one of the key factors to join CIVITTA. I felt quite familiar with the atmosphere and new situation. However, the international exposure is different. Now we are communicating a lot more with international offices, learning from their experiences. The global exposure is what makes the difference for me.

On impactful consulting projects

We developed a new industrial strategy for the government of Armenia that took 5 years. We designed sectoral strategies, engaged academia, the private sector, the government. Currently, the Armenian government is implementing the strategy. During this project, we believe we have changed the way the Prime Minister and Economy Minister think about the economy.  We convinced them to have a more proactive approach in promoting the economical development, like a less governmental intervention.

Another project I would like to mention is related to education and science. 10 years ago, we developed a science lab for the Politechnical university in Armenia. We designed a model for quality research labs, lobbied the idea to the government and the donor, and got 6 million EUR in funding for a huge complex of labs.

One project we are also proud of is the development of Armenia’s annual competitiveness report. It is considered one of the high-quality analytical reports in Armenia, and people are waiting and asking for the next issue.

A consultant should be frank

What are the key skills for a consultant? Firstly, to be open-minded. Explore unusual solutions for any usual issue. Think out of the box. Look at the issue from a different angle, analyze it with unconventional methods.

Secondly, to be frank. The client’s opinion is very important, but you should be frank in your analysis. Surely, we need to try to meet the expectations of clients, but we shouldn’t just don’t imitate the solution they “want” to hear, but strive to find the most effective one.

Thirdly, to continue fast learning. If you have the assignment, you should learn the issue very fast in order to present a quality solution. For a consultant, a learning process never ends.

In every project, we are learning a lot, so our learning journey is the motivation. I like challenging tasks, I enjoy finding a solution, I enjoy the moment when you know your solution is a good one. I hate routine work, but in consulting you need to do a lot of projects in different sectors, so you always have the opportunity to grow professionally.

Insights from the unusual context in 2020

I think COVID has taught all of us how to value life and people more, especially our families. You start appreciating the time more, so you try to fill it with meaningful activities. On the positive side, we worked from home, so I had more free time to spend with my family. Overall, life became more uncertain and unpredictable, and it showed that we need to be flexible and be prepared to find solutions for any kind of difficult situation.

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