A successful entrepreneur, author of business and motivational books, business expert, and management consultant, Samvel Gevorgyan (MBA ‘94) is the founder and managing partner of BSC Business Support Center. Inspired by the many challenges in life, Samvel considers it his mission to motivate others to reach success. He is also an active AUA alumnus, who regularly supports AUA campaigns and contributes to the Alumni Scholarship Endowment Fund helping to grow student financial assistance.
The Start of a Long Journey
Samvel started his career path at the department of Applied Mathematics of Yerevan State University (YSU). “I have always been keen on critical thinking, asking the question why, instead of what,” he states, adding that math allowed him to think globally and to accept bigger challenges, which eventually led him to the sphere of business consulting. After graduating from YSU in 1990, he started to work as a programmer in the IT department of Yerevan jewelry factory. Having heard about AUA from a friend who was an AUA student then, later, a newspaper announcement calling for applications caught his eye and Samvel decided to apply. Upon entering AUA a whole new world opened to him.
“Challenge, change, opportunity” — this is how Samvel describes AUA and the role it has played in his life. As he recalls, the contrast between AUA and the outside world — the Armenia of the nineties — was huge. “On campus, we were talking about business, strategic management, and financial management; we were learning about new things, new methodologies, doing group work, and getting the knowledge and skills necessary for development. While it was warm and bright inside, it was 1992 outside, cold and dark. I walked almost twenty kilometers each day from my home in Charbakh to the University, then to my workplace and back.”
Studying for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, Samvel uncovered endless possibilities for career growth, “Before coming to AUA, I had a distorted understanding of what business was all about. Back then most people imagined business largely as buying and selling things. “The AUA MBA gave me a global perspective: we started to view business as something that encompasses multiple dimensions, including management, human resources, networking, connections, clients, negotiations, etc. We were taught to also view things from the perspective of the client. The global thinking that I acquired at AUA became instrumental in my growth.”
BSC – A New Chapter in His Career
In spite of hardships, Samvel kept moving forward. The years 1992-1994 were particularly significant in his career. Thanks to the experience, knowledge, and skills that he had gained at AUA, he was offered a job at the Armenian Foundation for Small and Medium Enterprises (AFSME), which functioned within the framework of the EU-funded Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) program. “The interviewer was German. He asked me where I studied, and when I told him that I was a student at AUA, I was immediately hired. AUA opened the doors for me!” he claims with a smile.
In 1996, when the financing of the foundation was about to end, Samvel was among the few employees who decided to hold on and establish a high-quality private consulting company in Armenia. “It was a big challenge for me, and I accepted it. I thought, ‘Why shouldn’t we find a way to keep the organization?’” That is how BSC Business Support Center was founded, and it has been 28 years since the company started providing a wide variety of business consulting services to both private and public sector entities. “It was very hard when we had just started. We didn’t get a salary for a whole year, but we stayed focused and kept moving on. Visiting companies and offering business development ideas back in the nineties seemed rather crazy, but we did. We were looking ahead with a futurist mindset, recognizing that what we were offering might seem out of place in Armenia at the time, but things would eventually change and businesses would come for our assistance. And time proved that to be right. Thus, the strategic thinking that I learned at AUA, played a big role in my career. I believe that when one has a vision of the future, today’s decisions become easier to make.”
BSC faced many ups and downs, but Samvel never once lost his belief in the company’s success. “If I were to pinpoint one specific milestone, it would be May of 1997. Our team had a chance to participate in a two-week management consulting training in Wassenaar, the Netherlands. It was the first such experience for us and we were excited like never before. Apart from the training, we also had a chance to visit businesses there, which were a real discovery for us. Especially after what we had seen in the former Soviet Union, the contrast was immense! The role of that two-week training was significant in my decision to stay in the consulting sphere. It gave me a chance to see what goes on outside Armenia, to communicate with professional trainers. Besides, it instilled in us the idea of a team.
Led by Samvel, the BSC team has considerably grown in recent years. “I think that a team should always make decisions as a team. A leader should give the team an opportunity to make decisions — it’s very important — they should be given a chance to make mistakes in order to learn and grow,” he asserts.
Challenges and Inspiration
When asked about the biggest challenge that he was able to overcome in his business throughout these years, Samvel recalls, “Resistance to novelty, to change, to new knowledge by both the private and the public sectors, as well as within the community at large. Whenever someone says, ‘It’s impossible!’ I say, ‘Let’s make it possible then!’ I even wrote an essay on the evil of negation. I advise everyone to get rid of negations and words such as can’t, no, not, never, and so on. Of course, there are things in life that are really difficult to change, but these things make up a small percentage. So, resistance was and continues to be the biggest challenge for me, especially since our nation is very prone to it. I guess if we had used just ten percent of that resistance for a different, better purpose, we would have reached greater success.”
Driven for change and propelled to move forward with a positive attitude, Samvel gets inspiration everywhere, but especially in his study. “Books, quotes, pictures, souvenirs — I have surrounded myself with things that keep inspiring me. They say, ‘Be better today than you were yesterday.’ This saying might be overused, but I like it. Doing something good, being of help to someone, getting to know a new person: one can find motivation in everything.”
Passionate about sharing his knowledge and expertise in innovative business management, Samvel published two books, “Your Own Business in Armenia” and “1 Minute Later”. The former is a guidebook aimed at helping people to start a business in Armenia, from the preliminary planning phase to the growing phase of the business. “I try to communicate to the reader that an idea one can stick to is a good starting point for launching a business.” After the book was out, Samvel started getting a lot of questions from readers on various topics, making him realize that there may have been missing points in the book, “which was an excellent motivation for me to write a second book to fill the gaps.”
“1 Minute Later” has rapidly become one of the most popular motivational books in Armenia. It has been translated into English, which is now available on Amazon. “Having my book on Amazon was a dream for me just a year ago. Now, it’s a reality. I transformed my dream into a step-by-step enterprise and moved toward it. I tried to write a book that would be appropriate not only for our local reader but also for the international reader. Additionally, the book contains a lot of allusions to Armenia, considering that I also aimed to make Armenia known to the foreign reader, and to promote launching successful businesses in Armenia.”
Samvel expresses hope that “1 Minute Later” will become a first step for readers toward changing the direction of their lives, enabling them to think big and to move on, adding that he has already received positive feedback from many readers to that effect. “There are many emotional stories connected with the book,” he shares. “Some people wrote to me saying that it was just in time in their lives and that it helped them to make the right decision, others got motivated to do things that they had procrastinated for months. The book has been of great help to a woman who lost her husband in the recent Artsakh war, as well as to her daughter to learn to live after such a great loss. I get very moved every time people reach out to me with their personal stories connected to my book.”
#KeepMoving – a Life Motto
A successful entrepreneur, author of business and motivational books, business expert, and management consultant, Samvel Gevorgyan never ceases to move forward. “Our biggest challenge as a nation is to envision our role in five years. I believe that if we can find an answer to this question, we will start advancing swiftly.” Loyal to his perspective, Samvel has his plans for the next five years neatly organized. What stands out in his action list is to continue educating the youth in the regions of Armenia with advanced technologies and new methods. Further developing BSC and publishing new books are also on the list. Eager to help Armenia, Samvel has also recently joined reArmenia, where he serves as an advisory board member. This venture is a collaboration platform uniting Armenians around the world to pull together their resources for devising and delivering optimal solutions to current issues in Armenia.
Summing up our conversation, Samvel shares his advice to the youth, “Do not be resistant to change. There is always something new one can learn unless one resists change or new knowledge. Be creative. Believe in yourself. Believe in your success. Ideas without actions are just ideas — put your ideas into action. Talk, communicate, be a team player. Take chances, and finally, keep moving forward!”
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.