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A celebration of 25 years of the ICMCI

A collection of best practice and activities of member Institutes

Kazakhstan: joining the ICMCI family and boosting regional development in Central Asia

by Mukhtar Mussabetov, Kazakhstan Association of Management Consultants, President

Introduction

Kazakhstan is a part of the former Soviet Union, once struggling after its collapse and now with a fast growing economy with 4.6 to 6.1 % annual growth of real GDP for the next 4 years, with a territory equal to the size of the whole Western Europe and a population of approximately 16M.

The strengths of the management consulting industry are conditioned mostly by the success of economic reforms and overall economic growth of the country driven by developments in extractive industries.

The relatively short market history of the country and respective management experience combined with the absence of quality in-country education for management consultants are the main weaknesses of the local consulting market

The current approximate estimation of the market size is approximately 2000 to 2500 management consultants, based on areas of specialization identified by the ICMCI.

KazakhstanManagement Consulting Industry: SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • One of the best-performing economies in the CIS due to a commendable post-independence reform effort, coupled with sound fiscal and monetary policies;
  • Developments in the hydrocarbons sector and sustained high commodity price will continue to drive overall economic growth. 

Weaknesses

  • Lack of competence due to 1) a relatively short market history & management experience (15 yrs of KZ independence); and 2) absence of quality and customized training programmes for management consultants;
  • Absence of clear and reliable professional standards.

Opportunities

  • the Government‘s development strategy for 2003-2015 aims to diversify the economy by the time oil output peaks, by facilitating investment in the non-oil economy and therefore the economy will demand more sophisticated consulting services.

New opportunities for Kazakh consultants appear due to the Government’s initiatives on diversification of the economy with more focus on Eurasian scale infrastructural projects and knowledge driven industries. Kazakhstan will continue to lead the Central Asian Region and it will stimulate cross-border selling opportunities for Kazakh consultants.

  • Kazakhstan’s role as Central Asian regional economic leader provides good expansion opportunities for KZ consultancies.

Threats

  • the economy remains highly dependable on hydrocarbons, making it vulnerable to changes in commodity prices;
  • banking sector still struggles after the global economic crisis

Main challenges on the road to success

  1. Finding like-minded members
  2. due to high level of corruption, dominance “care about only your own well-being” behaviour in the society, ignorance of common values, it was vitally important to invite top-performing consultants for developing KAMC
  3. and this factor is still one of the most critical for attracting new members and creation of trust within a national consulting industry;
  4. ethical standards and behaviour of founding members were considered to be dominant in inviting new members and especially important for new and young organization;
  5. Lack of start-up funding
  6. at the start-up phase, KAMC couldn’t rely only on membership dues or other traditional revenue sources that are used by mature IMCs;
  7. Despite hypothetical availability of different donor funds in Kazakhstan, sometimes, donors often had their own “agendas” by trading their financial resources for “unconditional loyalty” that could lead to undermining foundations of an professional organization (i.e. values, beliefs, principles)  
  8. Identifying enthusiastic stakeholders

KAMC has recognized 4 main sectors in surrounding business environment that are important for support, development, recognition and sustainability of national professional association and management consulting industry in general

  • International business and donor community – they could provide guidance, good “roof” for recognition and may serve even as donor fund;
  • Private sector – as a main buyer in any market-driven economy, establishing relations with key players (i.e. business associations, etc.)
  • Public sector – important for recognition of CMC qualification on national level
  • Business media - communication channel with wider business and professional community.

Key representatives from these sectors were invited to serve at KAMC Advisory Board

KAMC History & Milestones

On a professional level, market integration started with forming the Debating-society of management consultants in December 2003.

KAMC’s vision is to deliver higher value and higher quality management consulting services to clients by strengthening capabilities of members through setting, implementing and maintaining internationally recognized professional standards.

And as an association, KAMC sees its mission in representing and promoting the management consulting profession and its international standards to a wider business community.

KAMC has also significantly contributed to promoting ICMCI and CMC qualification to other neighboring Central Asian countries, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (more details below).

Meeting with colleagues in Kyrgyzstan to promote ICMCI and CMC qualification, August 3, 2007

December 2003

The Debating-Society of Management Consultants of Kazakhstan was formed – the first informal organization and prototype of a professional body

May 2005

The Association of Business Consultants of Kazakhstan was formed (corporate membership only due to some legal restrictions)

November 2005

First CMC in Kazakhstan, IBC/IMC UK certified

February 2006

First contact with ICMCI regarding possibility of membership for Kazakhstan

June 2006

KAMC was formed by 8 independent management consultants

September 2006

  • KAMC President visited Astana, capital of Kazakhstan to provide overview of global management consulting industry and opportunities for CMC qualification attended by 13 management consultants.
  • KAMC President visited Shymkent, Southern Kazakhstan to provide overview of global management consulting industry and opportunities for CMC qualification attended by 15 management consultants .

October 2006

USAID/PRAGMA expressed their interest to assist in developing professional standards for management consultants in Kazakhstan

July 2007

First visit of  KAMC President to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan to provide overview of global management consulting industry and opportunities for CMC qualification attended by more than 20 Kyrgyz consultants (1 day volunteering).

August 2007

Second visit of KAMC President to Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan to provide overview of global management consulting industry and opportunities for CMC qualification attended by 15 Kyrgyz consultants (1 day volunteering).

September 2007

KAMC applied to the ICMCI for a provisional membership

Participated in 11th ICMCI Congress in Dublin – USAID funded tour

November 2007

First visit of KAMC President to Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan to provide overview of global management consulting industry and opportunities for CMC qualification attended by 37 Tajik consultants. (1 day volunteering).

December 2007

KAMC was offered a provisional membership with ICMCI

February 2008

  • 11 Kazakh management consultants were trained as trainers of Core Consultancy Skills (Elevation Learning, UK)
  • KAMC passed ICMCI pre-assessment
  • President of KAMC visited Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan to hold a meeting with Kyrgyz consultants and promote CMC qualification. Memorandum on creation of Kyrgyz Chapter was signed by 18 Kyrgyz consultants and KAMC President (1 day volunteering).

April 2008

KAMC took part at ICMCI Eurohub meeting (Stockholm, Sweden)

May 2009

  • 12 management consultants from Kyrgyzstan joined KAMC and Kyrgyz Chapter was established
  • President of KAMC visited Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan to hold an information session with Kyrgyz consultants and promote ICMCI and CMC qualification attended by more than 60 Uzbek consultants and hold a meeting with Officers of Association of Business Consultants of Uzbekistan to provide introductory seminar to ICMCI’s main values, mission, systems, etc.  (3 days of volunteering)

November 2009

Northern Kazakhstan Chapter of KAMC was established in Pavlodar town.

October 2009 to June 2010

Finalizing development of:

  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) System,
  • Common Body of Knowledge (CBK),
  • KAMC By-Laws,
  • Competency model,
  • CMC Certification Process,
  • KAMC Administration Procedures

KAMC Goals for 2011-2013

  • Achieve a Full Membership with ICMCI and launch the first CMC qualification interviews for Kazakh consultants with invitation of CMC assessors from mature members of ICMCI
  • Hold 1st KAMC nationwide conference with presentation ceremony of first CMC certificates to qualified Kazakh consultants   
  • Establish three more Regional Chapters of KAMC in Southern, Western and Eastern Kazakhstanin order to cover basic needs of KAMC members in these regions and recruit new Members
  • Develop Statement of Best Practice in order to create a platform for recognition of KAMC by main management consulting industry stakeholders
  • Continue to develop CPD System by:
  • introducing at least two new training courses for KAMC members: “Consulting Project Management” and  “Interpersonal Skills”
  • forming KAMC SIGs (Special Interest Groups) in main areas of technical specializations (Strategy, Human Resources, Marketing Management, Quality Management, IT Management)
  • Develop coalition(s) with other knowledge industries
  • this may include associations of financial and investment analysts,  certified management accountants and others
  • may help KAMC to make its voice heard in a wider business communities;
  • consolidate resources for developing jointCPD programs, training resources;
  • hold joint events (conferences, roundtables, etc.);
  • benchmarking and learning best practices in cross-functional specializations and issues related to KAMC administration;

Lessons learned by KAMC

There are certainly some changes that ICMCI can implement and consequently boost development of its new members without devoting significant resources. These changes may include:

  • Treat new IMCs as clients of the ICMCI. ICMCI can significantly ease new IMCs challenges and struggles in their road to the ICMCI family and in obtaining their membership levels by developing one single “Guide to ICMCI Membership” , a clear, practical and step-by-step self-study guidelines for new members on implementation of critical ICMCI requirements (CPD, CBK, Competency model, CMC certification, IMC administration, typical range of services to members, samples of filled documentation and possible KPIs. This will help IMCs to meet all requirements 1) without spending for expensive external assistance and 2) without dependency on donors, that sometimes goes along with painful “compromises” between money on one hand and values, beliefs and principles on the other.
  • Create more opportunities for live learning for new IMCs, including benchmarking and sharing best practices between new and mature ICMCI members
  • For instance, mature IMCs may offer “open door” days  for representatives of new IMCs to observe CMC exam process and other important processes. This will allow them to learn best practices from first hands;
  • Thus will facilitate their development without need in significant initial funding.
  • Develop platform for collaboration in area of professional development (licensing training programs between IMCs, developing training-of-trainer programs for new IMCs, etc.);
  • Support recognition of new IMCs at their own nations.Although, the CMC qualification is now recognised in 48 countries, in some nations, new IMCs still may be treated by wider business communities and national/local Governments as “too young and green” to be trusted; 

ICMCI may provide its global support and “umbrella” to new IMCs in their own nations by sending introduction letters to main consulting industry stakeholders (Government agencies, Chambers of Commerce, key business associations, etc.).

Conclusion

Opening the right door to the global management consulting community will provide Kazakh management consultants with exciting and valuable professional opportunities. 

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