The Quintessential Company
The American Times presents Dr. Hovik Musayelyan, the proud Director of Synopsys Armenia, a leading joint stock company in Armenia and subsidiary of Synopsys, a world leader in electronic design automation and semiconductor intellectual property, with headquarters in the US and several branches in North America, Europe, Japan, Asia and India. The company opened its facilities in Yerevan in 2004 and since then Synopsys Armenia has established itself as the market leader in ICT as well as a premier technological educational center.
The Scientific legacy of Soviet Armenia and Global Synergies
Dr. Musayelyan ascribes the bountiful achievements of the company’s Armenian operations to the history of the country and, in particular, the Soviet legacy. In the USSR days each country was tasked with a specific goal, and Armenia, despite being territorially the smallest, was given “a fantastic mission”, in Dr. Musayelyan’s words, “it was a special engineering and educational center”. Analogous to Silicon Valley anti-litteram, Armenia was a center of excellence in micro-electronics, astrophysics and mathematics. The collapse of the Soviet Union translated into the dismantling of this system and left thousands of scientists and engineers unemployed and research centers without a budget to further their scientific endeavors. Many left the country and relocated abroad looking for better employment opportunities. Yet, the intellectual capacity of Armenia was not totally incapacitated by the political demise. Rather they lied in wait for more favorable circumstances to once again obtain its position as the economic wellspring of the country.
In fact, thanks to strong links with the Diaspora stemming from that period, particularly from the United States, new enterprises and collaborations starting appearing, contributing to, as the doctor states, “an Armenian Renaissance”. Along with initiatives promoted by the Diaspora came the interest of foreign investors like Synopsys, whose strategy leads as one of the industry’s most strict policies for emerging market entry. Dr. Musayelyan recalls the touching words of company representatives which described Armenia as “an unpolished gem, which just needs to be polished”.
Armenian links to the United States are strong and much of the present success of Synopsys depends on American investments in the country; as well as strengthening relations between Armenia and the United States, [exemplified by the January 2013 visit of Armenian Prime Minister Sargsyan and US Vice President Biden]. However, the doctor is prudent in his understanding that Armenia should also strengthen its regional networks and to draw on its previous working relationships with other members of the former Soviet Union to enlarge its business capacity. He states, “because of our geographical location and history we have a special opportunity. We are connected both with Russia and the US”. Specifying further, he recognizes the potential synergies available to Armenian youth whom embrace Russian language and historical ties along with American attitudes and ingenuity; the latter being a greater source of interest for students and young professionals in the country. “The historical past of Armenia should not be erased”, according to Dr. Musayelyan, “and the youth should embrace the Russian ties with more care and understanding in order to realize their full potential in this region as well as globally.”
“because of our geographical location and history we have a special opportunity. We are connected both with Russia and the US”
These opinions are delivered with passion but maybe even more importantly, without conjecture. Reflecting on his own career path, he notes fondly that his own successes are in no small part linked to his Soviet education and the entrenched cultural mentalities that came with it. As such, he is convinced that the possibility for Armenia to strengthen its business potential crucially depends on the ability of the country to embrace its past by reinforcing its business partnerships with Russia.
One fantastic way to illustrate the multi-cultural synergies in this regard is the beautifully denoted method in which their students and employees engage. Mr. Musayelyan recalls a particular story: “A few years ago the substitute of the US Ambassador at that time made a remark on how impressed he was when he noticed Russian professors from one of the country’s leading schools, the National Research University of Electronic Technology (MIET), who were passing training in our educational department. She noted how fantastic it was that at an American company in Armenia with Armenian students were being trained by Russian professors.”
The doctor’s positive experiences do not lie solely with US Ambassadors of the past, heartfelt sentiment regarding the United States’ current Ambassador Mr. John Heffern also permeate his fondness for our country, stating, “I want to take the opportunity as the leader of an American IT company operating in Armenia to express my thankfulness for his continuous interest in our developmental efforts. During the past year and a half Ambassador Heffern has managed to earn a good reputation in Armenia. In my opinion, he is one of the best foreign ambassadors we had after the collapse of Armenia, because he has managed to dedicate himself fully to his country’s interests as well as being intricately engaged with our own country’s unique challenges and interests.”
Addressing Investor Concerns
Questioned about the concerns of potential investors in a country that Forbes magazine ranked as the second worst economy for 2011, Dr. Musayelyan expressed a pragmatic understanding. On one hand, it is undeniable that Armenia is still in the process of reaching economic stability; on the other hand, the success of several business ventures in the territory shows the potential of the country to be a valid partner for international enterprises.
To support that notion one need to look no further than Synopsys Armenia itself which has been the recipient of several awards since 2004 and, in 2010, Synopsys in Armenia was recognized among twelve finalists to receive the U.S. Secretary of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence. Dr. Musayelyan is fully aware of the challenges of working in Armenia when he notes candidly, “There are a lot of problems that cannot be hidden”. But, he remains steadfast that the country can move forward. And it certainly isn’t just one man’s opinion; the World Bank rates Armenia 35/185 in their 2013 Ease of Doing Business Report.
The doctor understands his commitment to strengthening the economy of the country as a way to re-negotiate the global image of Armenia; admitting that Forbes’ assessment “hurt him as a countryman”. Thus, his efforts to improve Synopsys must also be read as part of his agenda to work towards a better future for his country as a whole. To that end, the company consistently invests in educational projects, having establishing several partnerships with regional universities and allocating funding for IT education. Investing in the community means creating the possibility for Armenia to reach, once again, a broader sphere of excellence in scientific research by educating new generations in state-of-the-art facilities.
Despite being proud of his country’s achievements, Dr. Musayelyan is not prone to dwell on past success; on the contrary, he is constantly looking forward to new challenges and rapid development. Epitomized by the company’s slogan: “Accelerating Innovation”. Yet, as he notes, “the company maintains its leadership thanks to accurate and predictable business plans.” Accordingly, what will happen in the future is largely predictable. “For the next five years”, he says “the company’s priority [globally] is to remain the leader in the electronic design automation industry”. As such, emphasis will be given to strengthening business relationships with existing customers and ensuring that they are entirely satisfied. In regards to Synopsys Armenia, the company will continue focusing on its educational mission. It must be said that Armenia provides 8% of the total number of engineers working for Synopsys worldwide. Thus, the investment in education and research will benefit Synopsys globally, but also (and crucially) the growth of the country.