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Byambanaran Batmandakh: Learning and networking in Australia to develop Mongolia’s financial sector

Posted: 28 April 2023

Prior to receiving an Australia Awards Scholarship, Byambanaran Batmandakh worked in corporate finance in Mongolia for more than five years, specialising in fixed-income securitisation and investment management. Byambanaran wishes to use what she learns from her Scholarship master’s degree to contribute to the development of the financial sector in Mongolia and foster sustainable growth.

Byambanaran was featured as ‘the face of’ the Australia Awards – Mongolia promotions for study commencing in 2024. We interviewed her to gain insight into her Australia Awards experience and find out her advice for prospective Scholarship applicants.

What made you decide to apply for an Australia Awards Scholarship?

I believe that the goal of the Scholarship is to assist us to build long-term sustainable development in Mongolia, especially through educating passionate individuals who have ambition and high potential to contribute to their country’s prosperity. I strongly believe that the program’s requirements and desired profiles are well aligned with my long-term objectives and future plans. I have always wanted to pursue a master’s degree overseas to further develop my academic skills in finance. I preferred Australia because, much like Mongolia, Australia’s economy is dependent on the agricultural and mining sectors. However, Australia has diversified its economy across sectors such as services, education, and finance in addition to mining and agriculture. We have much to learn from Australia’s experience in fostering sustainable growth and overcoming economic downturns.

Where and what are you studying?

I am studying a Master of Management (Finance) at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus in Melbourne. The University of Melbourne is regarded as a highly prestigious institution consistently ranking highly among the world’s leading universities, such as being ranked 1st in Australia and 23rd globally for Accounting & Finance in the QS World University Rankings 2023. Moreover, it is a research-intensive university that publishes thousands of articles and research papers in the field of finance. Attending a university with a strong research capacity has helped me develop my research and analytical abilities. Additionally, the course I chose provides many extracurricular activities, such as internship programs, case competitions, and career development programs. These activities give me a chance to apply my knowledge through practical tasks and help me to improve my soft skills.

How has your Australia Awards Scholarship contributed to your personal and professional growth so far?

One of the most appealing aspects of the Australia Awards Scholarship is the long-lasting connectivity it offers. Australia Awards ensures its scholars and alumni stay connected and organises networking activities to exchange knowledge with other scholars from different countries. The Introductory Academic Program offered by Australia Awards was my first opportunity to connect with more than 170 scholars from over 20 countries. The program provided a great opportunity to forge new networks among participants and lay the foundation for long-term linkages with each other. During my study in Australia, I am constantly attending networking events to build a strong network with like-minded people, and the Scholarship program plays a key role in this endeavour. The knowledge gained from field experts and professors is undoubtedly providing me with a new perspective on my field and enhancing my skills both professionally and personally. With every step I take and every lesson I learn, I wish to share it with my colleagues and other scholars. At the same time, I am eager to constantly exchange knowledge with people from other countries in the financial sector who may be in their early development stages.

Can you share how you are growing your professional network during your Scholarship?

Apart from studying with high-performing colleagues from all over the world, I became a member of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society Melbourne. I completed the CFA program and became a charter holder in 2021. The CFA Institute is a global association of investment professionals and serves its members through societies such as CFA Society Melbourne, which was founded in 2000 and adds value to its members by providing educational, networking, and social events. I actively participate in those events, which gives me the opportunity to expand my professional network in Australia.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience in Australia so far, beyond your academic studies?

Melbourne is one of the most liveable cities in the world thanks to its good work–life balance, social stability, and especially sports and educational activities that develop social skills in young people. I spend my free time exploring Australia, including its culture, society and environment. Melbourne, in my opinion, is a multicultural city where we can interact with people from diverse backgrounds, which has not only allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and experience new things but also allowed me to feel a sense of belonging in a multicultural environment.

What do you hope to do in the future, particularly after your Scholarship experience?

I have worked in the field of corporate finance for more than five years, specialising in fixed-income securitisation and investment management. Being in a position where I can bring positive changes to people’s lives, especially in the financial sector, brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. My long-term goal is to contribute to the development of the financial sector in Mongolia by introducing financial products that are aimed at improving the financial profitability of large-scale projects. I firmly believe that we need to effectively utilise financial derivative tools to reduce financing costs and foreign exchange risks of these projects. By studying best practices, uses and applications of various financial products, I wish to address financing needs through different products such as green securitisation. I will consider the financing structure of these products and identify the principles that can be applied to the domestic financial market. The course’s core subjects, such as investment management and derivative securities, exactly meet my needs to study fixed-income securities and derivatives.

What advice would you give to potential Scholarship applicants?

An Australia Awards Scholarship provides an excellent opportunity for scholars to pursue an outstanding education in Australia. After completing their studies, graduates join the Australia Global Alumni network, which is an active and powerful worldwide network of leaders and advocates for development. To be a successful applicant, it is important to demonstrate why you are the best candidate. When applying for a Scholarship, start your application as early as possible and give yourself time to reflect on your past academic and work experience and think holistically about your career plans and studies. Finally, do not miss the chance to achieve your dream and contribute more to your home country’s development.