Nov. 11

BMI celebrates the 20th anniversary of its very first cohort’s graduation

Some days are worth remembering and celebrating and November 11th is one of those days as it marks 20 years since the graduation of the very first BMI EMBA cohort, back in 2000. The group of executives, exactly 20 years ago today, celebrated a new milestone – the BMI Executive MBA diploma.

Over these years some of them developed companies that are now among the largest in the country, while others contributed to positive changes on a national level or rose to success in foreign markets, with multicultural companies.

29 graduates, 29 different career stories. Yet all these personalities have something in common: drive and ambition to do things better, to constantly go for more, to be those others follow.

Here is what people have shared on this special day, about the very beginning of the BMI story.

Emeritus Professor Jean-Paul Michael Larçon, Co Chairman at BMI

“This first cohort of the EMBA was a pilot program and I was obsessed the whole time by the need to keep our promise to offer you a unique international experience. The positive feedback we got from your class and the presence at the graduation ceremony of leading Lithuanian political and academic figures were great rewards for our team. Vytas Gruodis, who is no longer with us, was a leading force. Dalius Butkus, who succeeded Ligija Kaminskiene, was our director. Jurga Bendikaite monitored the program in 2000 and is now BMI’s acting Director General! Prof. Nina Klebanskaja of Vytautas Magnus University had a key role in the relationship with that university and the master’s thesis process. The success of this first cohort convinced us to go forward at full speed: launching cohort 2 immediately and developing the Baltic Management Institute – whose Chairman Rolandas Valiunas can be easily recognized in the photo. I wish you all a great 20-year anniversary.”

Professor Ligija Kaminskienė, first Director of LITIMA/BMI

“It is 20 years since the first graduates of LITIMA, the Lithuanian Institute of Management, received their Executive MBA certificates. There is no comparison of the situation at that time with the present BMI, with what it has to offer. In 1998, the brightest, bravest and most open minds from freshly developing Lithuanian businesses took the EMBA as a great opportunity not just to cross the bridge between Lithuanian and Western business structures, but also to tune in to the European philosophy of business management, to use the same terms and stand tall in any business position or competition.

“In the documents of the time, one can see how different the goals were from today: LITIMA was expected to ‘develop a Centre of Excellence specifically required for the Lithuanian ongoing private sector development, restructuring phase and adaptation to the EU and international markets’.

“It was a sink or swim situation: the non-existent Institute was awarded financial support by the EU for two years only, under very strict conditions of the EU PHARE programme that the Institute be established, that the students receive high-quality training, and that sustainability of the programme be guaranteed. Today, one can hardly imagine the speed at which this higher education institution was born and came to life. It happened thanks to the international and local trainers, the highly motivated students, the dedicated staff, and the Academic Council of the Institute. Today, 20 years later, we remember the first class of EMBA graduates as the forefront of business intellectuals. They have since proved to be a leading force of Lithuanian enterprises, and a joyful, witty and ever-enthusiastic bunch of alumni.”

Giedrius Steponkus, Founder and Chairman of the Board at Lithuanian Investors Association, alumni of BMI EMBA cohort 1

“We were the first to overcome the challenge and complete all the modules of this outstanding Executive MBA program. Time marches on, but the mark left by the first class’s graduates remains – not just for our Alma Mater but also for all the students who have followed and who will follow in the future. We were the first to successfully reach the finish!”

Tauras Pėstininkas, CEO of Leksinova, alumni of BMI EMBA cohort 1

“Summarizing a 20-year path, I clearly see that BMI gave me one of the most valuable ROIs in my life. I got long-lasting friendship, self-confidence and a knowledge base.

“Here’s what I still remember today after 20 years has passed:

  • The taste of cookies Saturday mornings at the Villon hotel, when everybody in the city is enjoying a sleepy morning and you are working hard.
  • The wisdom of Per Moller about corporate culture: everything can be ruined in a company’s life, but the Christmas party remains.
  • Support and understanding from extremely competent professors.
  • The ability to extract the most important points in complex business issues.
  • The feeling that nobody is 100 percent right about market valuations.”



Please fill in the form

I agree that BMI stores my personal data in its customer database for contacting me regarding BMI programmes.*

* - You can - at any time - withdraw your consent of your personal data being used for the above-mentioned purpose(s) by sending an e-mail to
Learn more about your rights and the use of your personal data in our privacy policy.