Lina Šiumetė finished her Executive MBA studies at BMI Executive Institute in 2019. She says that the most valuable thing she gained from her time at BMI is the people she got to know. Today Lina serves as General Manager at Coherent Solutions, an IT company. She spoke with us about the impact the EMBA studies had on her and the strong relationships she built during her studies which continue to this day.
Where did you start your professional journey?
I could say that my career began when I entered Vilnius University. Just before my final exams I made the last-minute decision to study psychology, while my long-term goal was economics. At that time, I was unsure what to expect, yet I found a robust curriculum, including mathematics and research. I continued with a master’s degree in Organizational Psychology.
During my master studies I started working as a recruiter at a recruitment firm. Within a year’s time, I moved to being a trainer in a market research company. Shortly after that, I was promoted to a managerial position and started discovering myself as a people manager. At that point, I already realised that I was more interested in running a business than being an advisor, as is traditionally expected of HR professionals.
How did you get where you are today?
I was always open to new opportunities, even without having a solid career plan. I began working early in my study years because I needed to support myself financially. I did all sorts of odd jobs – from waitress to call center agent – before I finally started working in more professional roles, and I believe I managed to make good use of each opportunity for new learning and growth.
Later I started my managerial career and gained more corporate experience. I was always focused on developing my skills and taking stretch assignments, which can also bring more visibility. I was always very self-demanding and quite often took tasks before thinking about what it would take to complete them. So, it was not an easy road, but nevertheless it was intellectually rewarding.
What challenges did you face during the EMBA studies?
Combining studies and work was challenging, but since it was not a new thing for me, I did not really think about it much. The dedication needed to analyse all the materials and work on projects was indeed a stretch and tested my motivation, but that was very much needed to take in all the curriculum and build bonds with my classmates. So, I do not regret a single moment. Despite the intensity, the BMI EMBA studies are tailored for busy professionals, allowing participants to manage family, work, and hobbies.
Balance in life is very important, especially these days. How did you manage the relationship between your work and personal life?
The only way to get things done is by doing it. Being active results in better planning, structuring, and prioritizing. This is my recipe for finding work – life balance. I believe that diversified activities make you a better person – you are better at your job, better as a manager, colleague, student and even parent. I follow this rule and it guides me quite successfully at the workplace and personal life.
Why did you decide to do an EMBA?
As I moved up the career ladder, I found my career in IT/Finance. I became a manager of constantly growing teams, responsible for business activities. While I was not formally trained for those jobs, I was always good in math and exact science, so picking up things like planning or budgeting wasn’t exactly complicated.
But people would often ask questions like: you are a psychologist, what are you doing in IT? That helped me decide to do an EMBA – to gain more knowledge about management best practices. The EMBA programme helped me understand the processes within business and acquire tools. In addition, it gave me a lot of confidence.
How did you benefit from the programme?
I see the most value in communication with other participants, sharing experiences and know-how. That was equally as important as what we learned from the professors. Together we spent sleepless nights creating presentations and sharing stories, and that bonded us for a lifetime. During the studies we built a strong network of individuals from all sorts of industries.
Was the programme international?
During our EMBA studies we had an international trip to China, and I also took a course in New Orleans, USA under the BMI mobility programme. Throughout the programme, I met students from diverse cultural backgrounds – China, Venezuela, France, the US, Estonia, Latvia. It was an enriching experience in terms of culture and economy. It broadened my view professionally and personally. I highly recommend taking the opportunity to join the international modules and exchange programs when possible.
What were your highlights during the EMBA?
The quality of the other attendees, the professors, and the curriculum impressed me. It was easy to bond with other participants and understand each other because we were all facing the same challenges. Overall, it was an amazing experience. I enjoyed the studies with people who are my friends today. It adds significant value personally and professionally.
Why did you choose the BMI EMBA programme?
BMI stands out for the quality of its people. The EMBA participants are highly motivated. They come prepared and know exactly what they came for.
How would you encourage other people to get where they want to be?
Just go for it. There isn’t a secret recipe. If you want it, just go for it. The rest will follow.
Who would you recommend the BMI EMBA programme to?
This EMBA programme is suitable for someone who has been looking for answers in business programs, books, conferences, and has not find them yet. It is also for the people who want to develop and feel they are outgrowing their positions.
What advice would you give to those who don’t know the right path?
It is crucial to stay open to opportunities. Just seize them when they come your way, even if you think you are not ready – you will learn along the way.
Thank you so much for your time and such a warm conversation.