Andrius Bagdonavičius discusses fast learning and networking for executive lift

We spoke with Andrius Bagdonavičius, a technology executive and BMI alumnus, about his personal and professional journey and his EMBA studies. Growing into a senior leadership position is always tough, notes Andrius, who is now global VP of engineering at a fintech company with operations all around the world. “Instead of reading a tonne of books, I opted for an efficient executive summary at BMI Executive Institute,” he explains.

Tell us about your background.

I have started my career as an engineer and grew into a leader in financial technologies. For more than 15 years I’ve been providing technology solutions for banks. I studied computer science. Then, partly in reaction to some challenging situations at work and to my own very competitive nature, I also obtained a master’s degree in psychology in the UK with a focus on high performance in leadership. While working as an IT infrastructure architect at several banks, mainly Scandinavian, over time I moved more into leadership roles. That’s when I realized that knowing computer science and psychology is not enough, and I joined the Executive MBA at BMI.

What are your biggest achievements so far?

I’ve had many accomplishments. The biggest achievement, for me, is being caring husband and father to my children. Family is the most important part of life, in my opinion. Professionally, the biggest achievement is where I am now. While finishing my EMBA studies, I had the opportunity to attract Mambu, the global provider of a SaaS banking platform, as Vice President for Engineering. I launched a technology centre in Lithuania while growing teams in Miami, Amsterdam, Vilnius, Iasi and Singapore which are responsible for engineering and maintaining the technology for the top banks all over the world that have acquired Mambu’s services. In short, whatever the sales guys sell, my team needs to deliver.

What exactly brought you to BMI Executive Institute?

I am a curious person and like to learn. I’m convinced that to excel in anything you need to have a solid preparation. That gives you more confidence and allows you to deliver more value and higher quality. While growing fast with your career, you end up having some knowledge gaps. I’d never studied business areas like financial management, executive leadership, organizational matters. So, I was looking for learning opportunities to fill those gaps and get a comprehensive review of business management in the shortest way possible. Instead of reading a tonne of books, I opted for an efficient executive summary at BMI Executive Institute about what is most important for me as a business manager to know, in a practical perspective.

How did you benefit from the EMBA programme?

The EMBA is not the only factor in my success, but the EMBA programme and BMI gave me a lot. The lectures contributed – you learn new things and you’re also reminded of things you knew in the past, plus you get confirmation about how you do many things, that you’re on the right track. But the value comes even more from the people you meet, the peers you have in the classroom. They are just like you, with diverse talents and insights and keen to realize themselves. The whole experience gives you additional confidence, it gives validation about the best road to follow towards your goals.

Do you use the things that you learned in the programme in your work today?

Yes. One clear example is finance, which I had never done before. After the studies I feel more confident speaking with the CFO about financial management and accounting issues related to our technologies and services. I have more effective discussions with the CFO about how to capitalize R&D investments while maintaining healthy KPIs. Without the EMBA studies, that would not have been possible for me.

Who would you recommend the BMI EMBA programme to?

It is for leaders who want to be at the top of organizations. It’s for executives, who need a big-picture understanding of all the aspects but don’t need to go deeply into any of them. If you want to dive deep, it makes sense to choose a more specialized education. But for leaders who are generalists, this programme provides a comprehensive overview and executive summary of all aspects of business management. During the EMBA, you might also notice some aspect about which you want to learn more later, more deeply – you’ll see what would have real added value for you.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone who joins the EMBA?

My biggest advice is to invest in networking with peers in the programme, your classmates. That’s an investment of time which helps to get the most of your studies. I would even say: think about how much time you dedicate to the lectures and invest the same amount of time to your colleagues. Networking with your peers in the BMI community has a huge value.

Thank you for sharing your ideas and experience!

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