Vaiva Kubilaitė details how she found new energy, opportunities and effectiveness for her professional achievements and other projects by joining the Executive MBA at BMI Executive Institute. Now the Head of Progress Business Unit at Baltic Amadeus, Vaiva is very active in the BMI alumni community.
What inspired you to join the Executive MBA programme?
When I joined the Executive MBA, I was working in international business development at a company in Lithuania. Although my career was going great, I had long wanted to expand my knowledge. I only had a bachelor’s degree and used to joke that I’d earned a master’s by starting a company with a partner, developing it, and then selling it successfully. Even though that experience provided many useful lessons, I felt the need to self-evaluate and to check whether what I was doing was right or not. So, on the one hand, I wanted to gain knowledge, and on the other, I wanted to check what I already knew.
What are the key benefits of studying at the BMI Executive Institute?
Even though I had heard about the valuable networks and even business partnerships the programme creates, I started the EMBA mainly focused on the lectures. Those were extremely interesting, and I took much more from them even than I expected, but I also met wonderful professionals with whom is still maintain a close relationship to this day.
If it wasn’t for BMI, I probably would not be where I am now – at the IT company Baltic Amadeus. One of the company’s managers was my course mate in the EMBA studies. After the programme, I was thinking about my professional plans and received a call from another friend I met at BMI who invited me to an interview at Baltic Amadeus. Everything happened very naturally. The people you meet here and the opportunities that open up really are among the biggest benefits.
What changes have you noticed in yourself after completing the Executive MBA studies?
Professionally, BMI helped me grow into a manager with more perspective. Moving away from a narrow focus on specific business aspects and processes and taking a holistic approach was very helpful.
The programme also encouraged broader personal growth. There are people who join the EMBA with a lot of self-doubt and graduate completely changed. I was one of them. Being among the CEOs of large companies, I often asked myself: what am I doing here? But those fears gradually faded, and the anxiety was replaced by interesting conversations and equal discussions. The “Executive Presence” course led by Amy Carroll early in the programme greatly contributed to this positive transformation.
What does it mean to you to be an alumna of BMI?
BMI is about much more than just learning and reading. It’s the people who make it a life-changing experience. So being an alumna of the BMI Executive Institute to me means belonging to a certain group of people. In my eyes, the fact that someone has completed a programme at BMI is a guarantee of quality. Why? Because I know very well from my own experience that he or she has gone through certain experiences, overcomes many challenges, and gained specific knowledge.
In deciding whether to join the Baltic Amadeus team, I was greatly encouraged by the fact that almost all its managers have completed Executive MBA studies at BMI. That gave me peace of mind that we would speak the same language and have a similar understanding of many issues. It’s a good feeling to be among your own people who have ambitious goals and are always looking for ways to achieve them.
Tech Kinship is another new project of yours. Tell us more about that.
Tech Kinship was not my initiative. It’s an idea that Aliona Sosunova, head of engineering at Vinted, carried for some time and finally implemented. Now we, four girls from the tech field, are continuing to develop the idea, and quite successfully.
In the framework of this project, we initially shared personal experiences: how we found ourselves in the tech field as young women, what experiences and stereotypes we encountered. But from talking with men, we realized the same challenges are common to women and men, in tech and in other fields.
Tech Kinship is a help to discuss topics that are uncomfortable or still lack attention – things like burnout, imposter syndrome, emotions at work and many others. We want to promote changes that require discussion, acceptance and consideration of different opinions.
Why are you focused specifically on the tech community?
On the one hand, it came very naturally since we all represent tech companies. At the same time, tech is one of the more innovative fields in caring about employees and their well-being. People from other fields are often simply unable to publicly share information or their personal point of view. The tech industry is safer in this regard. Those who work in it are more likely to share problems that arise, because they know that it will not be used against them or seen as a weakness.
How do you manage to do some much?
Over time, I’ve learned to step away from being a perfectionist and delegate more work to others. So, now I am able to focus on new projects and interesting activities and can still maintain reasonably high quality. An understandable and motivating workplace is an equally important motivator. I feel great gratitude to my colleagues who give me the opportunity to work on my own projects in addition to my daily responsibilities. That is because they believe in the mutual benefits: employee self-realization means an even more motivated and happier employee.