Vytenis Koryzna, a green-energy CEO, says EMBA studies gave him confidence to rise

Transforming a company or an industry requires change leaders with the right knowledge and skills – and connections to people with some needed expertise that you may lack. BMI alumnus Vytenis Koryzna discusses his career journey up to and after the EMBA programme, including the integration of his experience in the mobile and IT businesses with the management know-how, network and self-confidence he gained at BMI, to help drive sustainability and efficiency advances in the energy industry.

To begin, tell us a little about what you do.

Currently I am CEO of the Lithuanian unit of Enefit, the biggest energy producer in the Baltics and region’s leading producer of renewable energy. When I joined in 2019, the subsidiary was 15 people, now we’re above 70.

Our core mission is to drive sustainability by engaging our customers in a journey to zero emissions. Solid progress delivered so far within B2B segment in assuring us 2nd position in electricity supply market, as well as private customers growth as ongoing market liberalization is enabling Lithuanian users to make a free choice and most importantly – origin, of energy consumed. Building up private customer centric business is a relatively new experience for Enefit in Lithuania, that brings in both the challenge and excitement of achievements delivered so far.

How did you end up where are now?

BMI definitely played a role. I had worked mostly in marketing and sales roles at IT companies, like Nokia and Lenovo. That gave me a good understanding of corporate culture, management approaches, attitudes to employees, their motivation and engagement. But after more than a decade in the IT industry I have eventually faced the reality and personal need to take a challenge of personal growth – the goal was to shift industries and empower my knowledge and experience in a new field.

I’d been considering BMI for quite a while. I knew I wanted additional knowledge, and I planned to do the EMBA. Eventually, in 2017-2018, I decided it was the right time. I was still working at Lenovo and needed a change of perspective and habits. All my expectations were far surpassed. What I got from the EMBA allowed me to seize the opportunity to switch to a new industry and become the manager of a company in a super competitive area ongoing a major transformation.

So, you knew you wanted to do an EMBA. Why did you choose BMI?

No alternative could stand up to BMI, which was locally based, with a practical business knowledge focus, and was well known for its international professors and experience. That was very appealing. For practical reasons, I didn’t want to study abroad. The price was a factor, but BMI as a brand had such strong value that it justified the difference. I would say the decision was “rationally emotional”, and it paid off more than 100%.

How challenging was it to do the programme?

I knew the process would be intens yet the goal inspired motivation and timing were the main driving factors. Some subjects were more challenging, especially finance and accounting, because I had no previous practical experience. Surprisingly enough low level initial knowledge pulled me to put a high focus on the topic – ultimately I earned top grades for those subjects. Surprising myself and knowledge gained is still extremely helpful in my daily work.

As for time management, I set some rules for myself, for work matters and family matters. And I’m happy to say that I didn’t ruin a single weekend for my family! After work, you come home, say hi to your family, have a quick dinner and then study for 3 or 4 hours. But you know the weekends are for the family. It’s important to know how to manage your life in stressful times: when you have to prepare group work, exams are coming and there is a storm at work that you have to manage… It was a very good practice for the future.

Another challenge is the final paper, which does require effort. Very important is the topic you choose. I already knew I was going to join the energy industry and present company, that the decision towards the diploma topic came naturally linking it to the industry and upcoming real life challenge. The process was valuable to develop my understanding and come up with new ideas that I could use and build on at the company.

In what areas do you think you grew most thanks to the programme?

My initial goal was to “refresh” the base of knowledge I already had. And I definitely got a 120% knowledge refresh for all the most important areas for me: finance, marketing, culture, and all the “soft” areas like emotional intelligence etc. The BMI programme is well structured.

The networking was even more valuable than I expected. The cohort had many people with extremely broad experience: lawyers and financial guys, marketing guys, CEOs. You get 50 very close people who are always ready to support and help you – both within the journey of studying time as well as afterwards

One thing I didn’t think about before the studies was my level of confidence. I’ve been managing  relatively small business units before, becoming the CEO of a full scope operations company was a challenge to deal with and an opportunity build up further career perspective. Without BMI the decision would have been much more tough, yet with these studies you get all the fundamentals and people whom you can turn to if you need advice, so you’re able to move forward with solid confidence. That was probably the most important outcome for me.

You mentioned the BMI network. Is it still of value to you today?

Yes, of course. I wish we could spend more time together, but we do meet at least once a quarter. I believe the BMI EMBA is something that lasts a lifetime. Even after graduating, you continue to get opportunities to develop, learn and share experiences.

What is your advice for those now doing or considering the BMI EMBA?

Go for it! The sooner you make the choice, the more value you get and the more time you’ll have to use that value. Time is not an obstacle, nor are any of the other fears. English? Well, you have to speak English and eventually you will well improve. Even for the financial part, you can always find a way. So, move ahead, don’t hesitate. Then you’ll have more time and more confidence to both monetize and enjoy the lifetime experience that you get with BMI.

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