LT Big Brother is the first and the only global voluntary professional mentoring programme for Lithuanian students around the world. The main goal of the project is to facilitate transfer of professional knowledge and experience between established Lithuanian professionals (Big Brothers/Sisters further referred as BB/BS) and ambitious Lithuanian students (Small Brothers/Sisters further referred as SB/SS). With this goal in mind, we help fellow Lithuanians to nurture their professional skills as well as contribute towards development and creation of a better future for Lithuania.

LT Big Brother project was first launched in 2009 in London by Lithuanian City of London Club (LCLC) which was co-founded by Rytis Vitkauskas, a long-term LT Big Brother mentor and more recently the co-founder of YPlan app. Since 2011 LCLC has been joined by Global Lithuanian Leaders (GLL) to help organizing LT Big Brother. In 2012 the list of partners has further expanded to include Lithuanian Wallstreet Club. Besides the official partners, more than 20 professional people, of whom a few are mentors or former mentees themselves, voluntarily run LT Big Brother.

Having successfully grown over the past five years, today LT Big Brother mentorship programme has become an aspirational goal for the brightest and the most talented Lithuanian students. Initially launched in London, by 2011 the programme already covered the US region attracting over a 100 student applicants from universities across 13 different countries: the USA, the UK, Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark, Switzerland, and Lithuania. That year, applicants from Lithuania accounted for about 30%. Success in the US has led to further expansion of the project and in 2012 the programme grew to include two more regions, namely Benelux and Lithuania. Once again, the year was marked with a record number of student applications including, but not limited to the aforementioned thirteen countries. Likewise 2013 saw an introduction of two more regions, namely Scandinavia and Global, a region that covers countries that have not yet been assigned to any of the five official constituencies. Introduction of the new regions has also been followed by an increased participation of mentors and mentees who in 2013 came from 24 different countries: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Georgia, Hong Kong, Italy, the USA, the UK, China, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, South Korea, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Sweden, and Germany. Over 70% of the mentees in 2013 gained international experience working with mentors living outside Lithuania.

Since the start in 2009, almost 500 students have already had an invaluable opportunity to complement their knowledge with insights from over 200 professional mentors. The programme has resulted in a number of SB/SS with support from BB/BS choosing the most suitable career or academic path matching their personal needs. Unsurprisingly, the feedback from the majority of students who had a chance to participate in the programme has been very positive.

Going forward these are the main areas where the interaction between BBs will be encouraged the most:

– Advice on future career planning.

– Advice on choice of studies at master and PhD levels.

– Advice on finding internships.

– Advice on how to look for a job.

Besides its core mission of professional mentoring, project members are invited to participate in high profile events involving representatives from business, government and other areas including prominent Lithuanian politicians and CEOs of the biggest Lithuanian companies. As a result, the project opens up great opportunities to grow personally and establish useful contacts.

Who is allowed to participate?

Our Small Brothers and Sisters usually are in their penultimate or final year studies at bachelors or masters levels in Lithuania or abroad with a strong interest in further academic or professional development in Lithuania or anywhere else in the world.

Who are those Big Brothers and Sisters?

This year we have over 200 experienced and enthusiastic fellow Lithuanian professionals from the best known Lithuanian and foreign companies as well as start-ups. BBs/BSs’ areas of expertise include economics, finance, business management, law, international relations, politics, consulting, media, journalism and others. To be more precise, BB/BS include Wall Street and City of London Finance Experts; Consultants from the world’s biggest management consulting companies such as McKinsey; Economists from the World Bank; Employees of Google, GetJar, and other recognised technology firms; International Law and International Relations Experts; and start-up founders to name a few. Geographically they work in Vilnius, Lithuania and in the most important business and political centres of the world: London, Brussels, New York, Washington, San Francisco, Chicago, Singapore and many others. All of them are eager to share their experience and help their SB/SS achieve their goals! More detailed BB/BS lists will be published every year in March, before the opening for student applications and the start of year’s project.

What is meant by the regions of the project?

This year LT Big Brother is taking place across six different regions: the UK, the USA, Benelux, Scandinavia, Lithuania, and Global. The regions represent where our mentors are based. Students are allowed to pick only one region, where they want to participate, regardless of the country of studies or residence. Rather than focusing on the latter, students should choose regions based on where they desire to undertake internships, work, or study, or where they find the most appropriate mentors for themselves. However, our extensive experience suggests that interactions tend to be much more fruitful when both mentor and his or her mentee are located in the same country or even city as similarities in location and time zones open opportunities for live meet-ups. Hence, we suggest taking that in to account before making your final choice of a region.

How everything works?

– Selection for the project takes place once a year.

– Student application process opens in March.

– Mentors are split across six regional groups based on their country of residence and employment: the USA, the UK, Benelux, Scandinavia, Lithuania, and Global region, the latter encompassing all the countries that do not belong to any of the five aforementioned regions.

– Student application process continues until April-May. Until then students send their covering letters, CVs, and submit their priority lists containing names of the 3 most desired mentors chosen from the mentor lists published on our website.

– Students are allowed to choose only one region where they want to participate.

– During the selection process, candidates will be carefully evaluated on their reasons for participation in the project, ability to clearly communicate their career aspirations, and identify their area of interest as well as expectations for their Big Brother/Sister. Each year not more than 70% of the best and the most motivated students are accepted to the programme.

– At the end of April, a list of BB/SB pairs is published assigning each BB/BS between one and three SB/SS.

– Conversations then begin! Skype and mobile phone calls, emails, coffee and lunch breaks.

– Official duration of the programme is 8 months, from the beginning of May to the end of December; as a result, students are strongly encouraged to make as much as possible of their time with their mentor.

– Students and mentors interact at least once a month via their mutually agreed means of communication.

– Important: After BB and SB are paired, effectiveness of future interactions depends solely on SB/SS’ initiative: despite mentors having a tight schedule, the programme offers unlimited opportunities. Hence, we expect a lot of drive, persistence and hunger for knowledge from our SBs/SSs as well as ability to lead interactions with their respective BB/BS (finding appropriate time for a meeting, sending meeting reminders, doing thorough preparation before conversations).

– Students take the responsibility to get in touch with their mentors at least once a month as well as prepare beforehand for the conversations. On the other hand, mentors assume the responsibility to set aside at least two hours of their time each month for their SB/SS at their own convenience.

– Students for successful interaction should set aside at least 5 hours every month.

– Occasionally interaction between BB and SB does not stop with the end of the programme and continues in to the future; some of the previous SBs/SSs after finishing their studies and acquiring some work experience can make a decision to re-join the project as BB/BS.

LT Big Brother is focused only on Lithuanian students. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please let us know!

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