Success story


Study level


Year of graduation

AGE: 29
WORKPLACE: Western Union
POSITION: advertising project manager responsible for EU and CIS regions
HOBBIES: basketball, table football, mountains, travelling, snooker
LANGUAGES: lithuanian, english, russian, and polish
Liudas Abišala is an ISM graduate who doesn‘t shun challenges. He has already tried his abilities in telecommunications and publishing businesses. Nonetheless, Liudas feels he is at his best in the world of advertising. He describes his worldview by quoting an ad from The Economist ‘Leave no answer unquestioned’ and encourages to be brave enough to engage in self-investigation and seek one’s own path. 
Challenges in different fields 
In my short career I have tried several different fields. Right after the graduation from ISM, my friends and I took to publishing the magazine on urban culture UrbaNation and produced a TV programme under the same name. Although this project was shot-lived, it helped us all to get a better grasp of the business world and learn the rules you would not find in a textbook. Later I joined one of the best advertising agencies in Lithuania Adell Taivas Ogilvy where I started as a junior project manager. Quite soon I succeeded to make a career and started working on the advertising projects of such famous brands as Gillette, Avon, Pildyk, Ford, etc. Later I left for Canada where I worked in the Ottawa advertising agency Acart Communications as an intern. 
I decided to come back to Lithuania when the economy was at its lowest (November 2009). At that time many considered me to be a fool and suggested that I spend some more time somewhere else, where the situation was better (presumably anywhere else but home). But I always felt that if you believe in yourself, if you are not lazy, you will always find a way to ‘sell youreself’ without compromising on your values. Upon my return to Lithuania, I made a list of three companies which I would prefer to work for, gathered contacts of relevant people and sent out personal letters about myself and my wish to meet and discuss how we could be of use to each other. I soon became a product manager at Omnitel responsible for value-added products. It was a brand new field for me, and I had to learn many things anew. I had to upgrade my knowledge of IT and work with other types of people than in the advertising agency. It was an interesting job with plenty of challenges, but when I received a proposal to work for Western Union and take care of advertising projects for the whole EU&CIS region, that opportunity I could not resist. I later asked my manager why he chose me out of so many candidates, and his answer was very simple: first of all, my work experience (advertising agency, corporation, daily use of English at work); second, personal features, i.e. personal abilities and bravery to express personal opinion, initiative-taking, continuous self-education, willingness to accept new challenges; and third, participation in the activities of student organisations. In his opinion, it was the key experince that all students needed.  
Studies and NGO activities 
Studies at ISM helped me gain confidence and take risks. At the time my generation started studing at ISM, it had not yet had a single graduate from the bachelor’s studies, but ISM’s enthusiasm lit an inner spark in us which is still there to this day, pushing me forward and urging to improve. Erasmus exchange programme and half a year in Helsinki helped form a different outlook on other cultures, i.e. gain understanding that every nation is fascinating and all countries are inhabited by superb people. But the main benefit was the understanding of what my close ones mean to me and how much I care about my own country. Being involved with AIESEC provided enriching experience which I would describe as follows: 
1. Tolerance – having direct contact with people of other races, creeds, orientations and viewponts on the whole helps you get rid of various hardened stereotypes;
2. Business practice: when you organize a six-day conference for 150 people and your budget is LTL 30,000 short, you have no other way out but to scrable this money – and so we did;
3. Internship experience is a great adventure which I highly recommend trying;
4. The habit to take action – the feeling that you simply cannot stand still and do nothing;
5. A network of contacts – something no textbook can ever provide you with. Any larger company has a former AIESEC member. 
I strongly advise everyone to get involved in the NGO activities as it is the best opportunity to practically try the theoretical knowledge that you have learned at the university. If you are willing to take action, do what you have never tried before, discover yourself and new cultures, AIESEC should be one of your top choices.
Future plans: in search for my own path
I cannot say I have surely found the right path in my carrier and life. I guess I will still have to go through a number of ventures and new experiences before I realize what gives me the utmost pleasure. In the nearest future I intend to organize seminars and training on advertising. I hope I will have the pleasure to share my knowledge with the ISM community. And later... later we shall see. 
I wish myself and others to be brave enough to take risks, to try out something new, to act, to question ourselves and to follow our own path, because you never know what experience can come of use one day. Let us not forget the frequently quoted and absolutely true words of Steve Jobs ‘Stay foolish, stay hungry’. 


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