For five consecutive years the ISM University of Management and Economics has been cherishing a unique philanthropic tradition. Since the day the ISM Foundation initiated the ISM Excellent 100 programme, over 200 students had an opportunity to study at ISM free of charge.
On 12 May the ISM University of Management and Economics hosted a thanksgiving event where business representatives, students and academicians shared their ideas about the importance of sponsorship in the area of education and celebrated the fact that more and more of the most gifted young people, irrespective of their financial circumstances, have the opportunity to become members of the ISM community and thus contribute to the creation of a better future for Lithuania.
Support for the most gifted
The ISM Foundation is implementing the ISM Excellent 100 programme of scholarships aimed at promoting the integration of business and academic world and providing more of the best school graduates with the opportunity to study in Lithuania free of charge.
Alfredas Chmieliauskas, president of the ISM university, says that ISM has always wanted to be a university that does more than required and cherishes different traditions of higher education, focusses on different standards and notices gifted and talented individuals.
‘Best things happen when we do a lot more than required and do it from the bottom of our heart. Therefore, thanks to the sponsors who have gathered here today, we can celebrate our meaningful investment into the future of young people and Lithuania. I have no doubt that these students will supersede their own expectations and will contribute to the wellbeing of their home country in the future to come,’ said president of ISM in his welcoming speech when addressing those gathered at the thanksgiving event.
According to Jurgita Gaukštienė, director of ISM Foundation, it is thanks to the sponsors that active young people, who have always dreamt of studying at ISM but had no opportunity to do so because of their parents or caregivers being unable to provide them with the opportunity, are studying at the ISM university now as a result of having been selected by the alumni committee. Mrs Gaukštienė also noted that most of the ISM scholarship recipients were considering two alternatives, that is, either to study at ISM or to leave for studies abroad.
‘I am very pleased that our university has provided the most gifted young people with the opportunity to both study free of charge and stay in Lithuania. The philanthropic tradition of the kind is a unique phenomenon among Lithuanian universities. This year we have yet another occasion to celebrate. Mr Rytis Mėdžius, an ISM graduate and director of Exterus, established a full-year social scholarship for active young individuals from deprived families,’ Jurgita Gaukštienė said.
Sponsorship should become a norm
Rytis Mėdžius, a graduate of the ISM Executive School and a sponsor of social scholarships, is convinced that partnership and exchange lead to success.
‘Success comes only if there is a win-win situation. Therefore, in my view, the scholarship is a way for me to live a better life as a result of others around me being better off. It would be right to say that I am doing this both because of my good will and because of pragmatic reasons. It is evident that Western countries, which support gifted students who are unable to pay for their studies, achieve good results and this principle works really well,’ Rytis Mėdžius said.
According to Mr Mėdžius, if more people made at least a small contribution to initiatives of the kind, we would see improvements rather soon.
‘I urge others to sponsor gifted students and education. I understand that it is always difficult to give away your hard-earned money and still it is the only way to raise the standard of living in Lithuania. Especially that the support should not necessarily come in millions,’ Mr Mėdžius said.
Kęstutis Vanagas, director general of YIT Kausta and one of the guests at the thanksgiving event, fully supports this idea, too.
‘Nowadays it is extremely important to remember values and in addition to thinking of my own or my family’s needs to take a broader look and think of what I can give to others,’ director said.
According to Kęstutis Vanagas, the most important thing is to have certain underlying values and cherish them all your life. ‘Clear values helped me a lot in my function as a CEO at the times of crisis. They came in handy when overcoming the biggest hardships that our 50-year-old company had to face. You may learn all the technical things that are taking place on a construction site, but when it comes to motivating your staff you need much more than technical knowledge alone. It was the underlying values that united us all and helped the company survive during times of biggest financial hardships. Our knowledge may ‘feed’ us all our life, therefore I wish you all to continue improving your knowledge and to live a life that keeps your conscience clear and exempt from any need to fake anything,’ the sponsor said when addressing the students.
In autumn 2015, there were as many as 148 students who, thanks to the ISM Excellent 100, studied at the ISM university free of charge. Sixteen of the students received scholarships established by sponsor companies, and the rest had their studies financed by the ISM university. Since 2011, the number of the best school graduates in Lithuania that have been granted scholarships by the ISM Excellent 100 has reached 200. The Excellent 100 scholarships have been established by such companies as Nestle Baltics, Lindorff Business Services, Linas Agro, Amilina, YIT Kausta, Hanner, Mobili Baltija, Transcom, CV-Online. Social scholarships have been offered by Ergolain, Exterus, Decora and law firm Valiunas Ellex, the sponsor of legal services of the ISM Foundation.
According to Eglė Gervytė, a third-year student of finance at ISM, it was the ISM university that indoctrinated with the idea of setting extremely ambitious goals that are hard to achieve, but continue to believe in yourself and put every effort necessary to achieve the set goals.
‘Throughout these years I met a lot of wonderful people and motivating teachers who helped me form an understanding about the surrounding environment and the world in general, and inspired to be inquisitive all the time instead of ‘going with the flow,’ the beneficiary of the ISM Excellent 100 scholarship said.
‘Good deeds are contagious. The ISM Excellent 100 scholarship made me more determined to move forward. It made me eager to promote the university’s name, to make it famous and contribute to the overall wellbeing and success of the ISM university in any way I can. Last summer I did not even dear to dream about it, but now I am happy to be actively involved with the ISM Marketing Group and ISM Students Association, where I have a lot of opportunities to contribute to great projects, such as Creative Shock, TEDxISM and others. The trust that other people show in you and belief in whatever you do is the best stimulus to take action, use the whole array of opportunities, do good deeds and supersede yourself,’ Brigita Kavaliauskaitė, first-year student of international business and communication, said.
The ISM Foundation was established in 2011 and ever since it has been actively involved in inviting the ISM Alumni to join various sponsorship activities. ISM graduates have been actively involved in many sponsorship events and have established a foundation that grants social scholarships to young individuals from deprived families. More than 500 ISM graduates have already contributed to the social scholarship foundation.