Andrei Maewski, 2012 Alumnus of the Political Science and European Studies bachelor program, has already managed to finish his master’s in London, gain professional experience in consulting, and even open his own international company in the sphere of Human Resources (HR) in Vilnius. In this exclusive interview he shares how he applies what he learned at university and afterwards.
Could you tell us what events had been happening in your life in the period of time between finishing EHU and opening your own business?
Actually, many things happened between finishing EHU and opening my own business. I managed to get my master’s degree at Goldsmiths, University of London, where I studied the International Studies program. Simultaneously I had a political consulting internship that involved developing political programs and lobbying in African countries. A little bit later I spent two years working at Ward Howell, a company involved in the search and recruitment of top-managers. They have been paying close attention to the development of leadership potential since 1951. By the way, I wasn’t the first EHU student who worked at that company. On the whole, the experience turned out to be quite valuable for me, because at this stage I understood that I want to develop professionally in the sphere of HR.
How did it happen that having an education in the field of political science you got involved in HR?
Indeed, my education is not entirely connected with today’s activity. However, it is important to mention that there are few if any university programs that teach students HR specifically. The thing is that it’s a very broad industry where people with good knowledge of social processes, understanding of international relations and business, and people will be able to find themselves.
Tell us about your company, GlobalHRU.
We make quite interesting things, in my opinion. First of all, we work with HR-technologies, which are not well represented in Lithuania. Secondly, our company organizes events in the style of TEDx, but with more applied character, particularly for the HR-industry. Such events give people an opportunity not only to listen, but also actively participate in the conference. They also help companies who work with HR-technologies to develop and enter new markets. Moreover, at the moment we are working on an application that will allow HR-specialist from all over the world to share their knowledge and experience with each other.
What is the main idea behind this app?
This will be a free app for Apple and Android that will allow users connected to HR to ask questions wherever and whenever they like and receive high-quality answers primarily from professionals from the direction of HR that are particularly interested in. At the moment our community unites more than 50,000 people from the HR-industry; therefore, we will be able to find answers to any questions that concern management and recruitment of personnel.
Why did you decide to remain in Vilnius and open your business here?
I remember the moment when I started feeling as though Vilnius was not my second, but rather my first home. It happened during the third year of my studies when I returned from quite a long trip to Scotland and understood that Vilnius is the city where I want to live forever. Besides that, from the commercial point of view Lithuania is a good place for doing business at any stage. Conditions that the Lithuanian government provides young companies are advantageous and allow them to develop without lots of bureaucratic delays.
How difficult was it to start your own business without having much experience?
While working in consulting I communicated with people who either have their own business or manage large teams of people; thus, I gained some strategic experience. Moreover, I have two great partners: one is from Finland and has more than 7 years of experience in HR; the other was one of the first people in the world who started investing particularly in HR-technologies. Of course, having your own business is a big responsibility and sometimes you have to make sacrifices, but everything is much easier when you have a good team.
What are some of the things EHU taught you that were helpful in your professional life?
I remember when I came to EHU during Open Door Days; my parents wondered, what will university teach me? Grigoriy Yakovlevich Minenkov told them that the university will teach me how to study. These are very fine words that I now use often with my employees: we do not give you work but rather teach you how to work and be responsible for your actions. A person should know for himself what he needs to achieve for his goals (that is, using only legal and fair methods). One more thing I am grateful to EHU and particularly to Darius Udrys for is the ability to communicate with people and make deals.
What do you plan for the near future?
I hope that by the end of this year we will have launched our app and hold the 50 events we have planned. Next year we are going to hold 100 events and continue to expand our team.
Photo: Oscar Mager.