"Who else, if not I will uphold the name of the University of Latvia?" – a rhetorical question is posed by the student of the UL Faculty of Business, Management and Economics (FBME) and the former scholarship recipient of the UL Foundation Juris Baldunčiks. Even after graduation, Juris continues to support the university, stressing his duty to support his alma mater.

What do you do for a living?

Most of the time is spent at my employer’s, the company “Samsung”. I head the work with “the big customers", directly dealing with technologies, telephones and all IT equipment and cooperating with the largest operators in Latvia. Let's say, I am responsible for collaboration and everything that happens between the operators and the company. Work is very interesting, because it is related to the events and processes worldwide. The industry is extremely variable. At the same time, of course, I aim for constant improvement. At the moment, we have started a small enterprise of beer production for a small group of friends.

Which knowledge gained at the university helps the most?

Management skills are closely connected to my job. Perhaps it would not be possible to say that during the study we went into a topic in a great detail, but the studies covered all the possible business processes that can be expected in the company. Being the manager of big customers means you need to know everything – marketing, trade and even law. Often different contracts have to be prepared. I know that I have been branded as being too general in business management studies, however, in my case, it has been very helpful.

What is the greatest benefit of studying at the university?

The University of Latvia has definitely always had its own name. Of course, you can learn the specific knowledge you need for the job, but I think the university also teaches a very good structure, as well as the ability to learn, improve and develop yourself. You never know what you will do in the workplace, but when you are taught a sound structure to follow, it provides the means how you can improve yourself in the long run, as well as helps to navigate in those cases when it is necessary to understand something urgently, because you have learned where and how to look for what you need. Naturally, people cannot know everything, and thus a clear structure is very helpful.

How do you currently support the University of Latvia?

I certainly support my alma mater. I have unequivocally upheld the UL name in various job interviews, meetings with business partners or overall negotiations. I am proud to always point out the strengths of the UL with a clear personal commitment – who else, if not I will endorse the name of the UL? This is my alma mater, and consequently, first of all, in any situation bearing a reference to education or the University of Latvia, the University always has my wholehearted support. Secondly, I occasionally commit something to the UL Foundation because I am really grateful of its support extended to me at the time I was awarded a scholarship. These days, I sometimes need a reminder to donate (laughs). Thirdly, if there is a chance to engage in any research projects, I always aspire to help my university. During the master's programme I had a thought to apply for the doctoral programme immediately, however, the lack of time prevented it.

If you were to study again, what would you change in the study process?

During my studies, unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to participate in Erasmus +. I would probably place more effort in being a part of international environment. Luckily, I had a chance to gain international experience elsewhere, yet I would have liked to have had it during my bachelor's studies. I would also have liked to be more involved in extra-curricular activities. I would definitely be more active, because it yields a good vision in addition to the learning environment.

You received several scholarships during your studies. How did that help you in the studying process?

The scholarships greatly eased the learning process. The first, the most visible part, was, of course, financial support. Obtaining additional funds did not take the first priority. Moreover, secondly, when I got my first scholarship, – a Kristaps Morbergs scholarship, I was very grateful, because it was a strong moral impetus. At that moment, many things and events seemed stuck. I suppose I am not afraid of failures, a lot can be learned from them, but at that time it was a great stimulant to believing that I could really do something. Now, looking back, the financial support itself did not play the major role in future achievements.

Any suggestions for the students hoping to obtain a scholarship?

Firstly, I recommend reading the requirements when applying for a scholarship. Secondly, one should not fall into the other extreme – don’t be afraid to mention something that seems irrelevant to the particular scholarship, because “it doesn't interest anyone”. Nowadays, working environment and perception of what "successful" means is changing. The success factor can be different for everyone. Crazy ideas and a different approach should be evaluated, and often, in my opinion, they are also valued by awarding a scholarship. I suggest you think about what sets you apart from others and how you can use it.

What are your future plans?

Doctoral studies, which are still more like a dream. I really want to make it, but su far it has not been physically possible to enrol because of the work and other projects I am trying to develop. It is necessary to consider things carefully, and perhaps structure my life a little bit differently to make it possible