LT Big Brother is the first and the only global voluntary professional mentoring programme for Lithuanians around the world. The main goal of the project is to connect successful professionals in various industries (Big Brothers/Sisters) with knowledge-seeking young Lithuanians (Small Brothers/Sisters) studying or commencing their carer around the globe.
LT Big Brother project was 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. Since 2011, LCLC organizes LT Big Brother in collaboration with Global Lithuanian Leaders, a non-profit association for professional individuals that identify with Lithuania and care about its future. Besides the official organizers, LT Big Brother is voluntarily run by more than 20 professionals.
Over the past 10 years, the project has successfully grown and developed, and became 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 100 applications. Success in the US has led to further expansion and in 2012 the programme grew to include two more mentor regions: Benelux and Lithuania. In 2013, LT Big Brother expanded to the Scandinavian region, and mentors that did not belong to any of established five regions fell under the newly established Global region.
Over the first decade of LT Big Brother existence, 2500 participants enrolled themselves in the mentoring programme. As a result, a total of 1300 mentor-mentee relationships were formed. In fact, around 200 participants from 24 different countries are carefully selected for the 9-month programme each year. The main achievement is that Small Brothers/Sisters usually successfully find the optimum career path or enter desired study programmes with the support of the mentors.
– The main mentor-mentee areas of focus:
– Career planning
– Choosing studies at Master and PhD levels
– Advice on finding internships or jobs
– Advice on developing business ideas or staring a new business
– Networking opportunities in a new country of residence
Besides the core mission of professional mentoring, project members are invited to participate in high profile events with leaders 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 connections.
Who is invited to participate?
You are welcome to apply for a programme to become a Small Brother/Sister if you are a university student or a recent graduate. Participants are usually looking for mentors, who could support them in making decisions regarding further studies, internship, implementation of a business idea, or career planning in Lithuania or abroad.
Who are those Big Brothers and Sisters?
This year, we have over 200 experienced and enthusiastic Lithuanian professionals from the best known Lithuanian and foreign companies as well as start-ups. Big Brothers’/Sisters’ areas of expertise include Economics, Finance, Business Management, Law, International Relations, Politics, Consulting, Medicine, Engineering, Art, etc. Big Brothers/Sisters are Wall Street and City of London financiers, consultants at the Big Four, economists at the World Bank, scientists performing research at the highest-ranked universities, international law and international relations experts, and start-up founders to name a few. Geographically speaking, mentors work in Vilnius, Lithuania as well as the most important business and political centres of the world: London, Brussels, New York, Washington, San Francisco, Chicago, Singapore, Hong Kong and many others. All of them are eager to share their experience and help their Small Brothers/Sisters achieve their goals! Detailed Big Brothers/Sisters lists are published every March.
What are the Regions of the project?
LT Big Brother takes place across six different regions: the UK, the USA, Benelux, Scandinavia, Lithuania, and Global. The regions represent where our mentors are based. Small Brothers/Sisters are allowed to pick any mentor from any of the regions regardless of the country of residence. However, our extensive experience suggests that interactions tend to be much more fruitful when both the mentor and his/her mentee are located in the same country or even city, as a common location and time zone provide opportunities for live meet-ups. Hence, we suggest taking that into account before making choosing a mentor.
How does it work?
– Selection for the project takes place once a year
– Mentee application process launches around March
– Mentors are split across six regional groups based on their country of residence and employment: the UK, the USA, Benelux, Scandinavia, Lithuania, and Global region, the latter encompassing all the countries that do not belong to any of the five aforementioned regions
– Students and young professionals send cover letters, CVs, and submit their preferences for up to 3 most desired mentors from the mentor list published on our website
– Applicants are allowed to choose mentors from all the regions. All selected mentors can belong to different regions.
– During the selection process, candidates will be carefully evaluated on their reasons for participation, ability to clearly communicate their career aspirations, and identify their area of interest as well as expectations for their Big Brothers/Sisters. Each year only around 70% of the best and the most motivated students are accepted to the programme
– At the end of April, a list of mentor-mentee pairs is published assigning each Big Brother/Sister 1-4 Small Brothers/Sisters. Only one mentor is assigned to a mentee
– Conversations then begin! Skype and mobile phone calls, emails, coffees and lunches are some of the most popular options
– Official duration of the programme is 8-9 months, May through December; as a result, students are strongly encouraged to make the most of their time with their mentor
– Mentees and mentors interact at least once a month
– Important: After mentor-mentee pairs are formed, effectiveness of future interactions depends solely on Small Brother’s/Sister’s 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 the Small Brothers/Sisters, as well as ability to lead interactions with their respective mentors (finding appropriate time for a meeting, sending meeting reminders, doing thorough preparation before conversations)
– Small Brothers/Sisters take the responsibility to get in touch with their mentors at least once a month as well as prepare for the conversations beforehand. On the other hand, mentors assume the responsibility to set aside at least 2 hours of their time each month for their mentee at their convenience
– Students should set aside at least 5 hours every month for preparation and successful interactions
– Occasionally, interaction between project participants does not stop with the end of the programme; some of the Small Brothers/Sisters alumni can make a decision to re-join the project as mentor after graduating from their studies and acquiring several years of relevant work experience