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Filip Risteski: Turning Lithuania into Home

2021-04-15

Filip Risteski, an alumnus from North Macedonia, graduated from LCC in 2008 with a degree in Business Administration. He continues to build his life in Lithuania, working in finance and creating a family. He shares the details of his 17-year journey that started on the LCC International University campus.

Among the many universities around Europe, Filip applied to LCC and once accepted, took a chance and a huge step. Coming from warm and sunny North Macedonia, Filip laughs recalling his first impression of rainy Lithuania. Yet, it changed when he set foot on the campus and experienced the attention and care of LCC staff and faculty. “The first days in Lithuania and at LCC were something that really left a mark in my life. They were really extraordinary.”

Filip was an active student, who wanted to capture any opportunity that LCC had to offer. He was seeking experiences beyond academics, participating in community life. That helped him to connect with Lithuanian culture and its people, ultimately leading to the decision to stay.

After graduation, Filip started his career at EY (formerly Ernst & Young) as an audit consultant in Vilnius. In his 11 years there, he grew to a Senior Management position. In 2019 with his vast expertise in auditing, Filip decided to go into Finance and became a Chief Financial Officer at Biomapas, an outsourcing solution provider to the global life science industry. Currently, he lives in Vilnius with his wife and two children.

Reflecting on the value of his LCC education, Filip notes three important aspects: academic preparation, soft skills, and network-building. At the beginning of the career, Filip lacked hands-on experience in auditing, however, his academic background was “more than enough for getting the job.” As accounting and finance principles were well-covered in the LCC curriculum, his Business Administration degree also assisted in obtaining an ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) certification in 2014. Filip also appreciates the network he built while at LCC, since in a small country like Lithuania businesses are rather interconnected. “To me, the people who were a part of LCC are still like a family, even meeting them 15 or 20 years later.”

The Liberal Arts format of education was the biggest game-changer for Filip, as outside-the-major classes like academic writing, public speaking, and psychology equipped him with soft skills for dealing with everyday work problems. “You do come across stressful and conflictual situations and it’s all about the education and insights from your classes that inform you on how to solve those,” says the alumnus. He also remembers how it required project and time-management skills, discipline, and resilience to adjust to the working environment at the start of the career.

“It is easier than you think,” encourages Filip, when asked to share tips with students who want to stay in Lithuania after graduation. “The Lithuanian job market is becoming much more open to international students.” He recommends carefully choosing companies to apply to and settling only for those you genuinely feel like becoming a part of. You should be brave and apply even when you feel like you are not up to the level yet. Then go the extra mile to learn things you don’t know.”

Language mastery is among those things. Filip says that many companies do not require Lithuanian skills but, in his own experience, learning the language gave “an internal shift,” that made him more confident in social situations and more connected to the country. While he did take additional Lithuanian courses, Filip learned the most through everyday conversations with colleagues and friends.

Looking back on his journey, Filip shares advice with prospective students. “Being part of this community will make a difference for your future.” He emphasizes the constant sharing of knowledge and cultures is a unique aspect of LCC, that students should take advantage of. Filip concludes that to be successful, one has to go beyond what is expected and use all the opportunities along the way.

If you missed the Coffee with Alumni webinar with Filip Risteski and want to learn more about his experience, follow the link for the full video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84yMBVh1g8A&ab_channel=LCCInternationalUniversity

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