Eigirdas Keblikas – Overcoming the “Imposter” Syndrome and Building a Successful Career in Aviation
2020-12-16

I am a great believer in luck and past 10 years taught me that the harder I work, the more of it I have. I have faced many challenges through the last decade, but I realised that life is all about accepting them and choosing to move forward.  I believe that this mindset was the main tool that allowed me to climb the ladder of professional success.

How it all began

Let me start from the beginning. Perhaps like a lot teenagers nowadays, I was not sure which career path to choose, but it felt like time put everything in the right place eventually. After graduating from high school in a small village of Stakliskės, I enrolled at ISM University, where I studied in the Economics and Politics programme. The professional network that I built while studying at the university, as well as skills and knowledge that I gained, are the main factors that influenced my professional and personal development, and had a significant influence on my career growth. 

Studies at ISM

The first year at the university was certainly not a walk in the park. The “imposter” syndrome and the feeling that my peers are three steps ahead of me made it extremely challenging to keep my head up straight and stay motivated. Nevertheless, I was open to all opportunities that came my way. I managed to join the AIESEC organisation, which allowed me to gain my first sales experience and boost my CV.  In addition, it granted me an opportunity to travel to Vietnam as a volunteering project and later – to The Netherlands for my professional internship.

The importance of traveling

The life lessons I have learnt while traveling are indeed priceless. After many adventures, unforgettable moments and a few stolen phones and bikes, I believe that traveling is the best way to become mature both emotionally and socially.  The experience and skills that I gained while traveling have become the building blocks while constructing my career, which brought me to the global trading industry and, hence, to the aviation industry.

Birth of a successful career

For the last 4 years I have been a part of the Magnetic MRO, which is an Estonian total aviation technical care provider with offices around the globe. I started as a Sales Manager and after one year I was promoted to the Senior Sales Manager, which allowed me to start working with more profitable deals, as well as to train new employees. It took another year to climb even higher in the company’s hierarchy and I was promoted to Sales Team Lead. In 2018, I moved to Malaysia and opened a sales office in Kuala Lumpur. I was the Head of Sales Asia for aviation assets and spare parts, and I managed a team of 4-5 people, who were selling, purchasing and approaching clients in Asia. Indeed, this was yet another challenging, but exciting chapter of my life, as I gained new experiences and also had a chance to work more in-depth with the business development side.

After the pandemic started, I re-located back to Vilnius. I am currently the VP of asset trading and leasing, working with the biggest value aviation assets like engines, landing gears and full aircrafts. Being able to expand my knowledge, not only in the aviation field, but also in business and politics, is what makes my current career position so valuable and exciting. Furthermore, the communication and professional network skills are perhaps the most important for this job, as all sales come from negotiations, discussions and countless meetings. It’s a lot like working on Wall Street – it’s basically a lot of brokering and some perspective-mapping for a long-term projection. Unfortunately, my current position has also some downsides. It is very demanding and unpredictable. The feeling of uncertainty in a work environment at times can be very nerve-wracking.  However, impulsive business decisions have resulted in business trips to Miami, Dubai, London, just to name a few. For a wanderer like me, it’s a great industry – you meet amazing people and discover new cultures.

Yet another thing I appreciate in my workplace is that you have the opportunity to work independently, as well as within a team. I admire working alongside intelligent, driven and enthusiastic people, with whom I can compete and from learn. 

Dream job vs. real job

If somebody would have asked me a few years ago what I would imagine my dream job to be like, I would have described the work that I currently do. We have great office here in Vilnius, where you can see the whole city from the 29th floor; we are working in perhaps the best industry in the world; I have an opportunity to make enormous sales deals, work with aviation industry leaders and even the highest level government officials, and, most importantly, every day I’m part of a dream team, who I really enjoy working with. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank ISM University and all my lecturers, who kept us motivated and inspired to chase the success in both our professional and personal lives.