The astounding career story of ISM graduate Mykolas Stumbras
2020-11-19

There is no direct path to get to where you really want, or at least I have not been able to find one. It took me 539 days to earn the position of basketball analyst for Kaunas Žalgiris.

How it all began

I remember trying to land the position of an NBA (National Basketball Association) trainee back when I was studying finance, in my second and third years at university. Like most have experienced, I was filled with a sense of hope when submitting my CV and cover letter to my dream position. But what are the chances of out-competing the hundreds of other candidates from around the world?

I have realized that in order to achieve your goal, you need to seek guidance, reach out to people who can push you in the right direction, and work consistently towards your aim. During my journey, one such individual was the former NBA basketball analyst, who advised me to pursue this career. About 1.5 years after our discussion, I signed a contract with Kaunas Žalgiris.

Expertise gained while studying

In the fall of 2017, together with my coursemate (who is now my wife), Milda, we went to Oslo’s BI Norwegian Business School, as part of the ISM double diploma program. It was a year filled with new experiences and consistent work. The year abroad allowed me to invest all my attention towards becoming a basketball analyst. During those years I constructed numerous models, analyzed the EuroLeague, European Cup and Lithuanian Basketball League championships. I did all this in the hope of getting into one of the greatest clubs in Lithuania.

Upon returning to Lithuania, I had to knock on the doors of various basketball clubs for a lengthy period, in an attempt to sell the concept of basketball analytics and persuade clubs to invest in it. It was a very long summer and offers were still not flowing in. Autumn came, I began writing my dissertation and searching for an internship. I could no longer wait so I worked as a financial analyst at a car dealership.

Balancing my studies and work dampened my enthusiasm towards pursuing a career in basketball. But I wasn‘t ready to let go of my dream and, slowly but surely, my career began to move along.  My desire was the cornerstone as to why I succeeded. I, though not as enthusiastic as before, did not stop analyzing basketball and looking for opportunities. Now, as an established basketball analyst, I can say that even when the ball is thrown from the other side of the court, if thrown with persistence, it is bound to fall in the net sometime.

The beginning of my career

That’s exactly what happened. I had one and then another meeting with Žalgiris‘ management. During the third, I presented my work to the coach’s staff. I was aided by my persistence and practical knowledge gained in business information systems about the „Microsoft Power BI“ program led by Adas Keserauskas.

Everything gradually developed into the signing of a contact. At the start of 2019, I became part of the Žalgiris organization, just prior to the six consecutive victories in the EuroLeague.

I was lucky enough to have Milda, who supported me all those years in Norway and kept encouraging me not to give up. I am also grateful to ISM, which provided the tools and expertise to achieve my goal.