An interested and motivated student – a mission possible?

A student who is studying only for a diploma is a frequent sight in our high schools. However, it does not mean that there is no other way. Students can actually become interested and motivated. Yet what is a successful formula for motivation of students and growing of professional specialists?

One of the ways is to supplement the studies with the programmes, offering practical knowledge on how to establish one’s first business. Such a model has been tested by lecturers from Vilnius Universiity and Marijampolė College, who have integrated in their study programmes the programme of the youths’ entrepreneurship “Futurepreneurs”, being implemented for the first time in Lithuania. The lecturers claim unambiguously that the participation in such programmes highly motivates students, their feel important. What is more, they are surprised that the students willingly cover distances exceeding 100 km to be able to participate in the programmes in person – only to communicate directly with the lecturers, learn and gain knowledge.

Students’ reactions are exciting
The students have accepted the idea of participation in the programme with positive attitude and enthusiasm. “When I informed the students about this event, they themselves took the initiative to register and participate in it. They have gathered all the additional information about this program themselves”, – says Živilė Myru, a lecturer of Department of Business and Economics of Marijampolė College.

Moreover, young people are particularly motivated by the opportunity to see how business is created in practice, listen to the advice of experienced professionals. “Students are best motivated by the opportunity to be able to be a part of the actual process of business decision making. They are also inspired by encouragement from people who themselves were shy students at some point in time and today they own or manage their own businesses”, – points out dr. Indrė Šikšnelytė, a lecturer of Department of Business Economics and Management of Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius University.

“Student’s motivation is growing at a fast pace. Communication with the mentors of the programme especially contributes to this. When the professionals or specialists, with a practical experience in a particular field, speak to the students, praise, encourage them, the students feel as accomplishing some important tasks, rather than implementing mere student initiatives. I also have found that students have begun reading scientific journals, because this is needed to form a basis for their business ideas”, – stresses dr. Rasa Pušinaitė-Gelgotė, an Associate Professor of the Department of Business Economics and Management of Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius University.

Involvement of businesses is on the rise
Today, the need to integrate the business education curricula into studies, thus strengthening the link between the science and the real life, has manifested. As noticed by I. Šikšnelytė, the business is always welcome in education institutions and its growing involvement in the science life was noticed recently. The foreign capital companies have been the most active in cooperation with the education institutions, in recent years: they are conducting seminars, lectures, making presentations. “This is still a rather uncommon activity for the Lithuanian capital companies, but I hope that the business and science cooperation and the introduction of social responsibility principles into business will become the norm in the near future”, – points out I. Šikšnelytė.

The need to continue with the integration of business and science is also highlighted by R. Pušinaitė-Gelgotė. In her opinion, everything is going in circles – the existing students will potentially become employees of the companies. “The universities are unable to teach all the subtleties in business, therefore the business itself must be interested in integrating the students, at an early stage, by means of trainings and other programmes”, – says R. Pušinaitė-Gelgotė. She has support of Ž. Myru, who argues that the students are motivated by involvement into a purposeful activity – they willingly become engaged in the activities they find useful.

Ideas generated by students are to emerge into the daylight
Students participating in the programme are demonstrating their contrivance and solving problems relevant for the modern times. The ideas of the teams, participating in the programme under supervision of the lecturers, are not confined to a single field. A team “GREEN cup” is creating recyclable, environmentally-friendly paper cups, “The Economists” are developing a mobile application for digital vouchers that would replace the paper vouchers thereby facilitating the monitoring of day-to-day expenses, “Guerilla” generates logistics for the fruits and vegetables market – distribution of the products to business companies in the shortest possible time, whereas a team of “Zentaipreneurs” intends to produce heating briquettes from the herbivorous animals’ waste, that would replace the wood briquettes widely used today.

On 3 May, the final event of the “Futurepreneurs” programme will take place, in which both the lecturers will see the results of their students and the students themselves will be able to compare themselves with their peers by fighting for the best business idea and the best startup being created. On that day, all the teams will present their business ideas to potential investors and the commission will select the best ones from them. The young people compete in five categories: information and communications, finance, green technologies, defence and security, transport and logistics.