Arturs Liepa started his studies at Riga Business School in the Bachelor of Business Administration program in September 2022. He participated in the Greenhouse program, where he received a scholarship to cover the tuition fees for the first year of studies thanks to his leadership, engagement, and high achievements. Arturs combines his studies with his career as a professional triathlete and participates in world-class competitions representing Latvia. He has ambitious goals for the future – as the best Latvian triathlete in the youth group, he is determined to compete in the Olympic Games. In our conversation, Arturs talks about his studies and sport, how to combine both, and how to find his calling.
Given your fast-paced life, how do you combine a career as a professional athlete with your studies?
From the beginning, I expected combining studies and sports would be challenging. I faced a dilemma of whether I should exclusively pursue sports or choose a safer path by combining sports and business studies. I was hoping to get support from my university, which I got from Riga Business School, provided that my academic performance remained at a high level. Admittedly, you have to sacrifice something to become the best. For example, I sacrificed sleeping soundly and moments of “doing nothing”. To combine everything, I am constantly on the move, for instance, driving and listening to a podcast simultaneously. I try to make the most out of every moment.
Why did you choose to study if you already have a career as a professional athlete?
When I finished high school, I realized that I had to pursue higher education because a career as an athlete is not lifelong. I chose Riga Business School because it is a very high-level business school in Latvia, which also offers a variety of opportunities that you can take advantage of.
How did you decide to study business? Why did you choose Riga Business School?
I was relatively late in making this decision, and it wasn’t until the middle of Grade 12 that I knew exactly what I wanted to study. Many of my relatives are medics, but I knew it was not my calling. Business studies clicked because I could work in any field and hold any position. I see myself talking to people and developing business ideas, so I realized that business was what I wanted to do. Initially, Riga Business School was just an advertisement that I saw on social media among other universities. Slowly, I started filtering what I wanted and didn’t. One of the main factors that helped me decide to study at Riga Business School was my participation in the RBS Greenhouse project. I thoroughly enjoyed the learning process, met incredible people, and actively participated in the program. That’s how I knew I wanted to study here.
Riga Business School provides practical education. What do you think is the role of such an education in building a successful career?
I believe that learning theory from books is no longer relevant today. Nowadays, we need to be able to find information, analyze and communicate, not memorize formulas. Riga Business School was where I could study the way I wanted to – through presentations, teamwork, and projects to develop skills that can be used in real life. Riga Business School offers a fantastic study environment. There are those huge universities where you feel like a tiny ant, but here I feel that we are all together, including the staff and lecturers – we are all one big family. Balancing professionalism and friendship is an art – I think Riga Business School is almost perfect in this respect.
What is your daily life like?
Crazy! Triathlon is not easy; it’s three sports that have to be combined. You have to be good at all three, not one. I get up very early in the morning. I go to swimming practice and have university until 5.00 PM or 7.00 PM. If there is free time between lectures, I go to practice again, but if the whole day is full, I go home and practice until 11.00 PM. However, my training hours of 16 to 18 per week are not enough. For professionals who are not studying, those are 30 hours per week. I try to do more, but I respect my limits: how much I can and want to do.
What is the most surprising thing you have experienced at Riga Business School?
Not the most surprising thing, but I expected a lot of work with people: group work that puts you in a team with people you didn’t know before. You have to learn to work together to get a good result. That’s the thing I like because you get real-life experience that you can then use when you start your own business. As a leader, you have to be able to work with different people so that no one is left out. The other thing is all the opportunities that I get from the events and projects that Riga Business School gets involved in. The students and staff are active; they invite you to do things – it’s not just the learning process. It’s a chance to look in different directions.
What advice would you give to young adults who don’t know what they want to do with their lives?
Why say “no” when you can say “yes”? I like to go out of my comfort zone, to test myself, to see how far I can go in my sports career and outside of it – studies, hobbies, and ideas that can be developed. I believe that in life, you have to try everything and then you will know what you like and what you don’t like. Before I got into triathlon, I was a swimmer. I also tried basketball, fencing, and folk dancing, but inspired by my dad’s example, who himself was a high-level athlete in modern pentathlon. I slowly started to turn to triathlon, where I have now achieved good results – I have traveled the world representing Latvia and attained high rankings, which I intend to do in the future too. Also, when it comes to choosing my studies, I tried a lot of things to understand what I wanted. When you’re in Grade 12, you have to try different things. It doesn’t have to be long – a week, two weeks. And then, after a while, you will see what you are more interested in.
What are your future plans?
When I graduate, I want to be someone who has a diploma and has achieved something. In sports, my goal is to represent Latvia in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, which would be a huge honor. I want to keep playing sports, stay active and promote the idea of dual careers – that you can be both a good athlete and a good student. I want to educate the public that everybody should work-out, even if it’s just a bit – a cross in the morning, 15 minutes of abdominal exercises. You have to exercise for healthy brain activity. Outside of sports, I want to develop a start-up to achieve something big.