Big Start 2023. How was UCU created? Meeting of this year’s prospective students with Taras Dobko, Sofia Opatska, and Yaryna Boichuk.

12 Oct 2023

What is the role of business education in an entrepreneur’s life? What goals should one set to achieve the best results? How does the community influence the life of each applicant? Big Start 2023 has begun! Within the first day of learning, all applicants of the Master’s programs at the UCU Business School found answers to these and many other questions during a meeting with UCU Rector Taras Dobko, the founding dean of the UCU Business School and UCU Vice-Rector for Strategic Development Sofia Opatska, and the director of the UCU Business School Yaryna Boichuk. We’re sharing the best thoughts and motivation with you.

At UCU, you will always have the opportunity to learn something. When meeting people, even in the hallways, you can gain insights for your own personal and business development,” – Yaryna Boichuk.

During the panel discussion, Taras Dobko, Sofia Opatska, and Yaryna Boichuk shared the story of creating UCU and the UCU Business School, the mission and values of the school, and how to turn two years of education into invaluable experience, contributing to personal growth and one’s own business development.

This year, the Business School UCU welcomed 78 new participants from over 9 different cities in Ukraine. The walls of the UCU Business School have brought together people with diverse management experience and from various fields: from the defense industry to IT.

The important criteria for our applicants are experience and the desire to reevaluate their own experience.

You are already part of a community you can rely on. And that’s very important.

Make good use of this time. You’ve chosen to learn in a challenging period, which places significant and important responsibilities on both you and us, as the Business School.

For us, community means being able to count on other people, even if you don’t know them personally, but they are part of the Business School: all our participants, alumni, and team,” – shared Sofia Opatska.

What do participants expect from studying at UCU?

Participants shared their thoughts in real time. What do they anticipate the most? Inspiration, new challenges, scaling, knowledge systematization, and becoming a part of the UCU Community.

You are special and valuable to me because you will be the first among my graduates. Your successes in your university studies are extremely important.

I am pleased to see familiar faces among you, people who have already studied here. I really hope that over these two years, we will get to know each other better. After all, human stories matter to us, people, not just numbers and charts.

Studying at UCU is about getting inspired, energized with the drive to easily overcome any difficulties ahead,” – addressed Taras Dobko, Rector of UCU, to the participants.

How was the Ukrainian Catholic University created, and what goals did everyone set for themselves?

The applicants also learned more about the history of UCU.

“The university was founded by Patriarch Josyf Slipyj in exile. Therefore, the values and principles that formed the foundation of the university, which allowed it to survive and continue its existence, are crucial.

We were small, and people often asked us what the university could contribute to the religious and social life of Ukraine. But there were values and people who wanted to create,” – shared Taras Dobko.

At that moment, everyone understood that the main task of UCU was to reevaluate the idea of a university in the 21st century. In this way, the Ukrainian Catholic University became one of the first startups in Ukraine. Therefore, the current strategy is not just about identifying new goals, but about recharging and getting inspired.

It’s important to know our history, the history of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, of which the university is a part, and which operated underground. We have someone to look up to in our history.

Because this history is an example of leadership and it has only now become clearer to us and our students,” – added Sofia Opatska.

Sofia Opatska also mentioned the founding of the Business School as part of UCU in 2008.

In order to have the best graduates, we need the best applicants. That’s why we have a selection process, and you’ve passed it. And our task is not to hinder you. If you bring the desire to change something in this country, to inspire with your leadership, it means we’ve succeeded,” – Sofia Opatska.

What is the development strategy of the university and what role do participants play in this process?

The significant impact of a small university. That’s why we’ve chosen the most effective method – the format of testimony. If you’re small, you can influence through testimony.

We want to do things with quality. Guide not hide. If we’ve discovered something, if we’ve succeeded at something – we’re ready to share it. This required us to be even more inventive. So, the language of testimony is one way of influencing,” – Taras Dobko.

“Coming to the Business School from the business world, I realized that besides numbers, there are these invisible things you rely on, and if the whole team supports you, then nothing is impossible.

In strategy, there always remains a moment of faith. Numbers are good, but not everything in life can be measured by them,” – Sofia Opatska.

Taras Dobko also shared one of the goals:

We want UCU to be an environment that generates ideas and passes them on through thought leaders. We understand that as a community of students and staff, we are small. But our community includes graduates, participants, their families. We want there to be a whole network of communities around UCU.”

Sofia Opatska and Taras Dobko also shared what all participants will gain upon completing their studies. Among them:

  1. Readiness to take on challenging tasks. Graduates are individuals who see an opportunity to do something in our country that is capable of bringing about significant change in Ukraine. They are leaders with a global mindset, people who can engage with international leaders and drive such a breakthrough.
  2. Leadership for service. What does it mean to be elite? It means seeing beyond one’s own interests. Setting an example of leadership for service is also a mission of a UCU graduate.
  3. The desire to grow personally and cultivate everything around. T-shaped individuals. People who develop not only in depth but also in breadth. All of you are already professionals in your field. UCU can provide that breadth, and it may come from the most unexpected people and fields.

And most importantly: “Do not be afraid and do not relax. Now your education begins, lasting for two years.