UCU Business School: Report on Wartime Activities in Ukraine

Our unity is in our strength, and the war in Ukraine proved this once again. From the first day of the war, UCU Business School (LvBS) as well as our graduates, teachers, participants, like-minded people and partners began to work on their fronts.

We have summed up the activities of the UCU Business School during the six weeks of the war (February-April 2022). What is happening right now – read in our article.

Academic (educational) front:

February 24 was to be the second day of the training module for participants in the UCU Business School (LvBS) master’s programs. Coincidentally, all 5 programs were on campus. As early as 7 am, we announced the termination of the training process, provided data on storage facilities and organized a common communication channel for all program participants so that they could unite in their actions and plans to go home.

The next two weeks were devoted to volunteer assistance and coordination within the community – who is responsible for which area – and to the opportunity to join forces. You can read more about these initiatives below.

Beginning on March 15, we began resuming online and live group meetings and training modules to share business challenges and experiences we have had during this time. 

UCU Business School even under the most difficult circumstances strives to fulfill its mission – Growing companies by growing people. 

Key facts:

  •         We have resumed training and organized a series of online training discussions for participants in all master’s programs on strategy, finance and communication during the war;
  •         conducted 1 full course (12 hours) on facilitation skills, gathering about 50 participants;
  •         held 2 webinars in corporate format (about 170 students).
  •         Agreed on a series of webinars for April-May and the resumption of the corporate program for the IT company;
  •         We have brought together more than 60 teachers in the LvBS Army community and are working together on the educational front: thinking about new programs and learning formats, launching case studies, sharing ideas;
  •         The next level of partnership with Ivey Business School – the possibility of one-year study at Ivey – 6 master’s students will go to the annual MBA program at Ivey Business School;
  •         15 participants of master’s programs are trained in online courses at DePaul University;
  •         reformatted 3 Executive Education programs into a joint series of thematic webinars on tools for resuming business in wartime;
  •         held a meeting with Andriy Dlihach on the topic: Rethinking business: survival vs opportunities for small and medium business and the LvBS Club community;
  •         agreed on a number of joint webinars and educational projects with Flint School of Management, Michigan University and Lapland University Reallyenglish;
  •         51 participants and 15 employees of the Business School have registered and are studying at the four-month online course Business English Reallyenglish, offered by Cormack Consulting Group.
  • We are more widely including international experience in the curriculum of training courses. In  particular, participants in the Master’s Program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship had a unique opportunity  to collaborate with University of Michigan professors – Aneil Mishra, Ph.D., Dean at the University of Michigan-Flint School of Management and Karen Mishra, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Campbell University, who are working with topics of leadership, soft skills development, facilitation, etc. The innovators took part in the Clifton Strengths assessment [https://lvbs.top/m3q], which is a kind of assessment of the strengths of the individual as a company employee.
  • Participants of LvBS master’s programs had the opportunity to take online courses of Harvard, Wharton, MIT on the EdEX platform.
  • They also intensified their research and began work on writing three cases.

UCU Business School Community Front:

How does the LvBS alumni community live now?

It is without doubt each of our graduates is involved in their part of the work. There are those who went to the front or to the territorial defense; there are those who moved their business to safer areas or repurposed it and are doing everything possible to keep the economic front. At the same time each member of our community volunteers. All this is easier and faster to do when there is a community with a very high level of trust, where complex requests can be resolved in minutes. Each of the graduates becomes a magnet and creator, unites the necessary initiatives around him/her and contributes to the struggle.

In the first weeks of the war, we organized a joint document, where community members wrote about the areas in which they are involved, how they can be useful to others and about the needs of their initiatives. This helped coordinate efforts to assist the Armed Forces, the Territorial Defence, and humanitarian aid, and to address logistical, legal, communication, and other issues.

  1.       Participants of the LvBS Alumni Book Club raised the necessary amount of UAH 50,000 to convert to audio the book “Overcoming the Past: Global History of Ukraine” by the famous historian Yaroslav Hrytsak. Now you will have access to this important book anywhere in the world.
  2.       We know of at least 60 projects of our alumni who have shared with the LvBS Alumni Association what they are doing to bring our victory closer. This helps our graduates to effectively coordinate their actions, seek help, share or find resources.

The focus of our advertising campaigns has shifted to the international aspect:

  • Address of Business Schools to the Ceeman Association (advertising in major cities of Poland)
  • UCU student’s address to the world community (European countries, America)
  • Appeal to NATO to close the skies over Ukraine (targeting Belgium, NATO Headquarters)

In addition, we actively support the #standwithukraine Business School and UCU students’ project, which aims to draw the world’s attention to the war in Ukraine. The project quickly spread on the Internet, it is disseminated by the media, the Armed Forces and people from different countries.

Our teachers and guest speakers (Yaroslav Hrytsak, Andriy Rozhdestvensky, Serhiy Lesnyak, Sofia Opatska, Andrian Slyvotsky and others) are actively published in foreign editions, and we also distribute their articles.

6 statements were published to our partners and foreign companies demanding to cease their activities with Russia. As a result, AACSB, AMBA & BGA, and EFMD ceased operations, but CEEMAN provided a formal response stating that they did not intend to do so. PRME is expected to respond to an official request from the UCU Business School.

On April 28, 2022, during an air raid throughout Ukraine, the UCU Business School marketing team published a video from the shelter about life of the UCU Business School Community after February 24, 2022.
Six new webinars were released in April, garnering more than 13,000 views.
We have also launched new partnerships, for example, the UCU Business School in partnership with the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) – announced the launch of a new project “Ukraine NOW. Vision of the future.”
a new project “Ukraine NOW. Vision of the future.” The aim of the project is to form a vision of a new country after our victory and a vision of its development in the next 5 years.

During the war in April, the first offline event was held by the LvBS Book Club, dedicated to the book “Overcoming the Past: The Global History of Ukraine” with its author – Yaroslav Hrytsak. Together with the members of the club – members of the LvBS Community, we discussed the past and future of Ukraine, Polish-Ukrainian relations today, decommunization issues, the Marshall Plan for Ukraine and much more.

Information Front (Marketing):

Since the beginning of the war, the UCU Business School has been actively fighting on the information front, as it is also one of the opportunities to weaken the enemy and convey to the world the importance of the events taking place in Ukraine.

For more than 40 days of the war, we have identified 5 main digital fronts, where we publish information for various target audiences.

Facebook. 80 publications (articles, interviews, appeals to business education associations, boycott of companies cooperating with Russia);

Instagram. 24 unique publications. In particular, we implemented two unique rubrics: “5 good news of the day” in the stories and “after the victory I…” in our newsfeed;

LinkedIn. Here we are actively focusing on the English-speaking audience, 74 publications – 40 of which are in English. During the war, we are oriented at Great Britain, Canada, France, America, and the Netherlands;

Twitter. UCU Business School has returned to this social network during the war in order to reach new audiences, including foreign ones;

YouTube. During the war, 8 webinars entitled “Reality without Illusions” (jointly with the UCU Leadership Center) and 1 webinar with Columbia University lecturer (top 5 in the ranking of business thinkers) Rita McGrath were held. The total number of the webinars views is 14,000. 

The focus of our advertising campaigns has shifted to the international aspect:

  • Address of Business Schools to the Ceeman Association (advertising in major cities of Poland)
  • UCU student’s address to the world community (European countries, America)
  • Appeal to NATO to close the skies over Ukraine (targeting Belgium, NATO Headquarters)

In addition, we actively support the #standwithukraine Business School and UCU students’ project, which aims to draw the world’s attention to the war in Ukraine. The project quickly spread on the Internet, it is disseminated by the media, the Armed Forces and people from different countries.

Our teachers and guest speakers (Yaroslav Hrytsak, Andriy Rozhdestvensky, Serhiy Lesnyak, Sofia Opatska, Andrian Slyvotsky and others) are actively published in foreign editions, and we also distribute their articles.

6 statements were published to our partners and foreign companies demanding to cease their activities with Russia. As a result, AACSB, AMBA & BGA, and EFMD ceased operations, but CEEMAN provided a formal response stating that they did not intend to do so. PRME is expected to respond to an official request from the UCU Business School.

On April 28, 2022, during an air raid throughout Ukraine, the UCU Business School marketing team published a video from the shelter about life of the UCU Business School Community after February 24, 2022.

Six new webinars were released in April, garnering more than 13,000 views.

We have also launched new partnerships, for example, the UCU Business School in partnership with the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) – announced the launch of a new project “Ukraine NOW. Vision of the future.”

a new project “Ukraine NOW. Vision of the future.” The aim of the project is to form a vision of a new country after our victory and a vision of its development in the next 5 years.

Operational front (team):

Two weeks before the invasion, a team of leaders worked out the need and steps to create and implement an Anti-Crisis Action Plan for the UCU Business School team and participants. It was important for us not only to raise the importance for such a plan in the community, but also to model different options of the developing of events by ourselves.

The first steps were: communication with the team so that everyone had a personal plan of action; collection of contact data and formatting of the “paper contact book” of all our employees. We also had initial data on the team members’ plans to move to safety. We took into account the possibility of lack of Internet connection, as well as the possibility and time of informing team members about the security status of them and their families.

In the third week of hostilities, we organized psychological support meetings and talks with the members of our team, because, having constant contact with participants and teachers, it was very valuable for us to assess our own emotional state and those people with whom we are in constant contact.

UCU Business School’s master’s programs have continued   their studies, both online and offline.

We have also launched an online course Basic Leadership, with 135 registered participants. Online courses ‘Personnel Management: Effective Tools,’ ‘Basic Project Management’ are under development.

5 webinars for 240 listeners were held for the corporate sector.

UCU Business School projects created during the war:

Project #volunteerfront

In the first weeks of the war, we launched the #volunteerfront project. Together with LvBS Alumni Community Manager Tetiana Novolodska, we gathered information on the largest volunteer projects and business initiatives from our Alumni Community, which are aimed at helping Ukrainian society and are an example of social ministry. Thus, the article “How business works on the volunteer front: a list of initiatives from the LvBS Community” was born, which collected 12 such initiatives. In addition, this list was reinforced by separate publications about the largest projects on our social networks.

The LvBS community helps alumni volunteer projects to effectively coordinate their actions, find partners or helpers, share and find resources.

Do Business with Ukrainians project

On March 18, we launched a news item about the project from the UCU Business School Community Do Business with Ukrainians. It is a platform to support small and medium-sized businesses, a kind of marketplace, where on the one hand – there are Ukrainian entrepreneurs who offer their services and products, and on the other – potential customers from abroad who can help the Ukrainian economy with their orders.

At the same time, corresponding press releases were sent to Lviv, all-Ukrainian and foreign media from us and our partners. In particular, the publication about this project was also published by DOU and Diya.Biznes, Forbes Ukraine.

As of the end of March, there are already 320 completed questionnaires from Ukrainian entrepreneurs and about 10 requests from Swedes, Britons, Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Danes, Dutch, Germans, USA for products and services from Ukraine. The first joint calls between European customers and Ukrainian companies were made. Registration of ambassadors and project partners continues.

Project #economicfront

The project #volunteerfront was naturally followed by a new project #economicfront. Its purpose is to tell “without embellishments” about what is currently going on in Ukrainian business, what challenges each sphere is facing, how companies are coping with the war.

The first hero of the project was Arsen Shlapak, director and co-owner of the KREDENS CAFE coffee chain from Lviv (includes 7 coffee houses), a graduate of the Key Executive MBA LvBS program. Arsen told how he managed to organize the network during the war, how the client’s portrait and financial indicators have changed.

The next hero was Taras Vasilyshyn, co-founder of Digital Agency Panem. Before the war, about 70 people worked here and it was the largest digital agency in western Ukraine. Taras has completed several management development programs and is a guest lecturer at LvBS. We discussed the current marketing situation and how deep the current crisis is for the industry. When Ukrainian business will resume marketing activities, and where and how specialists can look for foreign clients.

Olena Kuzmichova, CEO of BJET, Member of the Board of OSA Ukraine, a graduate of the Key Executive MBA 2020 and Effective Mentoring through the Prism of EQ-BOOST programs (UCU Business School), in the article “Russian military software, such as 1C, should follow the Russian ship,” told about the war in the information technology market and the rejection of Russian IT products as another front of resistance.

 This project will definitely continue.

Stories Project

In addition, we cover information about our graduates and their projects and activities. These are publications about Olha Prykhno, MSc in Technology Management graduate, COO / CFO in Innovecs (Kyiv), Victoria Butenko, MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship graduate and founder of the Improv Workshop project, Serhiy Prokopenko from Kharkiv, MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship, co-founder of Gwara Media.

Also, the project “Every day is a new story” with the stories of graduates and participants of the UCU Business School about the war that affected each of us is underway. It will be published soon.

Webinar Series “Reality without Illusions”

We continue a series of webinars together with the Leadership Center. Initially, these webinars were called “Reality without Illusions” and were launched to help adapt and structure work in times of military tension. But after February 24, the topics changed a bit.

In total, the series contains 13 webinars, 7 of which were held during the war:

two on medical help with Hryhoriy Matsyshyn;
about psychological help with Oleh Romanchuk;
about how to overcome fear with Myroslav Marynovych;
about the phenomenon of war with Yaroslav Hrytsak;
about the economic front with Yaroslav Prytula;
about the war of attrition and forecasts in this regard with Mykola Beleskov;
webinar with Yuriy Kornaha on legislative changes during the war.

We share with you several projects and stories in figures. We will not count them all, but we are sure that each graduate is in his/her place and is doing the most he/she can.

Olesya Yedynak-Khoma

MSc in Technology Management graduate, founder and CEO of Yedynka DGTL. Do business with Ukrainians – launched a platform to support small business in Ukraine, which helps businesses in the EU and the US to find reliable contractors in Ukraine. As of the end of March, there are already 320 completed questionnaires from Ukrainian entrepreneurs and about 10 inquiries from foreign businesses.

Halyna Zherebetska

A graduate of the MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship program, she currently works in the team of the UCU Development Department. Together with friends and colleagues from UCU and LvBS, she joined the Lviv Volunteer Cuisine team. To date, they have sent almost 3 tons of ready-made nutritious bars of nuts and dried fruits and other dishes to the military to the front.

Ivan Petrenko

graduate of the Key Executive MBA program, executive director of the UCU Center for Entrepreneurship. He is engaged in the purchase and distribution of military ammunition in close cooperation with friends and other graduates. The ammunition was collected and purchased for about $ 2 million.

Khrystyna Oryshchak

graduate of the MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship program, founder of the children’s clothing store Ptashenya (Kyiv). She and her friend (Vasyl Slobodian) founded the online gallery Artists Against War – an online store with works of art created by artists from around the world in response to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war. The project has been running for less than two weeks and has already attracted about 2,000 euros by the end of March. About 40 foreign and 150 Ukrainian artists have already applied to participate. At the moment, 288 works are presented in the gallery. The main goal of the project is to provide financial support to Ukrainian artists and volunteer initiatives. 50% of the proceeds from posters created by Ukrainian artists will be donated to the author of the work. If the author of the work of art is not a resident of Ukraine, this part of the proceeds will be used to create a charitable foundation that will support Ukrainian artists. The other 50% will be donated to the RETURN ALIVE Foundation.

Martyn Kovalko

project #SaveUkraine; in a team with Victor Pavluchynsky, both graduates of the MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship program. During the project, at the end of March, the following results were obtained: “About 1,000 temporarily displaced people passed through our shelters; sent 50+ trucks of humanitarian aid in the directions of Kharkiv, Kyiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia and these regions, respectively. This is more than 600 tons of humanitarian aid, about 200,000 people received this aid. All this is done by a team of 90 people, 30 of whom work on a regular basis,” Martin shares.

Yevhen Filyak

MSc in Technology Management graduate, CEO, co-founder of InSpirito, together with Roman Zinchenko, co-founder and chairman of Greencubator and lecturer at LvBS, founded the Group 35 project, which has been running for almost a month. The project deals with military equipment (from bulletproof vests to complex radio systems, drones and sniper equipment). Results for the first month of work: collected more than 720 thousand dollars and provided for more than 500 troops of various units who are actively fighting. Made more than 40 dispatches for various units of the Territorial Defence and the Armed Forces.

Andriy Dziuban

graduate of the Key Executive MBA program, Regional Head at the Ukrainian National Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce – ICC Ukraine, Co-Founder / Owner at Arena Catering, Tante Snails, Caramel Workshop, Dublin Pub, Tante Sophie cafe escargot. Involved from the first day of the war in the organization of the Center for Volunteerism and Protection.

Results:

Assistance in 24 regions of Ukraine
A total of 3730 tons of food were shipped
30150 bags of clothes were shipped
A total of 46,536 boxes of medicines were shipped
Total equipment shipped, 65765 pieces
Prepared portions of hot dishes – 37978

Andriy also organized a two-week School for Volunteer Battalions, an intensive training course for the defense of Lviv.

Uliana Krayinska

MSc in Technology Management, Co-owner at ORNAMENT. Main experience – sales and marketing in the IT industry, now a student of VU Amsterdam, Digital Business and Innovation program, lives in Almere, the Netherlands.

Engaged in the purchase of bulletproof vests. “In 2 weeks we received 527 applications for 12,145 sets (that’s $ 12.14 ml, $ 1,000 per set). It took 1.5 months from the idea to the first batch in Lviv. I can say that I have lived through the launch of my own startup from the idea to implementation and change. Now the first batch will arrive on April 6 (1000 units), the next will be until April 30, because it will be more and more established and agreed with the manufacturer and supplier,” says Uliana.

Dmytro Zavhorodniy

Director General of the Directorate for Digital Transformation in the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, a graduate of the MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship program. The team of the Ministry tells the world about what is happening in Ukraine, especially in the field of education. Establishes cooperation and partnership with educational institutions and projects abroad. “During the week, our team managed to communicate with Coursera, Udemy, Zoom, Google for Education, Microsoft, UNICEF, Decide, EU4DigitalUA, EU4Skills, OECD, World Bank, UNESCO and write dozens of letters to educational organizations around the world. And Artur Seletsky’s speech at Bett Global definitely impressed the British EdTech community. He is a participant in the founding of Ukrainian Global University, which is launching a global network of educational and academic support for the reconstruction of our country.

Ihor Blystiv

graduate of the Key Executive MBA program, member of the academic council and lecturer in marketing programs at LvBS, marketing director and innovation director of the Lviv company Kormotech. New initiatives of the company: Save Pets of Ukraine (#SavePetsofUkraine). According to Kormotech and the national animal protection community, about 150,000 dogs and cats are on the verge of survival in Ukraine today. In the first month, the initiative received more than 1,200 requests for assistance and donated almost 200 tons of feed and various ammunition to those in need. Recipients include shelters, volunteers, nurseries, servicemen and ordinary people who have lost the opportunity to feed animals.

Khrystyna Shabat

MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship graduate. Works at the UCU Child Dignity Center, which has created a Telegram channel where she shares research, useful information, talks about international projects, and how the clergy can help children during the war. It is addressed to priests, monks, nuns and all those who work in the Church with social projects and help for children. You can subscribe to the Telegram channel here: 

Anastasia Sliusarenko

MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship graduate. Co-Founder at Tarilka.org. Together with the Scouts girls’ hut Buntarky she organized a series of evening online lectures “Project W: Women in Time of War”, which will take place on April 4-9 on topics that will help restore mental health. Lectures are free, and you can make a voluntary donation to help the Armed Forces. Every night 19: 00-20: 30, online format. Registration at: https://t.me/childdignitycenter

 Yevhenia Minaeva

a graduate of the MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship program, the initiator of the portal, which collects the most complete information on warehouses and aid points abroad https://ua-aid-centers.com/. By the end of March, they had already processed 8,619 requests, including for: Return Alive, UNDP, Red Cross Ukraine, OCHA.

Alina Tokmylenko

MA graduate in Human Resources and Organization Development, works at Promprylad.Renovation, Co-owner of 23 Restaurants in Ivano-Frankivsk. “Our Response to War: Save_Business_Now Support Center. A platform created to support businesses that are forced to move to Ivano-Frankivsk and the region. We have: a database of companies that are ready to provide legal, accounting, human resource and other types of advice, contacts of friendly companies that are ready to welcome your business in their areas,” Alina explained. https://www.savebusinessnow.if.ua/