Students from the MSc in Innovations and Entrepreneurship of the Lviv Business School of the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) had an opportunity to present their projects to Michael Polsky, founder, President, and CEO of Invenergy.
The four students, accompanied by Mykhailo Dumanskyi, Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Sophia Opatska, Founding Dean of the business school, met during their Chicago learning trip with Polsky, an entrepreneur of Ukrainian origin who came to the US at the age of 26 and became not only successful in his field but also a promoter of entrepreneurship. With nearly 30 years of experience in the energy industry, he is widely recognized as a pioneer and industry leader in the cogeneration and independent power industry in North America. Polsky holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and an MSME degree from Kyiv Polytechnic Institute and actively supports the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago.
The meeting was also joined by Adrian Slywotzky, one of the top 25 renowned business consultants in the world, a partner at Oliver Wyman and member of the Advisory Board at the Lviv Business School.
The students shared their insights from the meeting:
— Being an entrepreneur is not only about skills and knowledge. It’s also about having the guts to make decisions.
— To run a successful business, you should rely on people and delegate decision-making to them. Fearlessly take risks. If you don’t risk, you’re not in business.
— Be honest with yourself, where you can succeed and where not. Giving up and stopping are two different things.
— A lot of people fail not because they had a bad idea: they just give up. Sometimes people are too impatient.
— The corporate culture should start from the top. If the top guy doesn’t have the right culture, everything is poisoned. You should feel like a startup to run a big business like a startup. Another thing which is important: it should be natural, you can’t ‘play’ culture.
— To be successful in the US means to give back.
— Innovation and entrepreneurship is the future, and universities need to have this topic as a priority. Otherwise, they will be out of the game. The best way to scale or start a business in the US is to find a person/partner who lives there. That’s the best way. You should be in the place where you want to build a business. It may take hundreds of emails, dozens of meetings and months of waiting: you should be prepared for it.»
— Business in the US is not so ‘clubby.’ If people feel you have talent, they will support you. It is a very merit-based system.