Prof. Grzegorz Mazurek, Rector of Koźmiński University: We Learn Not For School But For Life
You have been appointed Rector of Kozminski University for 2020 – 2024, the first year of management was during the pandemic period. How it affected on the implementation of the University’s development strategy in the area of advancement called “look alikes”?
Let me begin, perhaps quite surprisingly, but the pandemic helped to implement KU’s development strategy. It helped in the sense that it greatly accelerated the processes that we had scheduled for several years. This includes introducing a very wide portfolio of studies that would take into account the realities of digital transformation. Secondly, taking a strategic view of sustainability and ensuring the well-being of our community – students, employees and partners – is an extremely important aspect of the operation, especially in such dramatic times when so many people need support. Thirdly, implementing the perspective not only of teaching, but of the development of our students and learners, by offering them not only attractive, valuable and demanding studies, but also many additional pro-development activities. Fourthly, as a university with huge ambitions, we want to have a great impact on the reality that surrounds us. And again, thanks to the pandemic, both our research and the personalities of our academic community have repeatedly been listened to, for example in the mass media, which is as important to me as scientific publications in the best scientific journals or high grants. Society must trust science, and this happens when the professors responsible for the word are active in the mass media, persuading them to be right – we manage to do that.
The canvas for KU’s accelerated development strategy, however, is the energy, dedication and responsibility of our staff for students and for their education during extremely difficult times for all. Therefore, I believe that the time of a pandemic is primarily poker “check” for every organization in such dimensions as organizational culture, the role of a leader and willingness to change and innovate. Although full of anxiety at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, from the perspective of these several months, I can say that we have passed the exam – students and business trust us, they know that we are here to help them develop in these very strange times.
As for “look alikes” – the pandemic for us was like a huge fog for a ship in a rough sea, but we have a compass and a good radio. The compass – so the direction of the university’s development is unchanged, and when it comes to radio – we consulted many steps with our partners from around the world – eg ESCP Business School – in such a difficult time there are no ready solutions, so it is much better to work together. We also pay close attention to the leaders of European business education and sincerely believe that our boat is no worse than many shining ships from Great Britain or Spain.
The University is obliged to react quickly to changes taking place in the world. What activities does Kozminski University take and what are its assumptions to be considered adapted to the challenges of the contemporary labor market?
We focus on the responsibility for the development and education of our students and listeners of our MBA studies and programs – and this means the maximum adjustment of education programs to the requirements of the labor market. We develop studies related to digitization, big data, social media, e-marketing, modern management, finance, economy and law. We focus on topicality, modernity and close cooperation with business. We improve our flagships through strategic partnerships with foreign companies and universities – awarded for the best Master’s programs in Management and Finance in Central and Eastern Europe or the award-winning Law. The key to these changes is the aforementioned construction of strategic partnerships with industry-leading companies in order to educate our graduates together with business. Accenture, Oracle, Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, Citi, KPMG, Santander – these are just a few selected partners of our studies. The core of high-quality studies are the lecturers who are dedicated to their work – people who are recognized in the scientific community, but also very active in socio-economic life. I put forward a thesis, perhaps extraordinary – that apart from the facts selected above, our students value the energy in our community the most – it is the spirit of Koźmiński – which makes us come across the thesis that Koźmiński is addictive many times. Taking care of this spirit, energy, attitude towards students, studies, and our university is the greatest task for me personally as the chancellor. Without this constant enthusiasm of our team, Kozminski University would not be the leader of economic schools in Central and Eastern Europe. and in Poland.
Kozminski University is characterized by high quality of teaching, modern form and, like many universities, develops the online teaching mode. Please tell me what unique offer of the Academy can business count on?
First of all, business may treat us as a good development partner – its employees, managers or future apprentices. We understand the world, we know what is important in the development of employees’ qualifications, skills and knowledge. Many companies trust us and – based on long-term cooperation – entrust the development of their staff to KU. This is our responsibility. Secondly, we operate on the same gear as the world and business – we are obsessed with generating value, which means that we operate efficiently, quickly and effectively. We know that time is the rarest good and we don’t waste precious seconds. We do not waste them on unnecessary meetings or declarations of cooperation – we try to quickly find solutions that are good for companies and universities, students and students, scientists and institutions. Thirdly, the time of the pandemic ordered online teaching and with time we see that – thanks to good infrastructure – we are able to provide high-quality value for students – therefore, also for business, we can offer such structured development programs that will skillfully intertwine the online and offline formula. After more than a year of the pandemic, we can clearly see – and we also advise – not to wait for the return of the old world – this new – although full of challenges and doubts – brings with it many opportunities. It’s a shame to stand aside and wait.
Sustainable development, responsibility and the environment are the slogans that have become present and extremely important in every area. What solutions in this direction does the Kozminski University apply or plans to implement?
Kozminski University is the only university in Poland that has the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) approved at the level of the strategy. We chose 6 out of 15 goals of the UN, which we weave into the education program and tasks carried out by the university – in the area of teaching, science and cooperation with the environment. We are also the only university in the Middle East Europe region included in the Positive Impact Rating (https://www.positiveimpactrating.org/pir2020). Our solutions in the area of sustainability were rated higher than those of universities such as London Business School or the University of Michigan. On our home soil, the first in Poland Ecosystem of Positive Influence has been operating for years, involving the leaders of the Responsible Companies Ranking and the best positive impact startups. (http://rankingodpowiedzialnychfirm.pl/ranking-odpowiedzialnych-firm-startupy-pozytywnego-wplywu-2018). This ranking, along with many types of studies related to sustainable development and deep networking of KU on the global map of organizations promoting this subject, means that we can confidently say that we are responsible for the advancement of this perspective for the development of the economy, companies and institutions in Poland and the region. An example of many activities in this area is the recently completed hackathon (called in Koźmiński leothon), in which our students, with the support of Microsoft, Digital Poland and GovTech, created pro-ecological solutions for three cities: Kraków, Konin and Zgierz (https://businessinsider.com.pl/technologie/digital-poland/jak-uwolnic-miasta-od-smogu-leothon-ecotechnology-for-cities/kep5h3n). We implement many solutions related to social responsibility and well-being on campus, for example photovoltaic panels, electric car charging stations, energy and water saving systems. Our buildings are adapted to the needs of people with disabilities and thanks to European funds we have launched a support office for employees and students – the so-called Wellbeing office. Our efforts were noticed a few days ago by the most prestigious website dedicated to the subject of business education – Poets @ Quants – in which our solutions were presented, among others, Harvard Business School, BI Norwegian Business School, Trinity College or Kellogg School of Management (https://poetsandquants.com/2021/04/20/the-business-schools-making-their-campuses-more-sustainable/?fbclid=IwAR0QXS39K7awAxbJIirsrNXwlwp-O0NLesYLVHKi7l3lDffnqN6WRDxEHjA)
The Academy focuses on internationalization. What are the University’s proposals and possibilities in this regard?
Internationalization has been one of the pillars of the Kozminski University practically from the very beginning of our University. Let me give you an example, the key to creating the position of an international business university, i.e. prestige of her diploma are international accreditations – the so-called triple crown – EQUIS, AACSB, AMBA. There are approximately 15,000 business schools and faculties of this type at universities around the world. Out of this group, only 100 universities (less than 1%) can boast of this triple crown. There is one university in this group from our region of the world – and it is KU. Of course, it is not about bragging, but about showing the value of the KU diploma and the strategy of building KU’s position in the world adopted many years ago. The position of a university on the international market has a direct impact on its graduates – their development opportunities on the labor market. Accreditations also significantly support the conclusion of key contracts and the standing of universities in world rankings. But Kozminski’s internationalization is expressed in many dimensions – including over a dozen double-degree programs with great universities from France, Portugal, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Brazil or Ireland, over 80 student nations on our campus, over 200 partners on almost all continents, where students can go to study or practice, or mass initiatives that allow you to gain international experience at every stage of study – undergraduate or MBA – where, by the way, our students can, for example, visit the world’s top business universities as part of the MBA Consortium. Everything we do, we do for our students – they are the most important to us. Internationalization often gives you an idea for yourself – it allows you to define yourself for life.
The Academy ranks high in university rankings. How would you summarize these results and how do you evaluate the ranking methodology?
The rankings evoke emotions. They can be criticized, but are – like accreditations – treated as an important guideline for candidates for various studies and management programs. In the business school environment, there are basically two rankings – in Poland – the “Perspektywy” ranking, and in the world – the “Financial Times” ranking. We lead in both – in FT we have been recognized for years as the best business school in Central and Eastern Europe. According to “Perspektywy”, we have been a leading non-public university for 21 years, and in 2020 also a leading economic university. We always treat these results with humility, the more so as there are many measures that are difficult to find in the rankings. We also conduct research which shows the obvious – after all, the most important ranking is a recommendation from a friend or trustworthy person. It is on recommendation that great students and postgraduate and MBA students come to our board. They make up the wonderful Koźmiński community – full of energy, kindness and ambition.
You are involved in many projects both related to Kozminski University and those going beyond the university. What motivates you to do all your activities and what are your values?
In my life I do what I love and what I am passionate about. This is a great gift and happiness for which I try to thank with good work every day. However, I am not a workaholic and I do not expect this from my crew members. A wonderful Family keeps me in check. Private passions are also very important to me – running, mountains, traveling. Joy and satisfaction in one area influence other activities. It’s a self-propelled mechanism. I also think that I am very lucky – I meet many wonderful, inspiring and supportive people on my way, from whom you can always learn a lot, regardless of their age or the so-called status. I also try to be very humble, the world is changing rapidly and you have to constantly develop and be just human. I look at the word success with a great distance, because the previously mentioned achievements of KU are the result of hard work and dedication of many people, including great creators – including prof. Andrzej Koźmiński and prof. Witold Bielecki. Individual success is also the result of many circumstances, and you can never be complacent. Now, right after obtaining the titular professorship, I am honored to be at the helm of this wonderful ship, which is the Kozminski University, and my role is to support its crew in this wonderful voyage. The direction is clearly defined – the leading position among business schools not only in Central and Eastern Europe, but just in Europe! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for that and support Kozminski University, because it’s not just about the community at ul. Jagiellońska in Warsaw, but our entire business education sector.
Prof. Grzegorz Mazurek
Titular professor specializing in strategies for digital transformation of organizations, e-commerce and e-marketing. He is particularly interested in the changes that digitalization processes bring about in the higher education sector.
He is also the Director of the Digital Transformation Research Centre – CYBERMAN, a member of EFMD Advisory Board for the Central and Eastern Europe region and a member of the Board of the Forum Management Education Association.
Since 2020 he has served as President of the International Advisory Board of the French university ISC Paris. In 2016-18 he was a member of the Council for Digitalization at the Minister of Digitalization. His achievements include several dozen English and Polish chapters, scientific articles, books published in the most important journals and publications on management science in Poland and worldwide, including Cambridge University Press, Emerald Publishing, Routledge, European Management Journal, Business Horizons, he is the author of the book “Digital Transformation”. (PWN, 2019) and editor and co-author of the handbook “E-marketing – planning, tools and practice”. (Poltext, 2018), awarded by the Polish Academy of Sciences.
From 2012 to 2020, he held the position of Vice Rector for Foreign Cooperation at Kozminski University, responsible for the overall strategy of internationalisation and marketing of the university.
He is also the coordinator of the Koźmiński MBA Digital program and post-graduate studies related to digital economy: Internet Marketing, E-commerce, Business Digital Transformation and Manager in Industry 4.0.
He was a visiting professor in such centers as, among others, the University of Warsaw: ESCP Europe, SKEMA Business School and École de Management de Normandie (France), ISCTE (Portugal), Nottingham Trent University (UK), Soongsil University (South Korea), Universidad del Pacifico (Peru), Univeristy of Reykjavik (Iceland).
Repeatedly awarded for his publication and scientific achievements. In 2015 he was awarded the LUMEN statuette for university management leaders. In 2017 he was awarded the Eduinspirator (FRSE) statuette for those who are active in the field of education, contributing to positive changes in the environment. In 2020 he was awarded the Star of Internationalisation Award in the research category by the “Perspektywy” Foundation. During his term of office, Kozminski University has been repeatedly recognized as the most internationalized university in Poland.
Grzegorz Mazurek closely cooperates with the electronic economy environment, including the Chamber of Electronic Economy, Digital Poland Foundation and Interactive Advertising Bureau. He has carried out projects for such brands as: Nokia, Nikon, Polpharma, Egmont, PZU, Michelin, IKEA, Mars Corp., Vivus.
Last Updated on May 11, 2021 by Łukasz