Griffin Jaeger, Western Journalism Studio
Gerard Seijts had been teaching a virtual class for students in Ukraine a few hours before war broke out.
“I had this colossal feeling of disgust about what was happening,” said the professor at London’s Ivey Business School. “These are my friends, these are my colleagues.”
He knew something had to be done.
In an email sent to all Ivey staff and faculty, Seijts expressed his deep sadness regarding the war and his hope for finding support for Ukrainian business students.
“I am not sure how to help,” he wrote. “But I promised my friends that I would share their story and my experience of their kindness, warmth, and generosity.”
Associate Professor Adam Fremeth, head of the school’s MBA program was quick to answer the call, Seijts said, and with the help of Western International, they stuck their heads together.
Tuition to be waived for 10 displaced Ukrainian students
Wednesday, less than a month after he sent that email, Ivey announced an opportunity for up to 10 Ukrainian graduate students to attend its MBA program on exchange.
The initiative will provide Ukrainian students with waived tuition fees, travel visa assistance, housing accommodations and a stipend of $1500 for external living costs.
It is happening in collaboration with Lviv Business School and the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and will be driven by Ukrainians, Seijts said, noting all students admitted will be nominated by people in Ukraine rather than having to go through the typical recruitment process.
“These people will be the future leaders in Ukraine, the country they will have to rebuild,” said Seijts.
Nominated students must be English-speaking and currently involved in a Masters-level business, management finance, marketing, tech or economics program.
The MBA program will run from now through March 2023. The students can be enrolled immediately, or at any time for the duration of the 12-month program.
Ongoing relationship made for a good fit
“Given our ongoing and existing relationships with universities in Ukraine, that made us a right fit,” said Fremeth. “We’ve never really done something like this before.”
Western University will continue to work with the London Ukrainian community, international students and the Ukrainian Students Association to understand and meet incoming students’ needs, said Senior Director of Western International, Lisa Laporte.
The university is preparing to support students struggling with housing and other personal needs in the coming months due to the impact of the war.
“We continually look for ways to support international students and scholars in crisis as situations arise,” said Laporte.