Many people associated with EFMD say that applying for international accreditation and then working towards it and making improvements is a journey. The Business School Impact System (BSIS) certificate is similar, maybe even more interesting, because getting this certificate requires an in-depth diagnosis of your own capabilities. Preparing a report on the impact of our university in many aspects seemed to me to be a simple task. After all, I worked at the Poznań University of Economics and Business (PUEB) for many years and took part in the preparation of more than one report. My plan – to quickly collect data and prepare the report – turned out to be impossible. And it was not at all about the lack of willingness. Just it is not an easy task, or at least it wasn’t in the case of my university.
As I mentioned, the BSIS label is a good way to find out what the university is actually reporting and what data it collects on itself. In the case of PUEB, we discovered that some of the data had never been collected before. Nobody had even thought about it, because why would we need to know, for example, how much money our students leave in the region or how much students earn during their internships.
Despite the lack of some data, we have created a team of seven people who were not afraid to describe our university. During the work, the team unexpectedly began to grow, as every day, there was more information or people came forward with new information, as well as people who knew people who might have information. Suddenly there was a whole network of connections. As a result, I got to know many of the PUEB employees again.
It is worth mentioning that the COVID-19 time in Poland was quite restrictive, and for a long time, we did not have many opportunities to meet at work face-to-face. Of course, everything can be done by email or phone, but in my opinion, nothing can replace contact with a person standing in front of me.
So I have to admit that working on the report brought me and my colleagues closer together. We talked to a lot of people – PUEB authorities, faculty members and administrative staff, students and PhD students, people working with PUEB and even those who we thought had nothing to do with PUEB.
The results surprised us as we discovered more and more interesting examples of, for instance, cooperation between individual employees and large and small companies, local authorities and even national and foreign authorities. It even turned out that some of the activities of PUEB’s employees could not be officially presented in the report, as they work on top secret projects, prepare expert reports for courts or make recommendations on various policies to important decision-making institutions.
It turned out that PUEB is not only important for the people directly involved in its functioning. It is not just the buildings and staff. It is much more than that – it is the students, doctoral students and participants in postgraduate and MBA programmes who, after graduating, pursue successful careers, fulfil their dreams and set new trends. They are also people who did not have direct contact with PUEB, did not study here, but owe the university well-qualified employees, advisors and experts.
For me personally, one of the first questions that was asked during the meeting with BSIS experts was crucial – what would be missing from the area if PUEB suddenly disappeared? This question terrified me but also made me think that PUEB plays an important role in our ecosystem.
After receiving the BSIS label, we have become more aware of how important we are to Wielkopolska, our closest region. This region is famous for its entrepreneurship, and our university builds the foundations on which most of the companies located here are based. Without PUEB’s presence, this region could look very different. It’s funny that we had to be made aware of this by experts from different countries.