Stanford MBA Students Collect Millions’ Worth Of Medical Supplies For Ukraine

Business schools have not been idle as war rages in Eastern Europe. Accrediting agency AACSB reports that six European B-schools are organizing relief efforts for refugees and other war victims, with Kozminski University in Warsaw, Poland — only about 215 miles from the border with Ukraine — leading aid efforts amid the escalating humanitarian crisis. From the earliest days of the now nearly two-week-old war, Kozminski has aided hundreds of Ukrainian families, AACSB reports, with the help of more than 1,300 volunteers, including students.

Students — often but not always of Ukrainian descent — have been in the vanguard in humanitarian efforts at Kozminski, where they have spearheaded blood drives and fundraisers, as well as Riga Business School in Latvia, Budapest Business School in Hungary, ESMT Berlin, ESCP Business School, and Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. But while those in close proximity to the conflict have been especially proactive, they are not alone.

Separated by half the planet but connected by Ukrainian roots, students at Stanford University Graduate School of Business are pitching in, led by a group of first- and second-year MBAs — some with extensive military and logistical experience. The group has procured more than 80 tons of medical supplies valued at over $4 million that they are planning to airlift to Eastern Europe.


Stanford GSB Class of 2022 MBA student Kate Slunkova: ‘We can actually do some impact and leverage our network’

Using the hashtag #StandWithUkraine, the Stanford students have also launched a website that is attracting more than 20,000 unique visitors daily. It offers practical information for Ukrainians in Ukraine and refugees abroad as well as links to ways to help — by giving money, but also by raising public awareness or pressuring governments to take action.

Kate Slunkova, a dual-degree student at GSB and Stanford’s graduate School of Education, has family in Ukraine, including her father, grandparents, and cousins, as well as many friends. She’s not always sure where they are or whether they are safe. Working with other Stanford students to send aid has helped to take her mind off the helplessness of such a great distance.

“It’s really hard because the situation changes drastically every hour,” Slunkova tells Poets&Quants. “It helps that we receive a lot of support in the form of messages and people who are offering emotional support to help us. But I don’t think any international person or American person could really understand the weight of this. And we have some undergrads at Stanford, we have some Ph.D. students, Ukraine students in Stanford, and it truly helps to come together to debrief on how our day was and work on some initiatives that we are driving. It helps to understand that we are not helpless. We can actually do some impact and leverage our network and resources here to help people back home.”


First-year Stanford student Syed Faraz is not Ukrainian. He is, however, an Air Force veteran with national security credentials who has flown hundreds of combat hours. Faraz has been helping his Ukrainian classmates organize relief efforts and is working with them to handle logistics on transporting the collected medical supplies to Europe.

A Tillman Scholar and Harvard MPA as a Zuckerman Fellow at the Kennedy School, Faraz says when Russia invaded Ukraine two weeks ago, he “was enraged that Putin had started a war of choice which would lead to so much tragedy. I was enraged that the world order which had been so painstakingly built over decades was being unravelled for one man’s ego. I was enraged that the rule of law was being replaced by the rule of power. I was enraged that normal people would bear the brunt of suffering.”

His thoughts immediately turned to ways to help. He was inspired by his Ukrainian classmates.

“The Ukrainian students here at Stanford are heroes,” Faraz tells P&Q. “As soon as the invasion started, instead of being paralyzed by the risk their families were enduring, they sprang into action. Andrei (Molchynsky, fellow Stanford first-year MBA student) asked if anyone knew satellite imagery providers to help a Ukrainian computer vision startup, which had pivoted from doing consumer entertainment to military detection algorithms. Thankfully, I had some connections from my Air Force experience and we started working together.”


Syed Faraz

Faraz got to know a few Ukrainians while studying for his MPA at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He was thrilled to get to know more of them at Stanford.

“I’m awed by how the Ukrainian community at Stanford has unified and worked closely to raise both awareness and funding to help their compatriots,” Faraz says. “Their bravery and dedication inspires me. And I promised Andrei that when the war is over and Ukrainians enjoy the peace they so thoroughly deserve, I’ll take my family to see the beauty of Ukraine!

“The power of their example and the nobility of their purpose is a clarion call which has attracted hundreds of allies across the Bay Area to help them. I had Ann Bordetsky, a leading VC, ping me out of the blue asking for ways to help and how she could activate her network. 

“There are also many veterans involved in this effort. Personally, I feel terribly guilty I’m not flying missions with my former squadron mates who are over in Europe right now. I think this sense of guilt and a duty to help a democratic country under attack by an autocrat is driving veterans to serve our Ukrainian friends.”

The Ukraine war effort at Stanford, he adds, “really ties into the entrepreneurial spirit that lives here. The group has set an objective – and pivoted from its initial goal – and is hustling at all hours to do whatever it takes to get the job done. They are seriously undertaking Herculean efforts to help Ukraine.”

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Visit to learn more about efforts to help Ukraine. Visit the group’s Facebook page to donate to the effort to send medical supplies to Ukraine. 

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