‘From A War Zone To An MBA’: Stanford Students Successfully Deliver Equipment To Ukraine

Stanford MBA student Alex Clark (pictured) and Andrei Molchynsky delivered two ambulances and 70 radios to the city of Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine. Courtesy photos

When Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February, Stanford MBA students Andrei Molchynsky and Alex Clark wanted to help.

The two built a team and, cutting their summer breaks short, flew to Hungary and drove nearly 2,000 miles to deliver ambulances and encrypted communication devices to Kryvyi Rih, a city of just under 650,000 struggling to provide medical support for a flood of refugees. Kryvyi Rih is also Molchynsky’s hometown.

The mission became what is now known as Project Independence Day. While the journey was full of unknowns, snap decisions, and grave realities of a full-fledged war, the team successfully delivered two — soon to be three — vehicles and nearly 70 radios to the frontlines.

Poets&Quants spoke with Clark and Molchynsky prior to their August 18 departure. Here, they share their journey traveling to a war zone to support a country that’s still in desperate need of help — and what they’ll take with them in their final year at Stanford.


Molchynsky and Clark’s original goal was to raise $100,000, but they ended up raising $120,000 through their own fundraising outreach efforts and by working with the Ukraine Student Association at Stanford as well as the Ukrainian Freedom Fund, British-Ukrainian Aid, and the EBRD Community Initiative.

As they neared their departure date, they added two more members to their four-person team, as well as two Ukrainian escorts. These escorts would meet them at the Ukraine border crossing to act as interpreters, help them go through checkpoints, and safely deliver their equipment.

Once arriving in Budapest on August 18, the team had 48 hours to prepare for their arrival in Ukraine; the plan was to head to the Slovakia-Ukraine border crossing at 1 a.m. on August 20.

Although they’d secured three ambulances, they soon discovered that one had mechanical issues. They decided to temporarily leave the third ambulance behind, which is set to be fixed by September 2. On September 5, they’ll have one of their team members join an escort to make another trip to Kryvyi Rih to finalize the delivery.


With the two ambulances in tow, it was time to cross the Slovakian border into Ukraine.

In the early hours of that morning, two Ukrainian escorts walked across the border from Ukraine to Slovakia to meet the team. Unfortunately, the border crossing didn’t go as planned; It turned out they didn’t have an export license for the vehicles that would be accepted by Slovakia, so they couldn’t cross. They decided to head to the Hungary-Ukraine border instead.

But before they went to this border, they split up their team; there were concerns that they had too many personnel with the two ambulances. A team member and an escort crossed the Slovakia-Ukraine border by foot, and, once the rest of the team made it across the border — in under an hour, thankfully — they met up on the other side and continued their journey to Kryvyi Rih.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.