A groundbreaking Offshore Wind Energy Center has been established at Gdynia Maritime University. This is where the future workforce that will build the offshore wind sector in the Baltic Sea will be educated. In March, the first groundbreaking managerial studies are launched. We talk to the creators of the Executive Offshore Wind MBA in Poland.

The Offshore Wind Energy Centre in Gdynia (CMEW) supports the development of offshore wind energy sector in Poland and in the Baltic Sea region through educational, training, and consulting activities. The key is training of qualified management and specialist personnel for the wind sector. Andrzej Popadiuk, Director of the Offshore Wind Energy Centre at UMG, explains in his comment for BalticWind.Eu that the offshore industry has significant growth potential, and it’s exploitation will require modern sector knowledge and advanced management skills. How quickly well trained professionals enter the offshore wind industry will largely determine its growth rate.

– Through education, training, and consulting activities, we want CMEW to become a valuable part of the ecosystem of knowledge, competence, personnel, and innovation in the offshore wind sector. The first management program offered by CMEW is the Executive Offshore Wind MBA program – Popadiuk explains.

On 25 March 2022, the first edition of the Executive MBA for the offshore wind energy sector will start in Poland. The program is designed for candidates with experience in companies in the maritime industry and offshore energy sector, as well as those with experience in other industries. The degree program is designed to develop leaders among offshore wind personnel.

– For the first edition of the program, which starts in March, applied candidates with experience in the broadly defined offshore industry, currently working in companies operating in the offshore wind market, as well as those who, by participating in the Executive Offshore Wind MBA, see their chance to start a professional career in this rapidly developing field – adds our interviewee.

Popadiuk is convinced that completing Poland’s first and Europe’s second MBA program for the offshore sector will certainly allow to take advantage of these opportunities.

– We anticipate that our graduates will be among the most sought-after managers and professionals in the Polish and international offshore wind energy industry, and companies directing their employees to the program will gain motivated staff, unique competencies, and a huge number of inspiring solutions – he explains.

Innovative program

The program is based on current industry knowledge and experience as well as modern management practices. Specialized sessions are primarily led by companies and institutions that present the latest solutions and real-world examples. Classes cover topics such as strategic management, logistics and supply chain, project management, sustainability, project finance, and operational security. In total approx. 60 percent of the courses will be subjects developing universal managerial competencies, and 40 percent of the classes will address issues directly related to the OWE sector. The classes will be accompanied by many additional activities. There will be visits to laboratories, simulators, MEW companies, meetings with leaders and experts. We also anticipate the opportunity to attend classes in partner universities abroad, the number of which will be gradually expanded.

Tomasz Harackiewicz, PhD, MBA Program Director, Deputy Director of CMEW, emphasizes that by completing the Executive Offshore Wind MBA program, participants will gain practical managerial competencies at the strategic and operational level in key management areas.

– The lecturers are international class experts in various areas of management and offshore wind energy. The selection criterion was not only their substantive knowledge and managerial or consulting experience, but also their didactic experience in conducting trainings and studies for managers. In other words, our lecturers are not only expert practitioners, but also people experienced in working with managers, also at the best MBA programs in Poland and abroad – points out Tomasz Harackiewicz.

The MBA is the first program in CMEW’s training offerings. Another program will be a postgraduate course in Project Management in the Offshore Wind Energy Sector. They will prepare project managers for companies in the offshore wind supply chain. Ultimately, CMEW will offer a broad portfolio of managerial and specialized training for the offshore wind industry.

In turn, Sambor Guze, PhD, DSc, Associate Professor, Deputy Rector for Education of the Maritime University of Gdynia, in a commentary for BalticWind.EU, emphasizes that the mission of the Gdynia Maritime University, the oldest Polish maritime university, is to prepare personnel capable of effectively meeting the challenges of today’s maritime economy, especially maritime transport. That is why Gdynia has taken the trouble to extend our educational offer with new first and second degree courses, postgraduate studies, and the Executive Offshore Wind MBA programme.

– The coming years are about meeting the challenge of training the workforce for offshore wind. We have over a decade of experience in offshore technology specialty education. We also see other lower in educational offerings, as confirmed by the initial market needs analysis. It showed that in the next few years of offshore wind energy development, in addition to specialists in the offshore sector, power engineers, electro-automatics, and mechanics, there will also be a demand for offshore wind managers – points out Guze.

The biggest organizational challenge, as always, is the appropriate, top-quality faculty teaching the classes. The same matter translates into the most important challenge of teaching new industry professionals. The second issue is the need to anticipate the needs of the newly created sector.

– There is always the risk of inadequate market intelligence. That’s why it’s so important to have a dialogue with businesses and companies entering new industries to learn about their key staffing needs. The next challenge is to frame these needs in education programs, he emphasizes.

He adds that the program is conducted entirely in English in collaboration with Hochschule Bremerhaven and Business Academy SouthWest – leaders in management and specialist programs for the Offshore Wind Energy sector. UASB and BASW are running the first Offshore Wind MBA program in Europe.

Universities exchange experience – the essence of international cooperation

International cooperation is crucial in the education of offshore wind personnel for the Baltic Sea Region. Wolfgang Lukas, PhD, Professor at Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences, explained in a comment for BalticWind.EU that together with the Business Academy SouthWest (BASW) in Esbjerg, Denmark, the university has been developing the Offshore Wind Energy MBA as a joint degree program since 2016.

– We became accredited in 2021 and have been offering our first modules in the North Sea region since 2018. From this program, which consists of 9 modules + Master Thesis, we bring 4 modules to the Executive Offshore Wind Energy MBA offered by the Offshore Wind Energy Center of Gdynia Maritime University, which has been a partner university of Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences since 1978 – Lukas explains.

He added that universities share experience and exchange information, thus creating synergies.

– We cross-promote our programs in regional markets, namely the North Sea region for our program and the Baltic Sea region for the GMU program. In addition, UASB and BASW representatives are honored to serve on the Executive Offshore Wind Energy MBA Board at GMU. As we have just started these joint activities, I see a lot of potential for further cooperation, explains Lukas.

He adds that offshore wind power has now reached a large-scale industrial dimension, not only in terms of turbine size but also in terms of entire wind farms. Due to the huge increase in efficiency, the cost of climate-friendly electricity has become very competitive. Consequently, in addition to the extraordinary technical skills that are still essential, business administration and management skills are increasingly coming to the fore. The MBA in offshore wind is geared toward such management skills – he explains.

In turn, Flemming Østergaard, Head of the Department of Business and Applied Sciences at Business Academy SouthWest in Esbjerg, explained to BalticWind.EU that the offshore wind industry is characterized by strong technical competencies and lesser competencies in business, management, and innovation. This has prompted the university to focus on opportunities to strengthen the competencies and capabilities of offshore elevator workers through, for example, tailored MBA modules.

– We have spent many years developing an academic and “applied” program in collaboration with other educational institutions, cluster organizations, and international companies (through Advisory Boards) that is now a fully functioning accredited MBA program. As in most cases of development, iterations are critical to elevating and refining the quality and scope of successful education. From a market perspective, Denmark/North Sea is now becoming a more mature market that is looking to expand beyond its “home base” with strong competencies and experience – Østergaard explains.

Graduates of the program receive a diploma of Postgraduate MBA studies issued by Gdynia Maritime University and an international diploma of Executive Master of Business Administration issued by Gdynia Maritime University, signed by University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven and Business Academy SouthWest.