Dr. Oksana Gerwe: Pioneering Excellence in Business Education
Dr. Oksana Gerwe
Dr. Oksana Gerwe

Dr. Oksana Gerwe, Associate Head at Brunel Business School, is a well-known figure in the world of education. Her expertise lies in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. Early in her career, she gained invaluable experience in real estate and fintech, which highlighted the importance of strategic thinking and an entrepreneurial mindset.

This experience spurred her to embark on an educational journey of her own. Pursuing an Executive MBA at the prestigious IE Business School in Madrid, Dr. Oksana immersed herself in the world of business academia. It was here that her passion for teaching and knowledge-sharing was ignited.

Having found her calling in the business school, she pursued her doctoral studies in Strategy, solidifying her transition into academia. Dr. Oksana’s academic journey took her across Europe and the United Kingdom, where she assumed senior leadership roles in entrepreneurship and innovation, leaving a lasting mark on both her students and colleagues.

In 2017, she made a significant move by joining the Brunel Business School at Brunel University London. For six years, she spearheaded the MBA Programme, molding the minds of future business leaders. Today, she stands as the Associate Head (Education) of Brunel Business School,  responsible for the quality of teaching and learning, enhancing the student experience, and fostering curriculum innovation.

What sets Dr. Oksana Gerwe apart is her unwavering commitment to bridging the gap between academia and industry. Her focus on cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship and real-world relevance within the academic environment is commendable. She ensures that Brunel Business School equips its students with the practical skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the ever-evolving global marketplace.

Dr. Oksana Gerwe is not just an educator; she is a visionary leader who understands that the future of business education lies in its ability to adapt, innovate, and remain connected to the world of practice. Her dedication to this cause and her tireless efforts to empower the next generation of business leaders make her a true inspiration in the field.

Shaping Future Leaders through Passion, Dedication, and Innovation

As the Associate Head of Brunel Business School in London, Dr. Gerwe feels a deep sense of honor in having the chance to impart her journey in entrepreneurship and innovation within higher education and the global industry. This journey represents a remarkable blend of passion, unwavering dedication, and an unrelenting pursuit of excellence.

These qualities are all driven by her overarching vision to mold future leaders and catalyze positive changes on a global scale. Dr. Gerwe’s inspiration to become an educational leader springs from a profound belief in the transformative potential of education. When one asks successful individuals about the secrets behind their achievements, they frequently mention a teacher or mentor who played a pivotal role in their growth.

Having personally experienced the profound influence of educators on her own development, Dr. Gerwe aspired to create similar opportunities for students. Her driving force lies in empowering students with knowledge and innovation to help them shape their futures. She derives immense satisfaction from sharing her knowledge and experiences with her students, motivating them to aim high, pursue their goals, and summon the courage to chase their dreams.

Dr. Gerwe’s unique combination of strategic leadership experience, both within and outside academia, her extensive connections with the industry, and her diverse professional background collectively render her an exceptionally effective educator and academic leader. Her ultimate aim is to create opportunities for others, just as educators did for her.

Commitment to Contemporary Education

Brunel University London is deeply rooted in the principles espoused by the renowned engineer of the UK’s industrial era, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. These principles revolve around a strong emphasis on being highly practical, applied, and relevant in all aspects of research, teaching, and industry engagement.

Dr. Gerwe is dedicated to instilling the most current developments and ideas into every classroom setting, spanning from undergraduate courses to MBA programs. Her goal is to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel and remain competitive in the job market upon graduation.

She places a high priority on staying abreast of the latest educational trends and actively participating in conferences, workshops, and global forums. This commitment ensures her continuous immersion in conversations revolving around emerging pedagogical approaches, technological advancements, and shifts within various industries.

Additionally, Dr. Gerwe actively engages in research initiatives and collaborates with fellow educators and industry professionals. These efforts serve to fine-tune their educational strategies, resulting in the delivery of a cutting-edge education that readies students to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities of the future.

Fostering Interactive Learning and Lifelong Education

Dr. Gerwe strongly advocates for an interactive teaching style that consistently connects theoretical concepts with practical applications. She recognizes that student engagement plays a pivotal role in the success of education.

To achieve this, she employs active learning strategies, implements flipped classroom models, and leverages technology-enhanced methods, all aimed at creating dynamic and interactive learning environments. By cultivating a culture of collaboration and emphasizing real-world relevance, Dr. Gerwe keeps students motivated to actively explore, question, and excel.

One illustrative approach used within the classrooms of Brunel Business School is the case method. This method allows students to tackle genuine business challenges, work collaboratively in groups, explore diverse perspectives, and critically evaluate the pros and cons of potential solutions.

Dr. Gerwe underscores the fact that the traditional model of acquiring a single degree in one’s twenties and relying on that knowledge throughout one’s career is no longer applicable. Instead, she encourages her students to embrace the concept of lifelong learning. In an ever-changing and evolving world, the necessity to continually upskill and update one’s knowledge is paramount. This perspective ensures that individuals remain adaptable and well-prepared to navigate the evolving landscape of their chosen fields.

Nurturing Career Success

Enhancing student employability stands as a central pillar in Dr. Gerwe’s current role as the Associate Head and her prior position as the MBA Director. Within Brunel Business School, a range of career-focused initiatives has been meticulously crafted to empower students in bridging the divide between academic knowledge and professional success. These initiatives include mentorship programs, industry placements, and skill development workshops. They collectively serve to equip students with the necessary tools to thrive in their chosen careers.

Brunel University London’s commitment to student employability is underscored by its notable standing in the UK’s higher education landscape. For instance, in the Global University Employability Ranking of 2022, Brunel achieved the remarkable position of being the 14th-best university in the UK for producing highly employable graduates. This achievement reflects the institution’s dedication to nurturing a comprehensive skill set that encompasses soft skills, critical thinking abilities, and practical experience. As a result, Brunel consistently produces graduates who are exceptionally well-prepared to excel in a competitive job market.

Resilience and Renewal

Dr. Gerwe reflects on the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledging that it was a significant test for everyone. However, she proudly highlights the remarkable resilience and adaptability demonstrated by Brunel Business School during this period. The institution successfully navigated the transition from fully face-to-face teaching to online delivery with a high degree of efficiency and effectiveness.

In fact, rather than merely weathering the storm, Brunel Business School emerged from the pandemic with a renewed sense of community. The experience led to the development of new teaching and engagement tools, which have proven invaluable in enriching the learning experience; this period of adaptation and growth positioned the school in a much stronger and more competitive position within both the UK and the global education market.

Holistic Approach to Learning and Teaching

Enhancing the quality of learning and teaching activities at Brunel Business School is approached comprehensively. Educators at the institution emphasize a harmonious integration of traditional teaching methods and experiential learning opportunities. This approach is underpinned by the use of feedback loops and a commitment to continuous improvement processes.

The institution places significant value on student input, fostering open channels of communication between students and educators. This inclusive approach ensures that students are active participants in shaping their educational experiences. Moreover, the school’s dedication to holistic development guarantees that the academic journey is not only intellectually stimulating but also enriching in various dimensions of a student’s life.

A Trailblazing Career in Digital Innovation and Academic Leadership

Over the course of her career, Dr. Gerwe has amassed a remarkable array of achievements, accolades, and well-deserved recognitions. She has established herself as a preeminent expert in the fields of digital innovation, disruptive business models, and the sharing economy. Her contributions are reflected in a comprehensive and high-quality portfolio of publications, conference presentations, keynote speeches, grants, and numerous prestigious awards.

One notable achievement occurred in September 2020 when Dr. Gerwe had the honor of presenting her insights to the UK Parliament. Her presentation focused on the profound effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sharing economy sector in the UK, as well as the prospects for its recovery.

Under her visionary leadership, the Brunel MBA program thrived even in the face of the challenges posed by the pandemic. It was transformed into one of the most successful flagship programs within the Brunel Business School’s portfolio. Dr. Gerwe’s strategic, recruitment and operational efforts bore fruit, resulting in a substantial increase in program applications, offers, and conversions. Notably, her leadership achieved the highest student enrollment numbers, particularly among international students, in recent recruitment cycles, marking a significant milestone since the program’s inception 20 years ago.

Currently, Brunel University and the Business School are undergoing an exciting phase of strategic transformation. This transformation is geared towards ensuring the institution’s resilience and adaptability in the higher education market, as well as elevating teaching, research, and knowledge exchange activities to new heights. This strategic evolution aligns with the ever-changing demands of the external environment, making it an exceptional time to both study and work at Brunel University and be part of the institution’s inspiring journey into the future.

Advice for Emerging Educational Leaders

What distinguishes Dr. Gerwe as an educational leader is her holistic approach that seamlessly integrates the worlds of academia and industry. Through her mentorship, she fosters curiosity, resilience, and empathy in students, preparing them to become adaptable leaders capable of driving meaningful change. Her educational methodologies place a strong emphasis on lifelong learning, ethics, and the cultivation of a global mindset.

To the students of the UK, Dr. Gerwe imparts valuable advice: “Embrace curiosity as a constant companion on your journey. The world is in a perpetual state of change, and your ability to navigate it successfully hinges on your willingness to learn, unlearn, and relearn continuously. Embrace challenges, nurture resilience, and recognize the immense value of networking and collaboration. Understand that your education serves as a foundation, but it is your attitude and determination that will serve as the driving forces propelling your success.”

In closing, Dr. Gerwe’s path in educational leadership has been marked by inspiration and transformation. Guided by an unwavering passion for innovation, a steadfast commitment to student success, and a dedication to pushing the boundaries of education, she continues to shape the future of learning in Europe. With boundless enthusiasm, she eagerly anticipates the opportunities that lie ahead as she collaboratively paves the way for a brighter and more empowered generation of learners and leaders.

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