Vladyslav Bandrovsky

Winter in Ukraine: Despite the dark times, Vladyslav Bandrovsky sees positive signs for his country

It was one of those nights when the Russian rockets rained down on Zaporizhzhia. His best friend’s flat was completely destroyed, along with five other floors in the same apartment block. Luckily, neither she nor her parents were at home. 

Meanwhile, the blast waves from another missile, together with shrapnel, damaged his own flat.

Since the early days of the war, Warwick Business School student Vladyslav Bandrovsky has been keeping tally of the damage caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now heading up a project documenting acts of destruction on behalf of corporate clients, the lawyer turned Full-time MBA student hopes one day to win compensation from those responsible.

“As a result of our efforts, my team has documented damages totalling €10.3 million suffered by both businesses and individuals, and the figure continues to rise,” says Vladyslav, who was recently honoured by Poets & Quants as one of the Best & Brightest MBAs of 2024.

“These documents are valuable evidence that can be used in courts. I believe our efforts will eventually bring justice to those affected by the war.”  

Bombing of Zaporizhzhia: one night the apartment block of Vladyslav's best friend was completely destroyed

Vladyslav grew up in Zaporizhzhia, one of the Ukrainian cities that, in the past two years, has become synonymous with Russia’s bombing of Ukraine. It is more historically associated, however, with being the cradle of the Cossack civilisation.

Sitting on the Dnipro River and meaning ‘beyond the rapids’, Zaporizhzhia lies just downstream of the Dnipro Rapids, and just upstream from the original Cossack island of Khortytsia. It was there in the sixteenth century that the Cossack people established a state called Zaporozhian Sich, which had a democratic parliamentary system of government, a distinct judicial system, and its own constitution drawn up in 1710.

Whether or not some of that Cossack spirit rubbed off on Vladyslav, the young Ukrainian did find himself pursuing Law at university on leaving school. He started his Bachelor of Law degree at Zaporizhzhia National University, and upon graduating, he moved to the capital, Kyiv, to pursue a Masters of Business Law at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

The legal career that he was now building in Ukraine’s capital city contained a strong business element. Joining top law firm DLA Piper Ukraine, he was soon involved in large transactions and dispute resolution cases, often involving governmental bodies and multinational corporations.

Studying for an MBA

As he gained experience in the corporate world, the Ukrainian lawyer started thinking of another qualification, this time firmly rooted in the business arena.

“It is quite popular for lawyers operating in corporate world to want to take an MBA,” he says. “Lawyers lacking business acumen can be seen as blockers in business processes. An MBA helps lawyers become more business savvy, and provides entrepreneurial and commercial insight.”

For Vladyslav, it was also about the eventual post-war reconstruction of his country. Many of his projects after joining another prominent law firm in 2022 – Sayenko Kharenko – were focused on helping investors in Ukraine’s economy. 

“My decision to undertake an MBA was significantly influenced by my desire to integrate my legal expertise with business strategies, specifically to facilitate foreign investments in Ukraine's rebuilding efforts,” he says.

Situated in the English-speaking world and with its strong academic reputation, particularly in Finance, Warwick Business School fit the bill.

“I needed to understand the maths regarding international investment and I knew that WBS could do a good job on this, especially as Economics and Maths are key strengths of the University of Warwick too,” says Vladyslav.

“But I didn’t want Finance to the exclusion of everything else. I also knew that the School was strong in the teaching of Strategy and Leadership as well.”

The School has not disappointed. “Warwick MBA has exceeded my expectations,” he says. “Courses like LeadershipPlus as well as Corporate Reporting and Decision Making have been really rich in substance and delivery.”

Moreover, the course on Financial Management has been “invaluable” in filling his “knowledge gaps” when it comes to representing companies whose properties have been shelled and looted by the Russian army.

“Documenting these damages has required an understanding of the operations of the affected businesses and knowledge of accounting principles.”

Market entry strategies

While gathering this evidence, Vladyslav has also been working with the international development agency, USAID, on commercial dispute resolution reform in Ukraine.

“I know the challenges and limitations posed by the ongoing war and the unpredictable nature of the rebuilding phase, but my passion is for contributing to Ukraine's economic restoration,” the Ukrainian lawyer says.

To that end, his dissertation at the end of the Master of Business Administration programme will be looking at market entry strategies for post-war rebuilding in Ukraine.

He sees some positive signals in the opening up of EU membership negotiations with Ukraine at the end of last year. “There is no doubt that times are dark,” he says. “But when you have a whole EU administrative machine working on framework documents, aligning perspectives, and so on, you begin to establish a road map.”

“The same goes for my work. When you work on something with passion and dedication, it has to result in something.”  


The Full-time MBA at Warwick Business School is designed for visionary leaders who want to make a difference in the world.