Moravian Business College Olomouc: Raising elites to pick up the baton in the region

24.04.2024 Jan Procházka, OLOMOUC.CZ; transl. 21.05.2024, MVSO

To create an international innovation and education centre where people from the region will study and work, and from which the future elites will rise. This is the vision that Dr Josef Tesařík, an entrepreneur, has been implementing for a quarter-century in his BEA Centre Olomouc, which includes Moravian Business College Olomouc (MVSO). The next part of the League of the Successful series, in which we present remarkable companies from the (Olomouc) region in cooperation with the District Chamber of Commerce, is all about this. And this project is truly remarkable.

To keep the students in Olomouc

There used to be military barracks here, then the free space was used by circuses, and for almost fifteen years now, the BEA Campus has been gradually and patiently growing on the banks of the Morava River, where, in addition to Josef Tesařík’s companies from the Tessela holding, MVSO has its facilities. “The vision that I have had for twenty-five years is being fulfilled here,” says Josef Tesařík, the MVSO director, and explains what the BEA acronym stands for. “We want people from the region to be educated and work here to uplift the region,” he says. “It is a great pity when young people leave to study in Prague or elsewhere and then don’t come back to Olomouc. Our goal, which we are gradually fulfilling, is to reverse this trend,” explains Josef Tesařík. It was this idea that prompted him to consider founding an educational institution in the late 1990s. “I often met people from Olomouc in Prague and asked them why they had moved away. And they usually answered that they had studied in Prague, found a job and stayed. Around that time, I realized that Olomouc was completely lacking a HEI focused on economics, management, and similar fields. And these fields are what the region desperately needs. That was the impulse,” he says, explaining how the great long run began. The first visible project was the construction of the Regional Centre Olomouc (RCO) in front of the railway station, which was completed in 2003. “Olomouc has been a neglected district city for decades. It lacked something like a large centre where, for example, congresses could be held and experts could meet. That’s why we built RCO as a kind of gateway to the city," says Josef Tesařík about the project. This building was the first seat of MVSO, founded in 2005.

Two thousand alumni

Nowadays, MVSO is the heart of the BEA Centre project. It has over two thousand graduates, five hundred students and seventy staff members. “Today, MVSO is a complex academic institution with a defined expertise that it seeks to apply in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship,” says Josef Tesařík. Its focus is on management, economics, finance, human resources, marketing and multimedia and, of course, entrepreneurship and innovation. The study programmes taught at MVSO are both bachelor's and master's degrees. “Our specific feature is that the first year is more general, so that the new students can get acquainted. Then they choose a specialisation that suits them. But it’s definitely not easy for them, we don't give anything away for free. On the other hand, the students are getting better every year and are really interested in their studies. I believe that a good indicator is that many students are earning their own tuition fees.” Josef Tesařík is also satisfied that the vision of the school serving mainly students from the region is being fulfilled. One hundred and fifty students entered the first year in September, with one hundred and twenty from Olomouc and the surrounding area. Those who complete the school often find employment either in their parents’ companies or in the school's own facilities. "We don't want to invite lecturers who give a lecture and then leave. The school is made up of people. That's why we train young colleagues who gradually pick up the imaginary baton. If one of our graduates decides to pursue an academic career, the door is open for them," rejoices Josef Tesařík.

Students have no problem finding a job

MVSO is also the first private HEI in the Czech Republic to obtain professional accreditation for teaching business, thus linking theory and practice. “It (an internship) is compulsory for students. They gain irreplaceable experience directly from companies. We are not a school that teaches only theory and then lets out graduates who don’t know anything,” says Dr Ida Wiedermannová, MBA, Chief Operations Officer and Vice-rector for Pedagogical Affairs at MVSO. She proves her words by the fact that companies often offer employment to students who do their internships with them. After all, the school boasts that about ninety-eight percent of its graduates find employment in the field immediately after graduation. “They get a job in companies, some enter public administration, some stay with the college... And many students, often during their studies, start their own business. We are happy to support this and provide them with facilities for their start-ups and other services.”

MVSO’s extensive international networks are a great attraction for future students and a huge source of experience. “International lecturers and students come here, and our students carry out mobilities abroad not only within the Erasmus+ programme, but also for various internships and exchanges. We also regularly organise tours to neighbouring countries because we need students to learn about the importance of our anchorage in Central Europe,” says Josef Tesařík, adding in the same breath that the college also tries to emphasise its students' relationship with home.

Internationally, the school cultivates relationships around the world, cooperating with universities and companies in the US, Israel, Germany, UK, India, Slovakia, and Hungary.

"We don’t do science for the sake of a paper”

The college relies on modern teaching. “Our classrooms are fully digitalised and we use cutting-edge technology. Eight years ago, MVSO set up a TV studio to provide students with skills also in this field, while at the same time it serves to promote the results of research, and it also operates on a commercial basis and thus earns money for the college,” says Wiedermannová.

MVSO is a two-time holder of the prestigious HR Award (HR Excellence in Research Award) and would like to defend it for a third time. It has also been a scientific institution for several years and, as already mentioned, is active in the field of research. "We always make sure that the results are applicable in the region. We don’t do science for the sake of a paper," points out the Vice-rector Wiedermannová. 

MVSO is currently preparing its third international project, now with partners from Ireland and Croatia. “The aim is to create a centre that will enable the transfer of know-how for specific businesses, but also for educational institutions,” reveals the Vice-rector.

However, MVSO also focuses on innovations in the teaching process itself. “We monitor new trends and technologies, and we always try to be ahead of the curve, training ourselves and our students, since the world is changing very fast and we have to keep up with it,” notes Tesařík.

Probably the biggest success in the field of science was the article co-authored by the Vice-rector for R&D, and Innovations, Tomáš Jelínek Ph.D., published last year in one of the world's most prestigious interdisciplinary scientific journals, PNAS, issued by the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. The text deals with the subject of the Holocaust and examined the impact of social ties on the survival of Auschwitz prisoners.

 RNDr. Josef Tesařík

*23. 7. 1949, Olomouc

Entrepreneur, founder of TESCO SW and many other companies. He built the Regional Centre Olomouc in the railway station forecourt, where MVSO later found its first seat. In 2013, he began to build a large campus (between the Kavaleristů and Kosmonautů streets in Olomouc), where not only MVSO, but also a number of companies found their home.

He is a great Olomouc patriot. He lives in Neředín (Olomouc city part), has three adult children and several grandchildren. His brother is the former Olomouc governor and mayor Martin Tesařík.


Photo: Jan Procházka

No subsidies

The entire campus is growing along with the college. “We expect it to be completely finished by the turn of 2025 and 2026,” hopes Josef Tesařík. And he believes that in about two years, the school could be financially self-sufficient. “This means that it would only need to finance about ten to fifteen percent of its budget. No private school in the world lives on tuition fees alone,” he believes. Over the last fifteen years, his company TESCO SW has invested in the school and the Olomouc Region has also contributed. However, Tesařík believes that the region is strong enough that there are other philanthropists who will support the project. “It's a school for everyone. You could say that the region is financing it from its own resources. And mind you, we don't have a single CZK from state subsidies.”

In addition to the campus completion, the MVSO founder said he would now like to focus on professional and excellence support for SMEs with a focus on innovations in agriculture, food, spa, and the healthcare sector in general. In the future, he would also like to deepen the cooperation with Palacký University. “We are building something that will not come into being overnight. Twenty years is a short time, and we can see much further. We build a lot on greenfield and we take inspiration from abroad. But I believe that we will manage to uplift the region and that we will raise new elites who will take it over,” concludes Josef Tesařík.