“We all have a responsibility to contribute to our community and to facilitate further development of our country”

“We all have a responsibility to contribute to our community and to facilitate further development of our country”

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Ambitious BSN graduate Iza Gigauri looks back on life after graduation.

Iza-GigauriWhen Iza was 17 years old she was involved in a car accident and suffered a spinal cord injury, which left her paraplegic. However, her disability has never had any effect on her life ambitions, on the contrary – Iza, is most likely, one of the most ambitious people you have ever met. After graduating her MBA, she went on to do her PhD in Business Administration at the Tbilisi State University, from which she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2013. She is now 36 and works as an assistant professor at the Caucasus School of Business (Caucasus University) and as a professor at St. Andrew, in Georgia.

Having been granted a scholarship through the Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) to study her MBA at Business School Netherlands in 2009, Iza went on to graduate with Credit, in September 2011.

You were granted a NFP scholarship – would you have been able to do the MBA without it?
“Absolutely not. Studying can be quite expensive and MBA programmes are costly everywhere. Without the scholarship it would have been impossible, so to this day I am very thankful for the opportunity. I also found, since completing my MBA, that I have become more self-confident.”

How did you go from working for an NGO to becoming a professor?
“I have actually had a few jobs after the MBA. I worked at the Ministry of Justice of Georgia for several months, before working for the International Center on Conflict and Negotiation. After that I joined the Strategic Department of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia. After I finished my PhD, I took on the job as a professor.”

What was your main motivation to do a PhD?
“My main motivation was my passion to do research and discover new things. I love studying, planning, implementing, making correlations and trying to explain things. I especially wanted to learn more about Business Ethics and especially Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is a current trend in business.”

What do you like most about working at a business school?
“I love Academia and the academic environment. It is very exciting to be surrounded by talented, great and famous professors and to participate in teaching and researching activities. Most of all, I like my students, being involved and working with the new generation - they are clever, skillful, well-informed and I find it extremely interesting to engage with them. Furthermore, I like to satisfy their curiosity with my knowledge and experience; it’s a very fulfilling job.”

What do you teach exactly?
“I teach CSR at the Caucasus School of Business and Research Methods, Social Entrepreneurship and Marketing on both Bachelor's and Doctoral levels at St. Andrew, the First-Called Georgian University. Besides this, I supervise doctoral students.”

How important is CSR in Georgia?
“This initiative is new to my country. There are some CSR activities, but it is still in a very embryonic stage. I’ve noticed that both companies and society show their growing interest towards CSR, so it is gradually developing.”  

What is one of the developmental obstacles of CSR in Georgia?
“Georgian citizens are definitely interested in CSR and want to know more about it. On the other hand, like in most developing countries, when it comes to purchasing products, they don’t really take the social responsibility route, but rather look at price and product quality.”

How do you wish to make a positive contribution personally?
“I think we all have a responsibility to contribute to our community and society, and to facilitate further development of our country. I feel I haven’t given back enough – there’s still a lot more for me to give. I do hope that my research will contribute to this goal, but I strongly believe my students will contribute even more to the country’s overall development. Sharing knowledge and education with a younger generation is the best and most efficient way to increase and improve the development of any country. I believe that education for all will lead to positive changes.”

How has the NFP scholarship changed your life?
“First of all, I got to know the wonderful team at BSN. Moreover I graduated from my MBA, and after that it was unbelievably easy to write my PhD Dissertation. My life has become more interesting and more diversified. Thanks to EP-Nuffic, I was given the chance to get an amazing education and gain practical knowledge in business administration.”

What is your biggest dream for the future?
“I dream of a modern, universal infrastructure including more accessibility for wheelchair-users, so I can move independently throughout Georgia. I also dream about economic prosperity for my country and for Georgian people to be happy.”