30-08-2021 10:03

From student whizz to business wonder

Nordea has together with the University of Lodz launched Business Process Automation, a brand new field of study across Poland.   
Not many universities in Poland educate student developers, automation controllers and analysts offering both theoretical and practical knowledge and preparation for the business reality that awaits them.

You are in your late teens, facing the decision that will impact your future. You need to choose a field of study that will provide you with useful skills to start a brilliant career afterwards. Years pass by, you graduate and enter the job market packed with tons of information … but lacking practical knowledge, experience and business awareness. Sounds familiar? 

Nordea’s Robotics Centre of Excellence has made a bold decision to break this pattern. At the end of 2020, in the context of its long-term cooperation with the University of Lodz, the centre launched Business Process Automation, a brand new field of study not only in Lodz but also across Poland.   

Agnieszka Belowska, Head of Robotics, explains why her team started this complex project: “For some time already we’d been wondering how we could best use our competencies to support the local community. The breakthrough came when we realised we could go into universities and give young people tools that could positively impact their future.

“While the community engagement aspect plays an important role in this project, it would of course be a bonus if some of the students went on to pursue a career with Nordea,” she adds.

This is a long-term investment and we can’t know if current students will ever end up in Nordea. That is the risk we’re taking. But the feeling of making a difference is something irreplaceable.

Jakub Szauer, process automation expert

High demand, low supply

The new Nordea-led project provides a solution to a real-world problem. There is still a lack of Business Process Automation experts on the market. Not many universities in Poland educate student developers, automation controllers and analysts offering both theoretical and practical knowledge and preparation for the business reality that awaits them. Meanwhile, demand for the automation of processes is growing at an increasing rate. This is the situation that Nordea is also facing.  

The aim of the Business Process Automation project is to create a talent pool on the market in the area of robotics. Students learn useful skills, execute and lead projects, and taste “real life”, gaining experience during six-month internships with some of the biggest players in the market.

The first of its kind

The Business Process Automation faculty opened in September 2020 and was planned to run for three years. However, given the high interest in the faculty and the positive feedback received, it will be open to future students too. Nordea is also considering extending its cooperation with the University of Lodz by co-organising postgraduate studies or specialised courses. 

The faculty is the first cooperation of its kind established between the University of Lodz and Nordea and initiated by Nordea in Poland. While Nordea is the main partner, the project is also supported by B/S/H, Digital Teammates, Digital Workforce, DXC Technology, Fujitsu and Mindbox.

From idea to reality

The moment the idea was announced, experts from the centre, including Adrian Ogłoza and Jakub Szauer, were keen to tackle the challenge, even though the path to implement the idea was paved with various obstacles. Before the classes could be conducted, numerous other activities had to be planned to the smallest detail.

“The project was complex and the pandemic didn’t make it easier. We had to build it from scratch, supporting the University of Lodz with creating the necessary infrastructure, organising equipment and obtaining the licence for BluePrism*. Leading the first semester completely online was also challenging,” says Adrian Ogłoza. 

Nordea representatives also had to decide if other companies, for the most part competitors, should be invited to participate in running the project.

“Contrary to the market trend and what was expected, we invited our main competitors to join this project. This is who we are – it’s in line with our values. We don’t fight. We collaborate,” says Agnieszka Belowska. 

Positive start – exciting times ahead

The first semester has just come to an end and students were asked to evaluate the cooperation and the quality of the laboratories provided by Nordea’s experts. The results are very encouraging. Both Jakub and Adrian received high ratings in the areas of conducting classes, technical and practical aspects, and the approach they presented.

“This is a long-term investment and we can’t know if current students will ever end up in Nordea. That is the risk we’re taking. But the feeling of making a difference is something irreplaceable,” concludes Jakub Szauer.

BluePrism* – The platform used by Nordea to automate processes and the main tool for developers in their daily work.

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