Hornstein Program Dual MBA-MA in Jewish Professional Leadership, 2012
Home region/country: Minsk, Belarus
Previous Education: Diploma of Specialist, Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, Minsk, Belarus 2006
Previous work experience: “Latin Quarter” Dance Troupe (Belarus); National Special Olympic Dance Team (Belarus); MediaPub Advertising/Publicis Hepta Group (Belarus); Moishe House (Belarus); A Special World (Belarus); Sabre Value Asset Management (Los Angeles)
“Things happen all the time [at Brandeis], and they move you. Even if you don’t want them to, they move you.”
WALTHAM, MA – From Minsk, to Tokyo, to Los Angeles, and finally to Brandeis, Dmitry Shaplyka has been driven by dance, business, and a mission of social justice.
“I started dancing a long time ago, when I was in preschool,” he explains. “I’d been selected by a coach who came to select talents and she decided I would be a good potential dancer. She wasn’t wrong, I think.”
While working to earn a diploma in choreography in Minsk, he founded the dance troupe Latin Quarter, and realized his managerial potential. “I wanted to be in a managerial position, and start something and develop it and contribute to greater means than just utilizing my body to be a good performer.”
Shortly thereafter, Dmitry got involved in the National Special Olympic Dance Team – with his dancing partner in a wheelchair, Elena Serkulskaya, eventually winning the European Championship as well as the World Championship, in Japan.
His experiences with the National Special Olympic Dance Team inspired him and his dance partner to create a non-profit organization called A Special World. Explaining the mission that derives inspiration from the name of the organization, he says “We want to invite everybody to the world with no boundaries and no barriers. Come and join us. It’s nice; it is exciting and very interesting. We can integrate the imaginary worlds of disabled and able-bodied. We don’t want to be separate, we want to actually be integrated.”
Dmitry is still involved with A Special World, but is currently on leave to study at Brandeis. He chose the Hornstein Program Dual MBA-MA in Jewish Professional Leadership because it combines all his current interests: creativity, business, and mission-driven work, as well as incorporating Jewish leadership. “You are in the mixture. This is what Brandeis is for me: you are inside. Things happen all the time, and they move you. Even if you don’t want them to, they move you.” he says.
What most impresses him about Brandeis, however, is the people: “It’s impressive because there is a whole world behind every single person you talk to, and you can open up a lot of interesting experiences for yourself.” He describes how “literally, during a class break I can have five meaningful conversations with five people from different parts of the world, which is something impressive to me.”