SGH Warsaw School of Economics is the oldest economic university in Poland. It started its activity in1906 with the foundation of August Zieliński’s Private Courses of Commerce for Men at a time when Poland was being divided by Russia, Prussia and Austria. The founder of the School, August Zieliński managed, to obtain the permission of the Russian authorities for opening courses, which, in fact, provid-ed academic lectures in the Polish language. During World War I, with the consent of the occupying German authorities, the courses were acknowledged as „Handelshochschule”, i.e. the Higher School of Commerce (HSC). However, it was not until Poland regained independence in 1918 that it became pos-sible to give the School a more academic look. One year later, the authorities approved the statute ofthe HSC by giving it full rights of a university. During World War II the school operated in conspiracy.
After the end of the war in 1945, classes were resumed in the library building, which was kept intact. In June 1949, communist authorities nationalised the university and transformed it into the Central School of Planning and Statistics. The „socialist shape” imposed on the university by communists was aimed at creating an institution for educating official personnel, which was adjusted to the needs of a centrally planned and managed economy. Despite numerous limitations and obligations, the so-called science schools managed to develop, such as those of Aleksy Wakar and Michał Kalecki, which at that time were an poprawki of economic thought. By the end of the period of the Polish People’s Republic, the need for a thorough reform of the school became discernible. The conditions to conduct them appeared in 1990 in the wake of the general transformation of the state.
On 5 April 1991, the university returned to its previous name of the SGH Warsaw School of Economics –„Szkoła Główna Handlowa w Warszawie” which literally translates from Polish as the „Main School of Commerce”. New authorities commenced the transformation of the School. The teaching process was computerised and modernised and contacts were established with the best economic schools in Europe and around the world. Students were given the opportunity to choose lecturers and shape their own programme of studies.