Most business-focused postgraduate programmes are known for propelling professionals to the top of the corporate ladder. Europe’s most relevant Executive MBA is known for far more. The University of St.Gallen, a Triple Crown accredited institution, believes an innovative programme — integrating leadership, technology and personal development — is all executives need to feel energised to conquer a mountain. Delivered from Switzerland, this viewpoint could not be more apt.
The university’s Executive Master’s Programmes target professionals who are no strangers to leadership but are keen on upgrading their career profiles through comprehensive management training. Each is rigorous, yet highly flexible to ensure upskillers will be as prepared conquering high peaks as they are drumming up the courage to make the invaluable hike down the valley — with no need to put their existing responsibilities aside.
However, only one programme has the power to evolve executives into socially responsible innovators: the emba X. “A few words to thank you for this amazing programme, your strong commitment and your care to structure it in such a thoughtful way,” shares a touched emba X student. “I deeply feel it and this makes this programme very unique.”
The programme is jointly offered by the University of St.Gallen and ETH Zurich to bridge the gaps between general management, technology and leadership — a dynamic combination in today’s digitised world run by the likes of Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, Nvidia, Tencent and others.
Mastering all three areas is no easy feat — faculty members know this. Hence, the promise of an intentionally wholesome kick-off at the basecamp before the climb. While most EMBA programmes around the world prefer for their students to deep-dive into theory as soon as possible, the 18-month emba X begins with less on the “how” and more on the “why”.
Students are encouraged to explore before anything else. WHY Week — the programme’s first-week induction — is reserved for breaking barriers, building connections and setting intentions. Think of it as a base camp where students train, enforce their skills, delve inwards and outwards, and learn to be a person. Then, they learn to be a team, test their limits a little and forge strong bonds with teammates. It’s a complete, on-campus experience that sets the tone for the learning journey ahead.
To ensure optimum engagement, the introduction walks students through finding purpose with a personal leadership development programme, forming a deeper connection with others and themselves through the first steps of a social impact project, and relishing in the first few of many skill-building workshops.
It’s a holistic combination that works wonders in producing philanthropic business leaders — the result is intentional. The emba X’s overall mission is to develop socially responsible leaders who have the mindset, knowledge and skills to integrate leadership and knowledge challenges. Equal emphasis is placed on driving significant positive impact on teams, organisations and society at large.
The Social Impact Project — a consultancy-style group assignment that entails working on a challenge put forward by non-profit organisations in the east of Switzerland — is a concrete way to get a head start. While leveraging years of experience, they review their assumptions, develop empathy towards others, and adopt more refreshed approaches to decision-making.
Projects include helping a young NGO unlock the value of soils for human well-being, as well as climate and biodiversity action; expanding the business of an organic and fair-trade spice start-up to France; and measuring the impact of a project supporting 1,000 micro-entrepreneurs in low-income countries like Kenya, Ghana, and the Philippines.
By adding value to non-profits and supporting their efforts, students can expect to grasp the concept of sustainability in a defined, hands-on way. Combined with reflection exercises, these experiences encourage them to examine their own assumptions and understanding of how society operates. They will also explore the relationships between their actions and the effects they can have on various elements of ecological, economic and social systems.
Workshops, hot-seats, fireside chats, company visits, flipped classrooms and more are equally responsible for the passionate discussions sparked in these five days. While coming to conclusions in harmony, students gain exposure to diverse perspectives. After all, every enrollee who chooses the emba X has at least 10 years of experience in their respective fields.
“I find it really remarkable how open and interested the students were even when it came to some abstract philosophical questions,” enthuses an emba X faculty member.
If you’re ready to discover your true purpose before mastering the 21st century topics of technology, international management, leadership, business innovation and social responsibility; click here to begin your climb on the ultimate alpine trek today.