Introducing emba X: An innovative new Executive MBA taking “Swissness” to the next level

Jointly offered by the University of St.Gallen and ETH Zurich, the emba X is a new, innovative Executive MBA program focused on impactful leadership, innovation, and personal development. This is an unprecedented collaboration between two top-ranked Swiss institutions, so we were excited to speak to both educational institutions to learn more.

In short

X = Stronger Together

What is the emba X?

emba X is an 18-month Executive MBA program, jointly run by two Swiss institutions: the University of St.Gallen and ETH Zurich. The program is for executives with a recognized academic degree and with a minimum of 10 years of work experience and five years of leadership experience. The emba X program offers Europe’s best technology and leadership mix, with students focusing on integrating technology and management knowledge, while developing their skills and mindset to deliver sustainable positive impact to the world around them.

University of St.Gallen x ETH: An unprecedented collaboration between great Swiss institutions

It is rare to see two great institutions in Switzerland collaborate on such an impactful learning opportunity, but for the University of St.Gallen and ETH Zurich, collaboration was inevitable. With a practice-oriented and interdisciplinary approach, the University of St.Gallen is renowned as a leading business university that promotes responsible action and an entrepreneurial spirit of innovation. ETH Zurich, on the other hand, focuses on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It was created as a center of innovation and knowledge, offering an ideal environment for independent thought and research. “The collaboration between the University of St.Gallen and ETH is very unique,” says Karolin Frankenberger, the University of St.Gallen’s Co-Director of the emba X. “If we want to achieve something big, we need to cross our company borders or institution borders and work together with other strong players.” (0:00) She adds, “ETH and HSG are both strong players in their field and in the field of education. So if we do something together, it can only be bigger and more impactful.” (0:25)

Redefining “Swissness”

While Switzerland is typically perceived as a small, exclusive country with a history of declaring itself “neutral,” the emba X shows Switzerland has evolved for the new world. With a strong record of collaborating across borders and cultures, the small, mountainous country has effectively established itself as a key player in the global business world. As Karolin says, “We really know how to do global business [and] how to work with other countries.” (1:49) As the world today becomes increasingly globalized, it is just as important to maintain a global way of working in order to thrive. Enter the emba X: The value of the emba X program is that it takes the meaning of “Swissness” to the next level; leveraging Swiss expertise and sharing the secrets of Swiss success with the world to understand how the culture’s unique values, skills, networks, and tools can contribute to positive global impact. In other words, Switzerland is no longer neutral.

How the emba X equips students to lead in complexity

“I think the biggest challenge I see for people who are growing into an executive role is that things are getting more complex, but increasingly, society is putting constraints and expectations on business also to look forward to broader objectives,” says Stefano Brusoni, ETH Zurich’s Co-Director of the emba X. “If you have this increasing range of goals to reconcile, then you get stuck – and you have to make choices that are either not based on evidence…or you are choosing one objective over the other,” Stefano explains. “I think the challenge here is to enable people to really expand a little bit the range of criteria they consider relevant to the decisions and help them understand how to make those criteria transparent because basically, this is a discussion about accountability.” (0:34) How does the emba X support its students in thriving as executives? According to Claudio Feser, Senior Advisor for the emba X program, it’s all about building self-awareness. “Adjusting to new environments, to new technologies, requires also a high level of self-awareness and self-leadership…and that’s what this program will do,” Claudio says. It focuses on knowledge of technology [and] management. It focuses on applying that in a company context and how to engage the organization to achieve that. But it also thirdly focuses on how can we grow individuals or help individuals grow so that they can master these challenges professionally, but also in a balanced personal way.” (2:00) If you’re looking for an innovative, 21st-century MBA program that will challenge your ways of thinking, working, and learning, there might not be a better program than the emba X in Switzerland.

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