5 unique benefits you can expect from Switzerland’s most innovative EMBA program

Where can you find an Executive MBA program focused on sustainability, social impact, and personal growth? Tucked away in the Swiss Alps, two leading institutions - ETH Zurich and the University of St.Gallen - offer the emba X program, a joint degree that ticks all the boxes for the most motivated, progressive, and forward-thinking students.

In short

1. A world-class curriculum

The emba X program is a far cry from other straightforward, out-of-the-box Executive MBA courses. Current student Jayashree Sahni, Senior Global Program Clinical Head at Novartis, recognized the work that had gone into the curriculum, saying: “Even during the pre-interview phase and when we were writing our essays, I knew that this program was going to be different.” (00:59)

Over 18 months, students get on-campus courses, online essentials, and integrative weeks that offer a wealth of skills to draw on. As well as subjects such as macroeconomics and entrepreneurial leadership, you get forward-thinking classes on UN-focused sustainability, cognitive technologies, and much more. 

Student Simon Grossenbacher, CEO and Partner at Sound Capital AG, detailed parts of the curriculum that attracted him. He says, “It’s just very diverse. From sustainability, from NGOs, to macroeconomics to technology, and that’s really cool.” (01:42)

2. An opportunity for personal and professional development

With Executive MBA programs, you can expect to cover a general foundation in all aspects of business before specializing in a subject that is personal to each student. 

However, there has been a recent surge in business schools focusing on the often-overlooked areas of self-analysis and development. These skills are the basis of any leader who wants to continuously improve and adapt quickly and wisely to our ever-changing world. By understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, and recognizing how best to focus your efforts, you can fast-track your development as a leader. 

Student Awa Fall Diagne, CEO & co-founder of Nemosia, drove home the point that these skills are often neglected. “I was quite impressed that we started the learning with more introspections and self-leadership perspectives,” she says. “These were concepts that were a bit foreign to me.” (00:33)

Self-leadership is one of the most stand-out concepts in the curriculum, and it’s clear to see why. In business, it’s often perspective and mindset, not hard skills and a glittering CV, that separate the great from the good.

3. A built-in focus on sustainability and societal problems

Another area that simply cannot be ignored in modern-day business is sustainability and social responsibility. The program’s Swiss alpine setting is a constant reminder that “business as usual” is simply not an option. Between climate change, political upheaval, and social injustices, the business world must face this turbulent world head-on.

By learning subjects such as Business Model Innovation through the lens of sustainability and social impact, emba X students gain a mindset that prioritizes the burning issues we face today. They learn how to put ethics at the heart of their company and act effectively to demonstrate those ethics.

Jayashree appreciated the ethical side of the course: “What is highly impressive to me is that every subject, every time we have an interaction, how sustainability and societal problems are built into each of the course components.” (01:15) More specifically, early in the program, students undertake the Social Impact Project. This is a group assignment that immerses students in a non-profit environment to provide a deeper understanding and development of socially responsible skills. 

4. Lessons that are immediately applicable to your professional life

All active professionals in their own right, students on the emba X ultimately aim to improve their career through study. As Jayashree outlines, “I am on a personal journey myself to find what I can do with my skills in my organization.” (01:05)

As with all Executive MBA programs, students learn a vast range of business skills and how to apply them in real life. However, on the emba X, they delve deeper into how to improve businesses with the Business Innovation Project. This assignment with a sponsoring company pushes students to combine what they have learned with some out-of-the-box thinking to drive a company forward. 

But, that’s not all. A Company Impact Project is perhaps the most relevant part of the program for each student. During the weeks of the project, emba X candidates focus directly on a real-life issue in their own organization. The practical application, peer coaching, and working with emba X concepts is no easy ride, but the career benefits are huge.

In fact, Simon says, “My expectation would be to get challenged, actually. It’s good to me that it’s tough, it’s good that it’s rich, it’s good that it’s diverse. It fulfilled my expectations in this regard.” (01:54)

5. Peer support and a strong professional network

The emba X maintains small classes of talented individuals looking to drive their careers forward. Each candidate is meticulously selected to provide a quality, gender-balanced cohort. All students are therefore deeply experienced, but come from diverse backgrounds, making every class a valuable exchange of ideas.

Andrew Haynes, a self-employed information architect, saw his fellow students as one of the highlights of the course. “Tthe spirit within the cohort has been very encouraging. People have been very supportive of each other,” he says. (00:15) The peer support among the cohort encourages emba X candidates to progress as a team. As a result, each student absorbs the expertise of their classmates, making for an unrivaled learning environment. 

The personal and professional bonds made aren’t just restricted to the 18 months of the program, however. When they reach graduation, students have already bolstered their network with passionate, skilled, and driven profiles for future collaboration. 

To get in touch directly with alumni from the University of St.Gallen, check out our Ambassadors page.

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