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The Extra Mile to an MBA

Review of the first MBA program

On 24 October 2018, 21 participants started the newly established MBA program at the ZHAW School of Management and Law. Anyone who thought they could simply go to back school for half a year and be awarded the highly coveted MBA title was quickly put right; the 30 ECTS had to be earned the hard way through input sessions, group work, individual work, and an external seminar. But the commitment paid off, and the participants now have not only an MBA degree in their pockets but also a set of valuable skills and experience to draw on.

The program kicked-off with a four-day seminar which focused on organizational leadership as well as strategic and ethical thinking. Program content was immediately applied and discussed using a real case study. There then followed modules entitled "Strategic Leadership" and "Financial Leadership," where topics such as strategic stakeholder management, risk management, corporate governance, and tax management were also addressed. Proven specialists gave the lectures and shared their knowledge in numerous discussions with the students.

In the "International Leadership" module, participants dealt with leadership and communication in an international context. Intercultural teams are central components of today's companies, presenting executives with corresponding challenges. Participants learned about and applied cross-cultural management models as well as approaches for communicating with target groups. Three regional focus areas (Japan, China, and the Arab region) were used to take a closer look at different communication cultures.

At the end of the program, participants had to prove themselves as crisis managers. The crisis simulation lasting several days was described by many as a highlight – although internally it is known as "hell week." During the 64-hour simulation, students formed a management team which had to steer a fictitious company through an existential crisis. The students worked day and night shifts and had to make decisions appropriate to the unfolding situation. Although the simulation challenged them a lot, it was a unique opportunity to apply the tools acquired during the course in a practical context and to perform at a high level both personally and in a team.

The half-year was demanding, according to the feedback of many participants, but extremely rewarding. Participants agreed that the opportunity to engage with leadership topics, learn practical skills, reflect on and further develop their leadership behavior, and exchange ideas about current leadership topics within the group was a huge benefit for their current and future professional careers.

More information about the MBA:
Master of Business Administration

If you would like to find out more about the MBA program, please contact us:
Dr. Florian Keller
Head of MBA Program

Continuing education management training at the ZHAW