MBA Study Tour Switzerland 2017

2017 MBA Study Tour

ZHAW School of Management and Law, Switzerland

Students on the Leeds Full-time MBA and Leeds Executive MBA have the opportunity to take part in a one or two week international study tour. In 2017, students were given the opportunity to visit the ZHAW School of Management and Law in Winterthur, Switzerland. 17 full-time MBA students and 4 Executive MBA students attended the tour, taking in a series of company visits and talks over the week.

Case study

The Switzerland tour was scheduled into nine half-day sessions, with an institutional lecture in the morning, followed by a company visit in the afternoon, in order to give students an experience of real-world practical business expertise as well as cutting-edge research and teaching on subjects relevant to the programme.

There was also time set aside for leisure activities, and students on this tour took part in cultural activities including visiting Mount Santis - the highest mountain in the Alps from which six separate countries are visible - and a boat trip on one of Zurich's picturesque lakes.

Overall the MBA study tour offers a unique opportunity for students to visit a destination through the lens of their course, picking up valuable additional know-how from academics and professionals alike. Catherine Porter, MBA Programmes Officer at Leeds University Business School, sums up the appeal of the trip, "The Zurich study tour was an amazing learning experience, giving our MBA students an entirely fresh perspective on Swiss academia, business and culture.  The tour was expertly coordinated by ZHAW with a perfect mix of inspiring academic lectures and impressive company visits hosted by high profile executives –  we all came away influenced by our experiences and motivated to  ‘be more Swiss’!"

Institution talks

Based at the ZHAW building in Winterthur, students' days usually consisted of an academic lecture in the morning, followed by lunch provided by the host institution, and a company visit in the afternoon. MBA student Jing Ma was impressed by the teaching at ZHAW, "The teaching was of a high level and the information they delivered was quite up-to-date, which supplemented our MBA module content, such as the digital marketing section which was to be briefed and guided in our Global Marketing module".

Lectures were delivered by ZHAW's own academics including Dr Florian Keller, a veteran of Swiss telecommunications company Swisscom and the British Foreign Office, and guest lecturers including Elmar Mock, co-creator of the world-famous Swatch watch and currently with Creaholic, the company he founded in 1986.

Elmar Mock giving MBA students a talk
Elmar Mock delivers a lecture to MBA students

Company visits

Company visits on the trip were based around a factory or headquarters tour, followed by an engaging question and answer session with the host. The multiple host countries that are visited each year gives students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the business culture of other territories, as well as expand their global network.

Nat Southworth, an Executive MBA student who took part on the tour, appreciated the calibre of tour guide on the visits, "Having held a Director position I was impressed by the time given by and seniority of personnel who hosted the student visits. We had Chairmen, Managing Directors, and country General Managers hosting us. This meant the level of discussion was strategic, and we could ask challenging questions of the business decision maker."

Tour schedule

Day 1  
AM Firm Internationlisation – Doing Business in Europe with Dr Florian Keller
PM Company Visit – ABB with Lars Dittman
Day 2  
AM Innovation and Entrepreneurship with Elmar Mock
PM Company Visit – Microsoft Switzerland with Max Eggenberg
Day 3  
AM Company Visit - Sprüngli
PM International Management and Cross-Cultural Negotiation with Khaldoun Dia-Eddine
Day 4  
AM Leisure
PM Company Visit – Renault Switzerland
Day 5  
AM International Consumer Behaviour with Dr. Kurt Ackerman
PM Company Visit - Link Institut


The 2017 MBA study tour group at a business visit
The group outside the headquarters of Microsoft Switzerland


The 2017 MBA study tour group at a business visit
Headquarters of robotics and automation firm ABB

Link Institut

The 2017 MBA study tour group at a business visit
Outside the offices of market research company Link Institut