European Business Schools for the Future
In the Swiss Alps near Zurich, the University of St. Gallen has been a center for academic success since 1898. Steeped in tradition, St. Gallen’s entrepreneurial spirit has set it on a path for integrating traditional learning and the digital world, while connecting people on campus. Its new learning center will prepare students for a world where industry-specific knowledge interfaces with digital learning. It will experiment with the notion of learning itself, developing innovative formats and challenging how information is presented.
St. Gallen was the first Swiss university to acquire a NVIDIA DGX-2 supercomputer, and its new computer science school offers courses in disciplines like artificial intelligence, machine learning and cybersecurity. Other new programs include a medical master’s in cooperation with the University of Zurich that will provide business, management and leadership courses to medical students.
Sustainability is also part of University of St. Gallen’s DNA. According to the Financial Times (FT) it is a top-three European business school in sustainability, while its Institute for the Economy and the Environment ensures St. Gallen sets an example in its teaching and the implemention of environmentally conscious changes.
University of St. Gallen’s annual Impact Awards recognize scholarship with a profound societal effect. Subjects awarded include a St. Gallen study on the effects of oil spills on neo-natal deaths that caused a media frenzy forcing the Nigerian government to change behavior, business models for the circular economy and a blockchain-based insurance structure.
In the FT’s European Business School Ranking 2020, St. Gallen ranked seventh and its Strategy in International Management program has been recognized as the best global program ten years in a row, while the expanding Executive School is first in German-speaking Europe. With the St. Gallen Learning Center, the blueprints for its move toward digital learning, sustainability and the integration of technology will continue to be developed as it advances toward new methods of learning.
Building Into the Future: The University of St. Gallen
Nestled in the Swiss Alps just east of Zurich lies one of the top business schools in Europe: the University of St. Gallen. President Bernhard Ehrenzeller offers an overview of an institution that is advancing toward new methods of learning.
The recent announcement of a new learning center — which has moved from concept to blueprints to a concrete foundation — embodies the idea of preparing students for a world where industry-specific knowledge will interface with a digital future that includes artificial intelligence (AI), big data and the use of smart technologies. This building will be a place that seeks to integrate digital learning and will experiment with the very notion of learning itself, developing new and innovative formats, and it will challenge the way information is presented. As Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft stated, “Every company is now a software company.” The spirit of this statement guides St. Gallen into the future.
St. Gallen was the first business school in Europe, perhaps globally, that required students enrolled in traditional business programs such as finance, management and so on to receive 25% of their degree credits in the humanities. Combining these programs and expanding into new digital fields is the next logical step.
Linking schools of thought
A new school of computer science, opened in 2020, offers students courses in five disciplines that include AI, machine learning and cybersecurity. They seek not only to advance their own field of study, but will also search for joint and interdisciplinary opportunities to cooperate with other institutes at University of St. Gallen was also the first university in Switzerland to acquire a NVIDIA DGX-2, one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.
Other new degree programs include a medical master’s program in collaboration with the University of Zurich, which does not seek to simply train future doctors but will provide business training, management and leadership courses to medical students, who will need much more than a medical degree to meet the future challenges in medicine.
From insight to impact
Sustainability has also become a part of University of St. Gallen’s DNA. The Institute for the Economy and the Environment has taken this topic and made sure that it isn’t just a theoretical subject that can round out a student’s portfolio. It has made strides to make sure that St. Gallen sets an example in both what it teaches and how University of St. Gallen implements environmentally conscious changes.
“In the European Business School Ranking 2020, St. Gallen received seventh place, the highest-rated university in Switzerland and the German-speaking world.”
St. Gallen is a signatory to the Global Universities and Colleges Climate Letter, has joined United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s “race towards zero” and created a Climate Solutions Taskforce to enact these global environmental goals on campus. St. Gallen is considered by the Financial Times (FT) as one of the top three European business schools in sustainability and the 2021 FT Global MBA ranking placed St. Gallen as the 8th best program in terms of corporate social responsibility.
University of St. Gallen’s annual Impact Awards recognize scholarship that has a profound effect on society. A St. Gallen study on the effects of oil spills in Nigeria on neo-natal deaths inspired organizations such as Amnesty International to look at the issue more closely and caused a media frenzy big enough to force the Nigerian government to change the way it deals with oil spills. Other subjects recognized with Impact Awards include topics such as business model innovation for the circular economy and designs for a blockchain-based insurance structure.
Global reputation and influence
Throughout the course of the year, the FT publishes a ranking of business schools and their programs. In the European Business School Ranking 2020, St. Gallen received seventh place, the highest-rated university in Switzerland and the German-speaking world. Looking at global master’s in management programs, the St. Gallen Strategy in International Management program has been recognized as the best global program for ten years consecutively. The Executive School is ranked first in German-speaking Europe and intends to expand its activities. What is more surprising is that St. Gallen is one of the only public schools that consistently receives such high recognition in these rankings.
Recalling that the Great Depression was exacerbated by governments that increased trade tariffs, quotas and other protectionist measures, the Global Trade Alert (GTA) has been an industry leader in ensuring that the international trade ecosystem does not suffer the same fate. The GTA has been published for over ten years and is a constant point of reference for the World Trade Organization and international media including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the BBC.
In November 2020, it was announced that a new nonprofit foundation, the St. Gallen Endowment for Prosperity Through Trade, would be created. This foundation will be home to the GTA and will continue to inform policymakers and to provide insight into the world of global trade.
With the final stages of the St. Gallen Learning Center almost complete — it’s expected to open in 2022 — the blueprints for University of St. Gallen’s move toward digital learning, sustainability and the integration of technology will likely never be finalized… but it will most likely be something that
will continue to be modified and developed as St. Gallen continues to advance toward new methods of learning.
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