Pedagogical Concept

The Course Setup

Academic Keypoints:

In this 10-month experiential course students are responsible for every aspect of an initiative's conception and realization, and – in constant alignment and feedback loops with the faculty member - thus are in charge of the crucial and highly charged moment when theory meets practice.

Course Objectives:

  • Learn to execute challenging initiatives of transformational nature based on social impact measures, team process and effectiveness, and sustainability considerations.
  • Sharpen one's ability to think strategically and to weigh things taking a long-term perspective, to ensure robust solutions that have a chance to be further developed by other participants in the foreseeable future.
  • Understanding the requirements of shared leadership in a team with a diverse body of members, its impact on human interaction and the necessary competencies and skills to become effective.
  • Critical reflection of own mindsets, attitudes and behaviors, by taking the posture of a true learner within the context of responsible global citizenship and diversity.

Teaching Methods:

Interactive lectures, group projects, team presentations, workshops. Structured feedback is provided throughout the whole course. The course is of explorative and experimental nature by approaching the relevant topic components in a practice mode.The small class size allows us to use diverse learning methods to help students acquire knowledge and develop the skills they need to become sucessful business mangers and leaders.
The course includes field trips and guest speakers, skill building workshops and seminars as well as intensive team and individual reflection.


Student assessments are partly individual and partly group-based.
Their grade is based on

  • an interim team report on initiative details and intended initiative impact;
  • a final team report;
  • an individual reflection paper with focus on reflective learnings.

Educating Future Leaders

The following are the key leadership qualities, competencies and skills that prepare students for challenges in the workplace, as companies expect graduated high-potentials to be able to successfully cope with diverse team situations and increasingly with leadership challenges in a globalized, diverse and complex world.
  • The course allows for insightful experiences in regard to team performance and collaborative decision-making under challenging circumstances throughout the two assigned terms.
  • Participants can explore their strengths and weaknesses and learn about transformation
  • Participants can explore how to cope with ambiguity, revisit habits and assumptions, and challenge own mindsets.
  • Participants can reflect about the kind of leader they would like to become.
  • Participants are confronted with practical challenges outside their comfort zone, that invite them to share learnings and question their own attitudes and behavior.
  • Through the initiatives, students get a chance to sharpen their strategic thinking, execution skills, analytical and problem-solving capacities, as well as have the ability to build impactful solutions that can be sustained and further developed by future student generations.
  • Both on an individual and team level, there are opportunities to consciously reflect on personal effectiveness and start to transfer the learnings into targeted work contexts.
  • The ability to lead effectively while, at the same time, being able to perform well in a team environment has a very strong influence on an individual’s career as well as on an organization’s success. It is frequently underestimated, given the challenge it poses.
  • Smarter and more conscientious future leaders, better attuned to social inequities and more fully equipped to overcome any number of obstacles going forward: Convinced of the tremendous power of professional collaboration—even under stress, within culturally diverse teams, and when much is at stake—SIM graduates come away from their year’s work primed to contribute creative solutions when faced with the sort of complex managerial challenges that characterize today’s global business environment.
  • Team-building skills: fostering cohesiveness and solidarity among members, performing shared leadership, establishing rules, and managing relationships along the way
  • Participants improve personal mastery of how to lead themselves as individuals through challenges and how to perform shared leadership in diverse teams.
  • Participants learn to communicate in spite of language barriers, develop strategies to overcome cultural resistance, and work their way through moral and ethical issues that will inform their thinking for years to come. It is the sort of difficult and immensely rich initiation into complexity for which no amount of classroom learning can provide a substitute.

“The SIMagination Challenge was a very valuable learning journey. It offered me the opportunity to put my passion for venture building to use and build a social travel business that helped improve the lives of children in Cambodia. Most importantly, SIMagination allowed me to grow to my full potential by giving me the chance to live up to a clear purpose and assume responsibility for something bigger than myself.”

Frédéric Herold, SIM 16, Germany
Initiative: Insight Cambodia, Siem Reap, Cambodia