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    My CEMS exchange in the Swiss Alps

    Dear all,

    in the next few chapters you can gain some insights into my exchange term at the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland.

    Earlier expectations and the Blockseminar

    My previous expectations about the University of St. Gallen were really high: The university was ranked this year as the first university at the “Masters in Management” ranking of the Financial Times. Therefore I’ve expected an intense workload with motivated and talented students from the top business universities.

    I have seen already during the Blockseminar that my expectations were correct: The university challenged the CEMS students to get familiar with the topic “Sustainability and Corporate Strategy” with the help of corporate partners and professors from different universities. Although we had social programs every evening it was really common that we continued to work on our case solutions also after the evening programs. As a result of that at the end of the seminar we delivered complex case presentations to the E.ON Inhouse Consulting GmbH., but we also got to know our CEMS classmates for the autumn semester.


    First day of the Bockseminar: Hiking in the Swiss Alps

    CEMS Courses and Academic life

    The CEMS courses at the University of St. Gallen take place in blocks, this means we don’t have an exact schedule for the whole semester, sometimes we have courses almost every day, but sometimes our whole week is free. All of the classes are held throughout the whole day, which can be sometimes really exhausting. The reason for this unusual timetable is that most of the professors are from other highly ranked universities and therefore they cannot fly to St. Gallen every week. J The advantage of this system is that you can plan your semester in advance and you can travel more flexible, but this also means that sometimes all of your deadlines are on the same week from different courses, which can be really though. Considering the courses, they are really intense, the professors expect active participation and we have a lot of group works at every course. I really like this because I can learn a lot from my classmates coming from the top universities (LSE, HEC, Bocconi, ESADE..).

    My courses are mostly with a focus on general management (Management of Strategic Customers, Management between Strategy and Finance, Changes in global business), but beside these courses they offer a wide range of finance courses, as well. In addition to these the professors try to improve the quality of the courses with interesting guest lectures and also with some outdoor workshops. Our Skill Seminar about Personal Performance Management was for example in a ski resort in the Swiss Alps.


    Just a usual Swiss Skill Seminar

    Social activities

    I really like my CEMS group, I think all of them are really open and intelligent persons and we have a lot of fun together during the semester. We have social events on a weekly basis: We organized a trip to Milan, we had bowling night, beer rally, running dinner and running drinks and we are planning a Cems Farewell Weekend in the Alps, in December. St. Gallen is a small city, but this has also some advantages: It brings the Cems student more closely to each other and you can be sure that you will meet some Cemsies in the city every time.


    Bowling Night

    master grad

    Master Graduation Party

    To sum up I would recommend the University of St. Gallen to every future Cemsie, because beside the fact that sometimes you have to work really hard and you have to be active in lot of group works, you will have also enough time for socializing. In addition to this St. Gallen is a really lovely Swiss town, with full of students, therefore it is a perfect place for your exchange term. However it is important to know that the life is expensive here and there is also a lack of Erasmus subsidy, although the university will cover a certain amount of the expenses with its own scholarships.

    I hope my short summary was useful for you and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!


    Contact the author: Fehér Renáta at renata.feher@cemsmail.org