SIM Course: „Exploring Sustainability as Strategic Opportunity“ (2019)

Sustainability has become a key priority for companies across industries and countries. The focus of the SIM course “Exploring Sustainability as Strategic Opportunity” is on how to seize the business opportunities that sustainability offers so that companies can gain a competitive advantage. Led by Barbara Kux, a renowned corporate executive, external board director, and lecturer at University of St. Gallen, and by Florian Überbacher, a senior researcher at University of Zurich and lecturer in St. Gallen, this course enables SIM students to engage in close, project-based collaboration with leading global companies and to develop solutions for the companies’ real-world sustainability issues. Hence, the course explores the business opportunities and challenges that are connected to sustainability issues in a very practical and hands-on way.

Barbara Kux and Florian Überbacher

Barbara Kux and Florian Überbacher

In spring 2019, this SIM course was offered for the sixth time. Four outstanding companies joined the course as partners: Henkel, Roche, UBS, and Zurich. Like in previous years, the seminar was very successful: Students’ evaluations of the course were outstanding. The students genuinely enjoyed the challenge of working closely and intensively on real business cases with these world-leading companies, and they were very inspired and motivated by the opportunity to develop solutions that have real-world impact. The participating companies were also very satisfied with the course experience. They enjoyed the interactions with the ambitious, talented, and internationally diverse SIM students, and they were impressed with the solutions that they developed for their specific strategic issues. Once again, the SIM students managed to clearly exceed the companies’ (already high) expectations.

Overall, our partner-companies offered the following projects for the SIM student teams to work on:

HENKEL is a global leader in laundry and home care, beauty care and adhesive technologies. The SIM students developed solutions in the areas of plastic waste management and recycling in a developing country. (Due to the confidentiality of the results, no information about this project can be published)

ROCHE is a Swiss multinational health-care company. The SIM students developed a communication strategy aimed at convincing Roche’s stakeholders that the use of real world data (RWD) in healthcare is beneficial and sustainable. (Link to original solution proposed by SIM team)

UBS is a Swiss global financial services company. The project proposed to the SIM students focused on exploring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that are materially relevant to UBS and on providing recommendations on how to best report them. (Link to original solution proposed by SIM team)

ZURICH is a leading insurance and financial service company headquartered in Switzerland. In collaboration with Zurich, the SIM students developed sustainable retail insurance solutions. (Link to original solution proposed by SIM team)

Barbara Kux and Florian Überbacher

Group photo with SIM students, lecturers, and company representatives from Henkel, Roche, UBS an Zurich

We look very much forward to the next ‘edition’ of our course in spring 2020. This time again globally leading companies will join us in class. In this way, our students will once more be able to work on key and real-world strategic issues and to learn about sustainability not only in theoretical but in very engaged and practical ways.

Barbara Kux, Florian Überbacher