EMBA UZH in San Francisco – Learning Expedition USA part 2 Tech Giants, Stanford and the Valley lifestyle

After 3 exciting days in San Francisco and San Jose the EMBA UZH participants started day 4 in Palo Alto, home to Stanford University, the Hewlett Packard garage, which marks the birthplace of Silicon Valley and the first Facebook office – at that time still called “The Face Book”. Module leader Dr. Tamara Carleton started with illustrating and exploring innovation with the 4 horizons and using this concept to transform organizations.

Then Professor Manish Saggar from the Brain Dynamics Lab at Stanford University illustrated the Neuroscience of creativity. Manish used cutting edge research to explain how these findings can be used to engage and lead teams and create an environment where creative solutions surface.

After lunch, award winning writer and scholar Alex Soojung-Kim Pang shared his insights into the 4 day week and how this shortened work week can energize an organization and society as a whole.

Then the EMBA group was joined by a panel of undergraduate students from Stanford University to learn about the motivations and mindset of GenZ. The students are enrolled in different undergraduate programs at Stanford and engage in a variety of extra-curricular activities exemplary of Stanford students, like setting up a Venture Capital Fund with USD 45Mio AUM, being picked by Fortune Magazine as one of “30 under 30”, bringing to market and commercialising NFTs, setting-up trading companies with USD 200Mio turnover or setting up a video chatting platform that is being funded by a VC. EMBA UZH participant Sandro Tobler, VP, Global Operations at Huber&Suhner said “To see the commitment and ambitions of these students was a humbling experience – they are aware of their privilege to study at Stanford and are using all the opportunities available to them to not just advance their careers, but also have real impact.” Thank you David Song, Andrew Hwang, Elvis Zhang, Connor Hogan, Michelle Schwartzman and Sophia Dew – you were an inspiration.

The afternoon was spent exploring Stanford Campus, learning about research centers and student life on campus and the impact Stanford University has on the innovation eco system in the bay area.  Wolfgang Tracht, COO of LGT Bank (Switzerland) said “It is fascinating to see how innovation and entrepreneurial spirit spin in and out of Stanford University to create global businesses”. The day concluded with a relaxed al-fresco dinner at “Local Union 271”, downtown Palo Alto and a birthday celebration for EMBA participant David Stienne.

Friday marked the last day of the program and started with a presentation from Sarfaz Nawaz from J&J illustrating how the supply chain has been digitally transformed. Then the group took a short stroll to the b8ta shop, a high street shop where prototypes and novel items first see the light of day and where customer interaction with these devices is monitored and informs further development. Then Dan Roskowski, Director of Service Excellence at Stanford Health Care shared how he used user centric design methods like Design Thinking to significantly increase the patient experience.

In a workshop led by Tamara Carleton, the afternoon was spent exploring the myths around Silicon Valley and how participants now can use the learnings to build their own innovation networks. This sent the EMBA participants off with a rich set of impressions, learnings and experiences in Silicon Valley and a start of an understanding about what makes this area so special. A big thank you to all our guests, facilitators, hosts and to our organizers Gert Christen and module leader Dr. Tamara Carleton. A big thank you also to our EMBA participants, who embraced this extraordinary learning opportunity and made this expedition possible.

The Learning Expedition to Silicon Valley and San Francisco is part of a set of immersive learning expeditions to the innovation centers Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Boston/Yale and Switzerland – all embedded in the stimulating, academic curriculum of the Executive MBA UZH.

To find out more about the Executive MBA UZH and explore the opportunities that embarking on the EMBA may bring you join us on the online Info Event on 26.1.2022 where you can meet faculty, students and alumni and find out for yourself if this is a great next step for you.




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