University of St. Gallen - Strategy and International Management
With changing times, young graduates are often very keen to get onto a management track early in their careers, and don’t wish to wait for 4-5 years of working to complete their graduate level management education. While in the past there wasn’t much choice in the matter, today the opportunities for younger candidates have multiplied exponentially, with the rise in importance and recognition of the Masters in Management programs!
There are many facets of the MiM degree which distinguish it from the traditional MBA (to know more, read our MiM 101 article here!), including the fact that the top schools globally for both programs can differ quite drastically. In the FT rankings for MiM programs, many schools across Europe have been competing and trying to rise higher, but there has been one undisputed leader that has ranked first for the past 10 years! So today we look at the Strategy and International Management (SIM) program at the University Of St. Gallen Switzerland; arguably the best MiM program in the world.
The Strategy and International Management (SIM) program was started quite recently in 2004, making its rise in prominence even more impressive. Despite its popularity, the program retains an incredibly small class size, with the latest cohort having only 57 students. Having a class of this size allows students to know and interact with each other very well, as well as have better faculty: student ratios.
Even though the class size is small, there is absolutely no lack in diversity. An amazing 27 nationalities are represented by the 57 current students, which showcases the global talent the program attracts every year. The average age of the class is 23 years, and the program length is 1.5 years.
The program application window is October to April 1st. Compared to the heavy expenditure involved with most graduate programs, the SIM is also incredibly affordable, with tuition of 3,329 CHF (c. 3,080 EUR) per semester, coming up to a total of approximately 9,300 EUR for the entire program.
Academics and curriculum
The SIM program at St Gallen is 3 semesters long, covering a wide array of core and elective courses, research, and various practical and international experiences.
The five compulsory core courses are Financial Management, Strategic Management, International Management, Strategic Leadership, and Research in Management, beyond which they must also complete one advanced management course between Marketing and Consumer Behaviour and Organizational Behaviour and Change.
There is also a clear focus on application, highlighted by one of the key components of the SIM program; the SIMagination Challenge. It requires students to plan and execute a challenging international project which aims at leaving a positive and sustainable social impact in our society. Beyond this, there is also the SIM International Project, which is a mandatory international internship. The programs also gives students the opportunity to apply for various double degree and exchange programs with top global business schools, giving them the chance to gain even more value from their studies!
While every business schools gives a weighted importance to the different components of a student’s application, very few offer the clear transparency that St Gallen does.
After meeting the minimum undergraduate criteria, the admission committee looks at five key components, as described below:
GMAT/GRE Score: If a student opts for the GMAT they are assessed on the basis of their total score whereas on the GRE, both the Verbal and Quantitative scores are considered. The GMAT/GRE scores counts for 20% of a student’s application.
Average grade: An applicant’s average grade during their undergraduate studies is a key consideration. It also counts for 20% of the application.
Work experience and extra-curricular activities: Any internships or full time work experience, along with college activities, social efforts, exchange programs etc. contribute a further 20% of the application. Students are required to give two contacts as references, one of whom is a professional one. The second contact would be an academic referee.
Essay: Applicants are required to write one essay as a part of their application which contributes 10% of the application. The essay must be between 600-800 words. The essay topic for the 2021 intake is very contextual: “In the face of massive global challenges ‐ growing social injustice, accelerating climate change, political upheaval, rapid technological disruption and a fast‐spreading virus claiming thousands of lives and causing severe damage ‐ liberalism is once again being debated. At its core lies the freedom of the individual and what the corresponding values mean to us all. What does freedom mean to you?”