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Wharton Lifelong Learning Trek

Leadership Seminar Trek in the Swiss Alps for graduates of Wharton’s Advanced Management, Advanced Finance and General Management Programs

Sponsored and Arranged by Wharton Lifelong Learning, Executive Education, and Alumni Relations
Led by Rodrigo Jordan and Michael Useem


Leadership is a capacity that draws on all aspects of yourself and your organization. Developing a vision, articulating it, and inspiring others to achieve it requires not only careful analysis and technical knowledge but also a sense for what is important for the organization and for the people in and around it. Mastering these abilities is a lifelong endeavor. A unique combination of learning and trekking, the Leadership Seminar Trek is an extraordinary educational opportunity to develop and strengthen your leadership skills and capacities, cross-train your mind, and reflect on your leadership with others who share the same concerns as you hike together through the spectacular peaks and pinnacles of the Swiss Alps.

Images of mountains resonate deeply in cultures around the world; they are symbols of patience and strength, effort and inspiration. Mountain climbers, like the mountains they climb, hold a central place in modern business and society, a paradigm for how individuals striving for a goal can achieve what others label impossible. Reaching a summit, however, is usually far more than a personal achievement, for it almost always depends on collective effort, with the contribution of each required for the success of all. Through readings, case studies, discussions, and experiential exercises on the trail, the program uses mountains, mountaineering, and trekking as powerful cross-cultural metaphors to expand and deepen our understanding of leadership and teamwork.

We focus on leadership throughout the trek through daily seminars, exercises, and reading assignments. It is essential that you have a strong interest in leadership and its development, and are willing to actively engage in the leadership activities and discussions during the trek, and you will need to be in good physical condition for vigorous hiking over five days.

Above the Swiss village of Zermatt rises the most spectacular peak in the Alps — the Matterhorn, with its distinctive shape of a sharply attenuated pyramid of rock and ice. From a base in Zermatt, we will trek up through alpine meadows brimming with flowers to the base of the famous mountain and to neighboring villages and high points with views of the second highest peak in the Alps, Monte Rosa, at more than 15,000 feet high. The story of the first ascent of the Matterhorn, one of the most famous in the history of mountaineering, along with accounts of other well-known climbs in the Alps, will provide ample material for leadership lessons and discussions.

“I would strongly encourage my fellow Wharton AMP alumni to consider the Leadership Seminar Trek for three reasons: the place, people, and professors.

Few places on earth rival the natural beauty of the Swiss Alps. Each day the different alpine trails that you’ll take will provide a completely different perspective of the Matterhorn and its foreboding beauty.

In this majestic setting, you’ll be part of an intimate group of AMP alumni whose own unique leadership backgrounds provide a sophisticated sounding board for your ideas and leadership challenges. From this experience you’ll forge bonds of friendship that will last a lifetime.

Finally, the opportunity to spend an entire week in the company of world-renowned educators — Dr. Mike Useem and Dr. Rodrigo Jordan — transform what would otherwise be an amazing expedition with friends into a life-changing leadership challenge. Together, Mike and Rodrigo's unique approaches will help you explore your next leadership challenge from an entirely new perspective.

Prior to the trip, you’ll be asked to identify the next major leadership challenge that you are facing in your career. As you carry that challenge through the alpine trails with the benefit of Wharton camaraderie, by the end of the week you will enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you’ve charted a path to overcome that particular challenge that is your own personal Matterhorn.”

Robert J. Knorr III
G’96, WAM’15, LPS’16
Attendee, Leadership Seminar Trek in the Swiss Alps – Summer 2018

Rodrigo Jordan

Rodrigo Jordan

Rodrigo Jordan is a senior fellow at the Leadership Center of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and he is founder and executive vice president of Vertical SA, an organization based in Chile devoted to experiential education worldwide. With a PhD from Oxford University, Rodrigo is author of Leadership: From Theory to Practice; he is a film maker and has served as a TV anchor, he directs programs on leadership and high performing teams in Chile and the U.S. he is an experienced mountaineer, having organized Chile’s first successful climb of K2 and having himself reaching the summit of Mt. Everest by three separate routes, most recently via the north ridge in 2016.

Mike Useem

Mike Useem

Mike Useem is professor of Management and director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. With a PhD from Harvard University, his university teaching includes MBA and Executive-MBA courses on leadership and change, and he offers programs on leadership and governance in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He is the author of The Leader’s Checklist, The Leadership Moment, and Investor Capitalism; co-author of The India Way, Boards That Lead, and Leadership Dispatches; and co-editor and co-author of Upward Bound: Nine Original Accounts of How Business Leaders Reached Their Summits.

Special Instructor and Trek Partner

Deborah Lewis

Deborah Lewis

Trek Partner Bredeson Outdoor Adventures, led by Deborah Lewis, is arranging land logistics for the trek including hikes. Deborah is the founder of Bredeson Outdoor Adventures, a boutique adventure travel company with expertise in custom and public active outdoor cultural tours in North and South America and Europe. She has more than 30 years of experience leading outdoor adventures.

Cancellation terms:

  • >90 days prior to the trip: participant will be charged $500/person
  • 90–61 days prior to the trip start: participant will be charged 30% of the trip price
  • 60–46 days prior to the trip start: participant will be charged 50% of the trip price
  • 45–0 days prior to the trip start: participant will be charged 100% of the trip price
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The 2019 trek is postponed. New 2020 date to be announced shortly.

If you have any questions please email:
[email protected]