Earn an international executive MBA while working as an expat in Switzerland

Earn an international executive MBA while working as an expat in Switzerland

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The Rochester-Bern Executive MBA is a great way to combine work and studies, says Prof. Dr. Petra Joerg, the Managing Director of Rochester-Bern. [Contributed by Rochester-Bern Executive Programs]

Many expatriates like to combine work and studies while staying in a foreign country. It is of utmost importance that they find an educational programme offering them an internationally acknowledged degree, an interesting network of local and international participants, as well as the right contents and a format allowing them to combine job and studies. 

When Novartis offered Juhyung from Seoul a job in Switzerland, he didn’t have to think twice.  Working for headquarters was a huge chance for him professionally. Moreover, he and his wife liked the prospect of working and living in Europe for a while.

The plan turned out well. Both, Juhyung and his wife were integrated successfully into the workforce of Novartis in Basel and made friends easily. However, two years after moving to Switzerland, Juhyung began to think about his professional future. He knew that his family would eventually want to go back to Korea, especially because of his new-born son. But before doing so, he wanted to benefit from his time in Europe, not just professionally but also education-wise. Being an engineer from origin, he wanted to broaden his horizon by doing an executive MBA programme in general management.

Rochester Bern

Searching for the right EMBA programme

So, Juhyung started to look around for an international executive MBA programme that he could do while still living and working in Switzerland and that would offer him both a European and a U.S. degree.  Moreover, it was important to him that the programme had a good reputation in quantitative disciplines (e.g. finance or economics), that he could attend it besides his full-time job, and that he would meet interesting international participants, allowing him to expand his network to other countries than just Switzerland.  And, being an expatriate, English as a course language was a must, of course.

He was thrilled when he was accepted for the Rochester-Bern Executive MBA programme, a joint venture between the University of Rochester in the United States and the University of Berne in Switzerland. By the time he joined the programme, the cooperation between the two universities had lasted for almost 15 years already and the programme had established an excellent reputation both in Switzerland and the world. Part of that reputation was based on the fact that the U.S. partner had been fully accredited by AACSB since 1966 and had been ranked among the top 10 business schools in finance and economics in the specialty rankings by Financial Times for several years in a row. 

Key learnings from the programme

During his studies, Juhyung got to know not only the most important tools of general management but also the mind-set of successful leaders. ‘Today, I take my decisions no longer with a good gut feeling, but based on economic, financial, and social considerations,’ he says.  Moreover, he can discuss at eye-level with the experts in his company coming for example from finance, marketing, or human resources and knows how to lead his team to its best performance.  ‘The programme has broadened my horizon since I was able to apply course contents directly to my work life,’ he states. Moreover, he found great value in studying with international faculty and classmates.

Despite the excitement for his new second area of expertise, Juhyung would not want to miss his engineering background. It would be good to know both worlds, he points out. ‘I enjoy bringing new ideas into the company and being able to question existing processes,’ he says. The suggestions he makes today are based on both his experiences as an engineer and his knowledge from EMBA classes and discussions with his classmates from all kinds of industries. ‘Before the Rochester-Bern Executive MBA programme, I would not have thought about many of these ideas,’ he says. The additional degree has also impacted his career: Since earlier this year, Juhyung is back in Seoul, working in a general management position for a U.S.-based pharma company.


Studying while abroad can change your career

Many expatriates want to use their time abroad in the best way possible. An international part-time executive MBA can be the right choice for them: despite joining a demanding further educational programme, they do not have to give up on a successful career; moreover, they demonstrate their ability to perform under pressure to their company and develop a – potentially important – second professional leg as well as a valuable network of colleagues in their own and other industries – in Switzerland and all over the world.  All this can lead to more responsible jobs within the own or at some point another company.

Some facts about the Rochester-Bern Executive MBA


The program begins in January and takes 18 months. Courses are held biweekly on Fridays and Saturdays in Switzerland. The part-time format of the program is designed for executives who do not want to interrupt a successful career and need a schedule which is compatible with their business responsibilities. All courses are taught in English.


The general management program provides a holistic understanding of all aspects of business and the interconnections between them; courses are well-integrated and grounded in economic principles. Throughout the program, participants develop their personality and leadership skills.


Most courses of the Rochester-Bern Executive MBA are held in Thun (Switzerland). During the summer of the first year, there is an intense four-week summer session at the Simon School in Rochester (USA), followed by an optional one-week trip to Silicon Valley. In the spring of the second year a study week in Shanghai (China) completes the curriculum.


Rochester-Bern builds on an open architecture and works with outstanding professors from well-known Business Schools world-wide who combine impressive achievements in academia with extensive business experience and didactic excellence.

Application and support

Applications shall be handed-in until end of November at the latest. Early applications benefit from a discount of CHF 5,000. All forms as well as detailed information about the programme can be found on the webpage www.rochester-bern.ch.  In case you want to discuss your educational needs with our admission team, please drop an email to info@rochester-bern.ch.  We will be happy to support you.


The Rochester-Bern Executive Programs is a Swiss foundation offering high-quality international further education to executives and companies from all over the world. More information on Rochester-Bern Executive Programs can be found on www.rochester-bern.ch.

Contributed by Rochester-Bern Executive Programs
Earn an international executive MBA while working as an expat in Switzerland 



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