For women with a university degree or advanced technical college degree who desire to return to the workforce or reposition themselves after a longer hiatus. You are updated on the latest concepts and models for the most relevant management topics. One of the advantages of the programme are the group and individual coaching sessions as well as the skills workshops. Each participant's individual change process is supported by a professional coach. Several renowned Swiss companies offer various returnships.
Women Back to Business (in English)
For Women on the Move
- are motivated to start something new.
- have a university degree.
- took a career hiatus due to family duties.
- would like to return to the workforce in a n international environment.
- would like to use their time in Switzerland to get a certificate from a well-known university.
- feel more comfortable participating in the English programme.
Our aim is to help women succeed professionally, in particular women who desire to return to the workforce, to reposition themselves on the job market, or to take on more sophisticated tasks with a higher workload.
You will get a professional education and support during your personal change process:
- You will be updated on the latest concepts and models for the most relevant management topics and will develop a deep understanding for the current challenges.
- Your appeal for potential employers will increase.
- You will receive professional support for your career transition through individual and group coaching sessions, with the opportunity for conscious reflection on how to meet new challenges.
- You will widen your professional network with managers in leadership positions as well as with women who find themselves in a similar position as yours.
- The programme is structured in separate modules, enabling you to integrate it smoothly into your family's schedule.
- Our partner companies ensure that course content is closely related to practice and guarantee early contacts to potential employers.
- Flexible and individualized solutions (structure/schedule) are available.
Participants must have a degree from a university or advanced technical college, or in some exceptional cases upon approval, an equivalent educational certificate.
The program is structured in modules that total 21 class days spread out over a 12-month period. Course preparation and follow-up work will require an approximately equal amount of time. The internship will last a minimum of 5 days, and time must also be allotted for the development of a final paper and preparation. Participants will earn a total of 21 ECTS points. One ECTS point is equivalent to 30 hours of course work.
Flexible and individualized solutions are provided as well.
The modules take place onsite at the partner companies as well as at the University of St. Gallen or in surrounding seminar hotels.
Content & Faculty
Kick Off Seminar and General Management (Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander, Patricia Widmer, Dr. Lüder Tockenbürger)
During the first half-day you will get to know each other and clarify your expectations as well as the general learning objectives. In the afternoon and on the second day you will discuss the basic challenges and questions of managing a complex organization on the basis of the new St. Gallen Management Model.
- What are the most important principles of management?
- How to deal with complexity and uncertainty in an organization?
- Why do we need a management model and how can it be used?
- How to cope with different processes on a strategic as well as operational level?
- How to apply the principles of management for organizational development?
- How are strategic management, organizational development, change management and process management linked together?
Economics and Law (Prof. Dr. Monika Bütler, Dr. Bruno Mascello)
This module is subdivided into two half-days. During one half of the day you will get an overview of the Swiss economy and labor market. Social security and taxation in Switzerland will be discussed as well.
The other half-day provides you with some insight into the Swiss labor law. In particular, employment and other contracts, obligations (e.g. salary, work, liability), termination, settlement, maternity and gender equality will be addressed.
Strategy/International Management (Prof Dr. Winfried Ruigrok)
The first day deals with the question: What is strategy in general? You will learn how to develop and implement a strategy. During the second day the discussion will be about international strategy and cross-cultural management.
- What does strategy mean?
- What are the differences between corporate strategy, competitive strategy and international strategy?
- What are the biggest challenges in mergers & acquisitions?
- What is an international market entry?
- What are the challenges in cross-cultural Management?
Groupcoaching (Various Coaches)
The two days of group coaching will be subdivided into two single days with a group of 4 to 5 participants. The coaching is dedicated to your individual interests, strengths, resources and goals. They are full of discovery and clarification. The group coaching will help you identify the focus of your career development. You will look into your own areas of competence, motivations, and values. While doing an inventory of your resources you will reflect on how to use them successfully and where you might need to acquire new ones.
- What do I expect of my professional future and what am I willing to give?
- Which of my resources will help me to advance in my career?
- Which skills do I lack and how can I develop them?
- How do I cope with barriers and what are my next steps?
Skills Workshop (Dr. Mike Widmer, Kathrin Puhann)
During the two days of the skills workshop you will get very practical tips and tricks regarding your application process as well as on how to write your CV. In addition, you will practice some tricky interview questions during a mock interview which will be analyzed afterwards. Furthermore, self-branding and your elevator pitch as well as your profile on social media will be discussed.
Another topic will be storytelling and how to come up with a great strategy when planning your presentation.
The two days of workshop will be subdivided into 4 half days and will have a very hands-on approach.
Marketing (Dr. Verena Ehrler)
You will get an update on core concepts of modern marketing management which will enable you to develop a customer-centric marketing strategy. This includes the analysis of customer needs, identification of competitor strengths and weaknesses and development of a strategic marketing plan. The module will also touch on the topic of changing marketing practices, including the role of online business.
- Get an overview on the definition, tools and objectives of marketing in general.
- Learn to identify a company's market, its marketing environment and its position within the market.
- Identify a company's marketing opportunities; use the tools of market segmentation and market segment targeting.
- Understand how a company's strategy is translated into successful marketing activities.
- Understand the impact of digitalisation and new information technologies on changing marketing practices.
Human Resources and Leadership (Prof. Dr. Antoinette Weibel, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Zwygart)
You will learn the most current theories in positive Human Resource Management (HRM) and how HRM should react to new challenges in the working environment. The topic of leadership will be discussed from the perspective of leading self, others and the organization.
- How can HR contribute to employee engagement and happiness?
- What is the secret to positive teamwork? What roles do HR and Leadership play?
- Which concepts and instruments stand out in training and development?
Project Management (Dr. Raimundo Sierra)
To lead projects professionally and efficiently is an increasing necessity for all companies. You will learn about tools and instruments for successfully managing projects and how to keep them from getting lost in the daily business.
- What is integrated project management comprehension?
- How does a project work in its embedded organization?
- What is your role as a project manager: leadership and management?
- How do I generate successful project management processes?
Controlling (Dr. Thorsten Truijens)
During this module you will get an update on the most current tools and instruments in controlling and finance such as balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements and financial key performance indicators.
- What are the most important financial data used to analyse company performance?
- How to interpret financial data?
- How are financial key performance indicators (KPI) linked to the business model?
Final Module/Case Study (Prof. Dr. Gudrun Sander, Prof. Dr. Winfried Ruigrok)
You will apply current management instruments and deepen managerial connections by working as a team on a case study. During this module your team will present the results that you have elaborated together.
- How can we apply the different instruments and models which we have learned in the modules towards solving the case study?
- How can we work efficiently as a team?
In addition to the team presentation, you will write an individual essay based on the team work and result from the case study. The presentation together with the essay will be the basis to evaluate if you have passed the course and are eligible to receive the certificate.
Internship/ Project Assignment
Part of the qualification to receive the certificate will be an internship or project assignment of a minimum of five days. This could be with a partner company, collaboration partner or with an organization of your choice.
How to apply
Please submit the following documents for your application:
- Completed application form
- CV (with education and professional experience as well as a brief description of your current situation)
- Personal motivation for attending the program
- Diplomas or transcripts
Partner companies get an exclusive access to a new talent pool of skilled women and qualified leaders:
- Through internships and other meetings, have the chance to get to know potential candidates and their strengths
- Comparatively low priced recruitment opportunities
- Image building for the company
- To make a contribution to an important socio-political and economic issue
Women Back to Business (ES-WBB) alumna honored with award
We are very pleased to announce that our former participant Oxana Ochsner is one of the recipients of the Women's Business Award. Ten women were honored on the occasion of the annual Women's Business Conference organized by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in November 2015. Oxana received an award for her successful career comeback and has been working for Raiffeisen Schweiz (one of our partner companies) since her return to the workforce.
Executive education at the University of St.Gallen (HSG), one of Europe's leading business universities, provides you with an optimal preparation for the future. The University of St.Gallen is more than just an educational institution; it is a place of inspiration that stimulates you to think. You will acquire up-to-date knowledge that is of great practical relvance, and gain valuable insights. This will enable you to make an important contribution to social and economic progress and to your own personal development. "From insight to impact" is not just our message; it is a promise against which we can be measured.