Lifelong Learning Trek

Leadership Seminar Trek in the Swiss Alps

July 15-21, 2018

For Graduates of the Wharton Advanced Management Program


Sponsored and Arranged by Wharton Lifelong Learning, Executive Education, and Alumni Relations

Led by Rodrigo Jordan and Michael Useem

Registration is now open; please email if you have any questions.

Purpose: 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 require 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.

Location: 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. Our itinerary may include a night in a high mountain refuge overlooking beautiful glaciers and alpine vistas. 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.


Trek Leaders

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 Ph.D. 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.; and he 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
 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 Ph.D. 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 ChecklistThe Leadership Moment, and Investor Capitalism, co-author of The India WayBoards 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 Instructors and Trek Partners

Ed Bernbaum has been a co-designer and co-leader of our Leadership Seminar Treks to the Himalayas and the Alps. The recipient of a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, he is a lecturer and authority on mountains as sources of inspiration and meaning. Peak Paradigms, his program of lectures and seminars, draws lessons from celebrated mountains around the world, including Mt. Everest, Mt. Fuji, and Mt. Sinai. He has directed programs on the inspirational value of mountain environments working with U.S. National Parks including Yosemite and Mount Rainier. His award-winning book Sacred Mountains of the World was the basis for an exhibit of his photographs at the Smithsonian Institution and the American Museum of Natural History. Ed is featured in “Beyond the Mountaintops: Extraordinary Mountaineers, Extraordinary People,” an exhibit at the American Mountaineering Museum on eight climbers who have pioneered advances in climbing and humankind, including such people as Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. 

deborah lewis
Trek Partner: 
Bredeson Outdoor Adventures, led by Deborah Lewis, is arranging all land logistics for the trek.  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.