Business professionals coach each other in small groups - Nordic Leadership Expedition RSM
Business professionals coach each other in small groups - Nordic Leadership Expedition RSM

Leadership, coaching, experiential learning and the wilderness come together in the new, week-long Nordic Leadership Expedition for business professionals, offered by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). Learning outside of an office or classroom will teach participants how to lead more effectively and create an environment in which others – and they – can thrive.

The unique programme, which takes place in Norway, aims to make an impact on participants’ leadership skills, development and confidence – whatever their management level or industry experience. By stepping completely out of ‘normal life’ for seven days without internet and phone access, professionals will develop an awareness of their strengths and limitations as a leader.

Motivation and strategy

The Nordic Leadership Expedition is designed by RSM Executive Education and is led by Dr Hannes Leroy, Scientific Director of the Erasmus Centre for Leadership  “The programme will give people the skills and confidence of character to deal with issues in the moment,” he says. “But beyond that strategic thinking happens, because it’s not just about your own mental state; it’s about the mental state of the whole team – developing strategies to lead over several days – dealing with predicted snowstorms, for example – and making sure everyone is motivated.”

The outdoor challenge is founded on academic research. It is combined with intensive coaching by leadership experts, aimed at developing participants’ deep awareness of their strengths and limitations as leaders.

Nowhere to hide

The intense physical – and sometimes emotional – experience, the natural solitude of the landscape and insight from coaches will enable the professionals to understand their leadership capacities, experiment with taking the lead and learning how to follow, and find ways to improve.

“There’s no place to hide in Norway’s wilderness, so everyone has to face their challenges,” says Verena Ohms, Executive MBA alumna from RSM, who participated in the programme when it was offered as an elective in two of RSM’s MBA programmes.

“Being pushed to my limits helped me discover what kind of person I am and who I want to be. Drawing on this newfound strength has increased my resilience in every area of life. I learned how to stay calm under pressure and keep walking, even when I think I cannot take any more steps.”

Leadership assessment

This is not so much a leadership course, but a leadership assessment, says Malou Kroezen, learning and development manager at RSM. “The journey helps participants evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, grow as a leader and as a person, and go home with a clear action plan on how they want to proceed as a leader.”

Kroezen says the true benefit of this programme lies in the fact that the business professionals spend seven days outdoor in the amazing nature of Norway. “They will be out of their comfort zone and out of reach from busy daily live. Combining this with the intensive coaching, the possibility to experiment and the feedback they will receive during the trip about their leadership style, will give them the opportunity to really let the learnings sink in.”

Boosting resilience

The instructors also lightly point out some basic principles of mindfulness in the programme. “Back in the workplace, in a hectic environment, feelings of mindfulness rooted in the expedition can be used to transport you back and boost your resilience,” said Dr Leroy.

The first run of the executive education programme will take place in Norway from 17-24 August 2019.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at


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