On Land and Sea: Executive Leadership Lessons from Spain

Wednesday, January 8, 2020TOPICS: Leadership

USD master's in executive leadership students on a sailboat in the Mediterranean Sea
begin quoteLearning while sailing on the Mediterranean sea was an inspiring adventure that taught us a lot about ourselves and intensified the MSEL learning experience.

Each fall, professionals in USD's master’s in executive leadership (MSEL) program embark on a week-long trip to Spain for a class on leadership and culture in a global context. Not only does the close-knit cohort get to experience the USD Madrid Center and learn valuable lessons in leadership on an international scale, but they also take in the joys of Spain -- from sampling tapas in Madrid and tasting authentic paella in Valencia to guided city tours and a visit to the famed Prado Museum with insights from an art historian.

Throughout the course, students engage in a set of cross-cultural learning dynamics that apply essential global leadership skills and challenge them to learn how to lead in times of uncertainty and ambiguity. 

The highlight of the study abroad trip is a hands-on sailing activity in the Mediterranean Sea,” said Professor of Management Jaime Gomez, who has been leading the class and activity for several years. “In this immersive experience, MSEL students integrate effective teams and work together to race sailboats in a regatta through Spain’s Costa Blanca, off the coast of Valencia.” 

During the sailing competition, students apply rapid design capabilities and put their cross-cultural communication skills to the test. “Learning while sailing on the Mediterranean sea was an inspiring adventure that taught us a lot about ourselves and intensified the MSEL learning experience,” said current student Kathryn Wells.

While in Spain, students also get to hear from local executives and professors who participate as guest lecturers to bring a cross-cultural perspective to the leadership lessons taught in this course. These presentations give students the opportunity to enrich their global learning with insights from Spanish academia and corporate industries. Last fall, lecturers included Mr. Santiago Martin, general director of DASCA Group and Dr. Alexis Banon Gomis.

The Master’s in Executive Leadership at USD provides an absolutely unique, transformative experience for emerging leaders and executives who are poised to enhance their leadership skills, impact their organizations, transform their lives and change the world for the better. The program’s study abroad trip to Spain places students in an environment that allows them to learn about global leadership first-hand and put their skills to the test, all while taking in Madrid’s cosmopolitan culture and Valencia’s coastal scenery. 


Renata Ramirez
(619) 260-4658