Global Management Practice Course of the Year: Global Leadership

Professor Meir Shemla of the Rotterdam School of Management recently won the CEMS Global Management Practice Course of the Year award for the course Global Leadership. CEMS Global Leadership courses equip students with the knowledge and skills to manage people across borders and within multinational teams, creating culturally savvy individuals that show empathy and can relate to and interact with different cultures.

The Global Leadership Course taught by Professor Meir Shemla has a unique approach that pushes students outside of their comfort zone. The course covers topics across the organization, team, and individual levels with international diversity and internationalization playing a central role in all three. Students were exposed to a variety of guest lectures, leadership simulations, in-class debates, leader interviews, a reflection journey, coaching, live cases, and immersion exercises.

The cornerstone tool of this course is the Cultural Immersion assignment, which addresses personal leadership responsibilities while working with people who are different from them in substantial ways. The assignment started with coaching sessions and tried to answer the questions: 

1. What is the one thing that might hinder you from realizing your potential as a leader? 

2. Which group/context do you feel least comfortable with/most opposed to?  

Students were then asked to immerse themselves in a group that they are most opposed to in terms of values, beliefs, ideology, etc. Before immersing themselves with the chosen group, the students built a concrete plan to help guide their behavior during the immersion period. Following immersion with the target group, students recorded their journey to help them reflect on their patterns of behaviors and thoughts and to test new approaches to improve their interactions with others. This approach, which requires students to show a great deal of vulnerability, helps them think about their own patterns of behaviors and thoughts in order to test new approaches.


“CEMS students are incredibly ambitious, curious, and hard working.  Yet, my CEMS students often underestimate the extent to which they are alike and the difficulties they may face when working with people who have a different set of values, skills and lifestyles. What I have found most useful is to put the students themselves - their lives and personal relationships - at the heart of this course. I have witnessed that by encouraging students to implement the materials in their own lives, forcing them out of their comfort zone, we have truly managed to move the needle. Real development occurs when students face conflicts, dilemmas and discomfort,” says Pr. Shemla.


"On behalf of the CEMS Global Alliance, congratulations to Professor Meir Shemla for this outstanding course! Students attending this course go through an amazing journey. A truly invaluable contribution to their education as future leader!" Nicole de Fontaines, CEMS Executive Director