Our Curriculum

The SIM curriculum unites the best of both worlds. It combines the research-based, academic rigour of a Master of Arts with the interactive nature and practice-oriented approach present in leading MBA programmes. It reflects the confidence we have in our students' abilities and potential.


Students must successfully complete a course load of 90 ECTS, including a master's thesis and an international internship to graduate with a M.A. HSG in Strategy and International Management.


Students need to fulfill the following requirements:

  • 5 SIM Core Courses (20 ECTS)

  • 1 of 2 SIM Advanced Management Courses (4 ECTS)

  • 2 of 6 SIM Integratives (8 ECTS)

  • The SIMagination Challenge (4 ECTS)

  • The SIM International Project (SIM-IP) (6 ECTS)

  • Electives (12 ECTS)

  • Contextual Studies (18 ECTS)

  • Master's Thesis (18 ECTS)

Duration: 1.5 years / 3 semesters (full-time)

Credits: 90 ECTS

The small class size allows us to use diverse learning methods to help you acquire knowledge and develop the skills you need to become a successful business manager and leader.


Field trips and guest speakers

Depending on the nature of the course, field trips to different companies may be organized. Several business experts from leading corporations visit classes to share their experiences and insights.


Skill building workshops and seminars

Students have the opportunity to attend various company presentations and workshops. The SIM also offers seminars and workshops in collaboration with fellow HSG programmes, SIM corporate partners, the Career & Corporate Services, and the alumni network.


Intensive individual research

Students are required to undertake an intensive individual research in the form of a Masters' Thesis on the topic of their choice, subject to approval from the faculty. In this era of information, business leaders need to be able to collect, analyse and interpret data to make better decisions.



Student assessments are partly individual and partly group-based. The individual element may include formal exams, case write-ups, evaluation of academic articles, take-home exams and so on. Group elements may include group presentations and group papers. Exams are either central or decentral. Central examinations take place on pre-determined dates while decentral exams take place during scheduled lecture times during the semester. 

The compulsory integrative week "SIM Start Professional" takes place at the beginning of September (calendar week 36), before the start of the programme in calendar week 38.

The management-related topics dealt with in the individual seminars will prepare you for your studies in Strategy and International Management.

The SIM Core Courses build on your bachelor's level classes and provide a thorough grounding in business and general management. You will develop core knowledge and skills, and also learn to establish interconnection between various aspects of management.

The SIM Core Courses (20 ECTS) are compulsory and should all be taken in the first year of the SIM programme. It is not possible to waive or substitute these courses with other courses taken either at the University of St.Gallen or at another university during an exchange semester.






Financial Management



International Management



Strategic Leadership



Strategic Management



Research in Management



The SIM Core Electives consist of  Advanced Management Courses and Integratives. The Advanced Management Courses are taught in the spring semester while the Integratives are taught in the autumn and spring semesters. 


SIM Advanced Management Courses (4 ECTS)

SIM students must choose one of the Advanced Management Courses, these courses deepen and advance your knowledge in the functional areas of management.

Course ECTS Term 
Strategic Marketing 4 Spring
Strategy for Sustainability                                                                         4 Spring


SIM Integratives (8 ECTS)

These courses provide students with specialized knowledge in different areas of interest. Students are required to take two SIM Integratives.

SIM in Practice is an essential curricular pillar that complements theoretical knowledge learned in class with practical experience in the real world.


The SIMagination Challenge (4 ECTS)

The SIMagination Challenge is a core course of the Master of Arts in Strategy and International Management (SIM-HSG) and intends to enable the participants to develop key leadership qualities, competencies and skills. Students are required to independently plan, execute and reflect upon a challenging international project which aims at leaving a positive and sustainable social impact in our society. More information on the concept and the international initiatives can be found on the SIMagination Challenge website.

SIM International Project (6 ECTS) 

A SIM International Project (short: SIM-IP) is a mandatory international internship. This requirement allows our students to equip themselves with necessary skills and experience to manage complex problems in international settings prior to graduation. The SIM students independently plan, initiate and successfully conduct the internship. Upon completion, the student needs to reflect upon the project on the basis of completed SIM coursework.

Electives are courses from other master's programmes of the University of St.Gallen that are available to you in order to complement your core studies with further business courses.


You will find a detailed course catalogue of the current and past semesters in our course directory under "Programmes", "Master" and "Master of Arts in Strategy and International Management".

Contextual Studies are a unique and distinguishing feature of the course architecture at the University of St.Gallen. They convey insights and competences that make a difference in the economy, the society and the politics of the twenty-first century.


Areas of Concentration

The areas of concentration bundle together course offerings from the Humanities and Social Sciences with a clear reference to themes from the core subjects, connecting elements of theory and practice. The following areas of concentration are offered: History, Society, Creativity, Cultures, Media, Law, Technologies, Responsibility – and a so-called Open Area. You have three possible ways of taking areas of concentration in the framework of Contextual Studies. Firstly, you may freely select from the entire course offerings; secondly, you may place a thematic focus in one of the areas of concentration by choosing all courses from one area; or thirdly, you may complete this thematic focus by means of an interdisciplinary workshop.



With regard to success in both studies and careers, practical capabilities, competences or skills form an essential part of academic training. This is why Contextual Studies also offer a range of courses in Skills, consistently focused on conveying and supporting practical competences. This is where course offerings in digital literacy in particular belong (acquiring programming languages and so on), but also courses on rhetorical techniques, writing skills, the management of negotiations, time management, the methodological foundations of research, and other practically orientated capabilities.



You will find a detailed course catalogue of the current and past semesters in our course directory under "Programmes", "Master" and "Master of Arts in Strategy and International Management".

The University of St.Gallen partners with over 200 universities around the world to offer a vast range of outstanding double degree and exchange opportunities.


Exclusive SIM-MBA Double Degrees

INCAE Business School, Costa Rica

Nanyang Business School, Singapore


HSG Double Degrees

ESADE, Spain

RSM Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands

HEC Paris, France


CEMS, International


Exchange Semesters

In addition to exchange opportunities at the official partner universities, you may arrange a free-mover exchange at other recognised universities.



For more detailed information, check our Study Abroad webpage.