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Berkeley Summer Abroad

Geneva, Switzerland: Business Innovation for Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Positive Impact - SUSPENDED

  • Summary


    Explore the relationship between business needs and social concerns in Geneva, a hub of multinational companies, government, and NGOs concerned with global trade, human rights, sustainability, and social impact. Offered through the Haas School of Business, this is one of the most comprehensive Berkeley undergrad business sustainability and corporate social responsibility offerings at Berkeley.

    Visit the UN, meet with high-level business executives, and NGO representatives to learn first-hand how the guiding value of sustainability is changing business models around the world.

    The course is highly immersive, with visits to:

    • Executives from major corporations like Procter and Gamble, Nestle, and Danone
    • Representatives from international governmental organizations such as the International Labour Organization, the UN, The World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development
    • Members of foundations and traditional NGOs.

    Switzerland in the summer is unsurpassed for its beauty, and summer in Geneva features a nonstop slate of free concerts, outdoor movies, and other lakeside festivals and events. Our central location also offers easy access to the Alps, France, and the rest of Europe.

    Dates: June 16 – July 22, 2020
    All dates are subject to change.

    Units: 6 units

    Language of Instruction: English


    • UGBA 193i: Business Innovation for Sustainability, Social Responsibility, and Positive Impact

    Please note: Students should not take other online courses concurrent with this program.


    • Students will live in a student dormitory in Geneva.
    • The program fee generally does not include meals. There will be some meals provided on some treks and other occasions, and snacks are very often available in the classroom. Housing includes shared kitchen facilities and cooking/dinner clubs, picnics, and the student cafeterias are recommended.
    • Students will be housed in single rooms. If you have clarifying questions, please feel free to reach out to the program staff.


    • At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    • Completed one college-level economics course (or the equivalent)
    • 2.0 GPA or higher


    • Application opens February 3, 2020
    • Space is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    • Deadline to apply is March 15, 2020

  • Courses

    During the program, students will take 1 course for a total of 6 Berkeley units.


    • UGBA 193i: Business Innovation for Sustainability, Social Responsibility, and Positive Impact (6 units)

    As corporations have grown in influence, concerns over their impact on people and the planet have also grown – pushing sustainability, social responsibility, and the wider impact of business into the spotlight. Yet business is also a source of economic growth, innovation, and positive impact. The Aspen Institute points out that “The intersection of business needs and wider societal concerns... is a critical part of a contemporary business because, without an understanding of this interdependency, neither business nor the society in which it operates can thrive.” This course explores the relationship and interdependency between business needs and wider social concerns by looking at issues of sustainability, labor, stakeholder responsibility and broader community impact from both a business and societal perspective.

    Since we are interested in action and transformation, the course will also introduce specific tools and strategies for change and impact – such as human-centered design, problem framing, certification and assessment, NGO engagement, etc.  

    Class time emphasizes both project-based work and student participation. But the program is highly immersive and experiential, providing a chance to meet with executives from major Corporations, NGOs, and IGOs. This is accomplished through a combination of guest lecturers, external visits to offices around Geneva, and treks to other parts of Switzerland. Previous visits have included meeting the global head of sustainability at Procter and Gamble’s European headquarters, the head of Corporate Affairs at Nestle in Vevey, sessions at the WTO, ILO, and   UN, traveling to Bern to visit the Swiss Energy Institute, touring a Nespresso plant, Novartis and Syngenta discussions in Basel, and Q&A sessions with the Managing Directors at the World Business Council on Sustainable Development.

    Past participants consider the program both transformational and providing balance and illumination to their other Berkeley coursework.  

    A sample syllabus, slideshow, and other Geneva information can be found at


  • Costs

    Tuition and Program Fee

    The fees to participate in this program are broken down into 1) tuition and 2) program fees, which are applied to your student billing account as follows:

    2020 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition (6 units) $2,514 $3,300
    Program Fee $2,920 $2,920
    Total Cost $5,434 $6,220

    Fees are subject to change. All non-UC Berkeley students must pay an additional Document Management Fee of $60.


    Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses

    In addition to the fees outlined above, Berkeley Study Abroad has estimated costs for out-of-pocket expenses. These amounts are used to calculate financial aid packages for eligible students. Actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.

    2020 Estimated Expenses  Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $2,200
    Additional Meals $1,161
    Books $218
    Personal Expenses (i.e., phone, passport, visas, etc.) $570
    Total Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses $4,149


    Financial Aid

    Financial aid is available for UC Berkeley students who are enrolled in at least 6 units during the summer. All other students should contact the financial aid office at their home institution for more information.


    Explanation of Fees

    Tuition is based on a per-unit cost:

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $419 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    The program fee includes the following items:

    • Student housing and some meals
    • Excursions around Geneva
    • On-site orientation activities including an introduction to Switzerland
    • Travel insurance to cover accident/sickness medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, security extraction, and other travel assistance services
    • Other program-related costs including fees for tour guides, guest lecturers, classroom space, etc.
    • The $400 deposit. If accepted to the program, the $400 deposit is non-refundable and will be applied towards your program fee. If you are waitlisted or denied admission to the program, your deposit will be refunded. Please note that for continuing UC Berkeley students, the deposit will be charged to your CalCentral account at the time you apply. Financial aid eligible students can wait until their summer aid is disbursed to pay the deposit.

    Please note that the list of items included in the program fee is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.

    The following items are excluded from the program fee:

    • International airfare
    • Personal expenses (souvenirs, routine medical expenses, toiletries, etc.)
    • Course materials (textbooks and readers)
    • Other travel expenses (passport, visa, etc.)
    • Additional meals
    • Commuting costs for daily travel to and from classes


  • Timeline
    Application opens February 3, 2020
    Application closes March 15, 2020
    Applicants notified of selection March 20, 2020
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit April 3, 2020
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    Arrive in Geneva June 16, 2020
    Last day of program July 22, 2020

    * These events take place on the UC Berkeley campus. If you are not on campus during this time, we will schedule a meeting via phone or Skype.

    † Students are expected to check into program housing on June 16, 2020, and will be expected to check out of program housing on July 22, 2020. Students who arrive in-country early or depart after the last day may do so, but they are responsible for arranging their own accommodations outside of the program dates.

    All dates are subject to change.

  • Instructors

    Dave Rochlin
    Program Director

    Dave has been at the University of California, Berkeley since 2010, and is both a professional faculty member and Executive Director of Applied Innovation programs at the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business. In addition to the Geneva program, he developed and teaches the popular applied innovation project course, co-teaches a cohort-wide mid-program academic review course, and several other courses at Haas. As an instructor, he's been a multiple "club six" member, and a campus-wide faculty teaching fellow. Outside of Haas, he's an organizational consultant and social entrepreneur, focused on market-based approaches to social/environmental issues including deforestation, climate change, corporate social responsibility, sustainable business, and ethical globalization. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and author of the textbook "Hunter or Hunted: Technology, Innovation, and Competitive Strategy" (Thomson/Cengage 2006). Dave earned his MBA (with distinction) at the JL Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern and his B.S. from the Haas School at the University of California, Berkeley.