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Andy Schmidt Seismic

SHULU’s podcast series “WeCare” with Andy Schmidt (Seismic)

Hello everyone and welcome to the third episode of « WeCare », Sacred Heart University Luxembourg’s podcast series :

Here we will speak with SHULU Alumni & Students to learn about their unique stories and their experience in our program.

For 30 years, SHULU has worked to educate business professionals in Luxembourg through a thoughtfully designed curriculum taught by engaged and experienced faculty and practitioners.
We care deeply about providing valuable educational opportunities. We care about our students. We care about our graduates. And, we care about you!

Andy Schmidt, 44 years old, is the co-founder and COO of Seismic. With over 20 years of experience, Andy helps organisations achieve their strategic objectives and supports the growth and development of world class, values-led organisations. Andy has an MBA in Strategic Management in International Business from the Sacred Heart University Luxembourg, as well as a Master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations from The George Washington University.

In this episode of the « WeCare » podcast series, he shares with us his journey and in particular how the Sacred Heart University part-time MB benefited his career.

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg Networking Event

SHULU Networking Event October 2021

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg hosted a networking event in collaboration with International Dual Career Network (IDCN).

The real tips & tricks of networking were shared by our amazing speakers and enlightened the audience on the ways to develop their network. A special thanks to Esther Celosse LL.M., Shannon Tutko, and Monika Singh for an interactive and informative session, and Van Ossel-Leclercq Erica for moderating the event.

We thank all the participants for making this in-person event successful. We would love to include each one of you to our ever growing network as we believe in the Power of Networking.

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg Networking Event

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg Networking Event

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg Networking Event

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg Networking Event

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg Networking Event

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg Networking Event

Sacred Heart University Sustainability Platform

Sacred Heart University launches sustainability platform

On Saturday, 9 October, Sacred Heart University Luxembourg (SHU) launched its newest project–the “Sustainability in Action” Leadership Platform–at the KlimaExpo in the presence of economy minister Franz Fayot.

A holistic approach to sustainability

The platform–which hopes to enable participants to “think differently” and creatively. It includes on-site academic courses and a new postgraduate Certificate in Sustainability and Social Impact.

The online Mini-MBeA SHU offers is accessible to anyone, all over the world. Professor Marcus Mueller, who oversees the programme, reckons that the mini-MBeA will attract more executives, as the format offers “a good handle on the complexity of sustainability” in all aspects of business.

Unlike other existing sustainability programmes in Luxembourg and abroad, the SHU platform approaches the challenges of today and tomorrow in a holistic way, he said speaking to Delano ahead of the launch. “We are building bridges between theory and practice, across disciplines, across generations present and future, across stakeholders–governments, industries, consumers–and we bridge the gap between Luxembourg and the world.”

By sharing their tools–such as building self-confidence and encouraging creative thinking–and showing their application on the whole value chain of a business, Sustainability in Action aims to give its students the knowledge needed to become “ambassadors of change” in their current or future organisations.

The selection of candidates will also play an important part in the programme: there needs to be “diversity in terms of seniority, gender, disciplines, industries,” to incite enriching and transformative interactions, Muller said.

A shift in mentalities

“The business models will change–they have to. Those who want to proactively change now will be the winners, and those who just wait for regulation to happen–they will die,” said Mueller.

The current way of approaching climate change by solely “creating fear, offering island solutions and controlling carbon footprints,” is not going to help the world, he said. Fear eventually begets the numbness of citizens, whereas stimulating the participants of the programme to be communicative and creative will provide solutions that can be implemented in industries later on.

Through the classes, supported and taught by both local and international partners, such as B Lab or Luxinnovation, among many others, the programme aims to use the tools those organisations have already proven to be applicable, and introduce them into Luxembourg’s wider ecosystem (for graduates of the certificate) and international organisations (for graduates of the mini-MBeA).

Changing angles

Though Mueller acknowledges the importance of cutting carbon emissions and implementing new restrictions on industries, he believes that only coming up with new ideas, technologies and innovative solutions that “bring profit” will have a big enough impact. Only economically viable ideas that are also sustainable will interest larger industries and governments, he said.

“There is still a lot of resistance at the executive levels,” said Mueller. “The next generation needs people in the second and third level to plant the seed and show the people of the organisation” how to approach and adopt the change in mentality.

And so, through the launching of their new leadership platform, Sacred Heart University Luxembourg aims to cut fearmongering from the agenda and provide new tools to its participants to confidently approach not just the “Why?” of climate change and the economy but also mainly the “How?” of creating sustainable businesses.

Dr Marcus Mueller

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg creates new sustainability program

Because sustainable development is something that companies increasingly find they must not only reckon with but espouse, many professionals now realise they require training and development to get up to speed as to how business, sustainability, and the environment interact.

Last weekend marked the inauguration of a new graduate-level program from Sacred Heart University Luxembourg that will give students a clear overview of some of the most pertinent intersections of sustainability and business. The inauguration was introduced by Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot at KlimaExpo 2021, which took place from October 9-11 at LuxExpo the Box.

The Sustainability in Action Leadership Platform is a natural extension of the central role that care plays in the university’s mission, explains Dr Marcus Muller, the Department of Management professor who has overseen its creation. The program is unique in the world, he says, as there are very few graduate-level business programs that focus on sustainability. Those that do exist tend to have a global outlook and lack a strong connection to the local business community.

“The Sustainability in Action Leadership Platform is a combination of international and local content and expertise. The program will work closely with local partners such as Luxinnovation, +ImpaKT, and Seismic.”

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg has been building up a strong base for this program. For several years, the university has been incorporating sustainability topics into graduate courses such as finance or accounting. Later, they began offering entire courses on how the corporate world and the transition to a more circular economy are increasingly connected.

“The program is highly flexible and allows students to combine content to suit their needs. The goal is to provide a wide view of sustainability while making sure that newly acquired competencies are applicable to the outside world. Students prepare an action plan they bring to their activity outside of class, whether that is their jobs or their private lives.”

Because of the broad overview of the material, the collaborative nature of the platform, and the ability of students to choose courses that match their needs, the program has a wide range of utility.

“Everyone from young professionals, executives, to government officials can benefit. We build a foundation enabling people to find their own way. We truly see ourselves as a platform where students also learn from each other and are not subjected to top-down lectures.”

Interested parties can already register for courses or the certificate program since the university offers rolling enrollment. Only the online mini MBeA (Master in Benefit Administration), will officially be launched in quarter 2022

Because teamwork and learning from other students, most of whom come from diverse professional and geographical backgrounds, are central to the program, students often stay connected long after they have completed their work at Sacred Heart University Luxembourg, says Dr Muller.

“We have a very strong network of alumni all around the world. We do care and keep caring about these people who are willing to drive impactful change through education”

SHULU MBA Experience Back to Nature

The SHULU EMBA Experience: Back to Nature

Article written by Johanna Sorrentino, SHULU EMBA Student.

Seven Executive MBA students laid on the ground in the middle of a forest in Luxembourg tasked with doing…absolutely nothing. It’s not the average assignment for a graduate business degree—long hours poring over financial statements and management best practices are more typical.

And while these students have experienced plenty of that in their program at Sacred Heart University Luxembourg (SHULU), on this particular Saturday they received a different type of lesson. Because, as it turns out, this is not your average EMBA program.

Laying in the forest, they were learning to access one of the most effective sources of professional and personal resilience available: Nature.

Escorting the students through this forest experience was Julie Schadeck, a certified guide from the L’Université dans la Nature. She took the students on a tour of what happens to the senses in a natural environment, quoting literature, scientific research, and the most convincing data set of all—personal experience.

“It was simple stuff I was not doing for 20 years. I do gardening, but you don’t go to the forest to smell earth. It was a trip to childhood with all these smells,” said SHULU EMBA student Raffaella Vaccaroli.

Smell was the sense that Vaccaroli said she connected with most, and she especially remembered the reference to dirt as “the new Prozac”. Indeed, Schadeck provided scientific research to suggest that the smell of certain soil bacteria can activate serotonin-releasing neurons in the brain. “I am very scientific, so the fact that she was explaining and building up with literature made me believe in the power of this activity,” Vaccaroli said.

To demonstrate the sense of hearing, Schadeck brought forth scientific research comparing the superior hearing ability of people living in natural environments with those living in cities. She also explained that complete silence is nearly impossible, and even natural silence—without manmade sounds—is only found in a few places places around the world.

For the sense of sight, Schadeck highlighted studies that explained how our brains are more evolved to perceive the level of input seen in nature than in cities, pointing to the repeated patterns found in the ferns that brushed against the student’s legs. “The geometry of the leaves is really meditative,” Vaccaroli said.

Schadeck also offered exercises which invited students to experience the power that nature has on the human body. She demonstrated the power of touch by inviting students to take off their shoes and socks and walk barefoot through the forest.

It was a step out of the comfort zone for SHULU EMBA student Stefano Pozzi Mucelli. “I was thinking about broken glass, and what would happen if I started bleeding in the forest,” he said. Then, he realized that there was an insect walking on his foot, something that would normally bother him, but “it felt natural to have that animal walking on my foot, and I realized how disconnected from nature we are.”

Walking barefoot allowed SHLU EMBA student Abhilash Sharma to reconnect with his own childhood experience back in India. He recalled his grandfather, a doctor, instructing him to walk barefoot in the grass every day for his health. “These are traditional Indian practices which can be seen in the countryside. It looks like we have come too far away from it, but experiences like this help us get back to our roots,” he said.

Vaccaroli said the most challenging exercise for her was finding an area in the forest to be alone and do nothing for ten whole minutes. “At the beginning it was a little uncomfortable. I was a little like, ‘What am I going to do for 10 minutes’.” But in her time “doing nothing”, Vaccaroli she said she realized how calm she felt and how essential this is for concentration and productivity. “It helps you and your stability.”

These students said they walked out of the forest with an appreciation for how nature could bring them and those around them a greater sense of peace and resilience.

And research has shown that resilience is a powerful tool for leaders. Numerous studies have described “grit” a key success factor for leaders and their organizations. As author Dean Becker noted in a 2002 Harvard Business Review article, “More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, its true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.”

Vaccaroli agreed. “You can be a super private equity person, but if you forget this work-life balance part you will have a breakdown.”

For Sharma, the greatest take away was a renewed commitment to pass down the health traditions his grandfather taught him to his daughter. “I would love to do more of that with my daughter. I have made up my mind that if I move into a different house, it will be closer to nature where I can do some gardening activities with my daughter. For weekends, instead of staying at home I must take her out,” he said. “It was an asset what our grandparents provided us. We should treasure it and give us to our new generations.”

Giving personal enrichment opportunities like this to his team members was Pozzi Mucelli’s take away. “If I’m thinking about having a team building day, I’d like to offer it to colleagues so it can give something to them, as well.”

What started as a simple walk in the forest with their fellow students became a unique learning experience—by getting closer to nature, they were actually getting closer to themselves. “This is the kind of experience every professional needs for the right work balance,” Sharma concluded.

Bhanu Joshi

Sense of Belongingness – Bhanu Joshi

Sacred Heart University Luxembourg believes in creating empowering leaders and instil high sense of belongingness.

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