10 Break-Out Sessions

  • Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

A Demographic Revolution: Young India Takes Charge (with All India Management Association)
Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, OYO Rooms
Pranjal Sharma (Topic Leader), Economic Analyst, Advisor and Author, India

India is undergoing its economic, technological and demographic transition simultaneously. An old country is becoming youthful and adventurous with the passage of time. Young Indians like OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal are quietly taking charge of Indian ethos by becoming icons of audacious aspirations and tangible proofs of its potential, spawning startups that are becoming most valuable and famous than many legacy companies. How can young revolutionaries find ways to carry the older generation of investors, regulators, workers and consumers with them and what can other economies and founders learn from India’s momentous transition?

Collaborative Advantage Across Generations: Reflecting on the SGS Experience (ISC Alumni)
Former Members of the International Students' Comittee
Christoph Loos (Topic Leader), Chief ­Executive ­Offi­cer, Hilti AG
Vivian Bernet (Topic Leader), Head of the Organising Committe, International Students' Comittee
Watch Here

For over 50 years teams of student have volunteered to organise the St. Gallen Symposium. They have written countless invitations, met thousands of partners, and welcomed some of the most important personalities of their time on stage. Together with former members of the ISC we will reflect on the St. Gallen Symposium experience of cross-generational dialogue and collaboration, the lessons they have learned for their lives and on how the symposium has evolved. This session is organised together with ISC Alumni.

Collective Genius? Cultivating Creativity in the Arts and Beyond
Susan Goldsworthy, Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change, IMD Business School
Gerry Hofstetter, Light Artist & Film Producer Hofstetter Marketing
Javiera Estrada, Artist
Tatjana Rupp (Topic Leader), Member of the International Students' Committee

As the need for innovation is growing, the routinisation of well-structured creative processes within organizations is key for concurrent value creation. Prof. Susan Goldsworthy of IMD, this year's St. Gallen Symposium artist Javiera Estrada and Light Artist Gerry Hofstetter will discuss the role of collaboration in the creative process. Together, and in conversation with the audience, they’ll explore the way collaboration can drive creativity in various organisational contexts, and, on the other hand, the role of introversion and lone contemplation in creating something new.

Connecting Business with Purpose: The Potential of Skills-Based Volunteering
Curdin Duschletta, Head Community Impact Switzerland & Foundations, UBS
Christopher Jarvis, Executive Director, RWInstitute
Prof. Amanda Shantz (Topic Leader), MBA Director and Professor of Management, University of St.Gallen

Many employee volunteering and giving programs are presented as an employee perk, similar to casual Fridays or a team-building event. But treating workplace giving and volunteering this way fails to fully capitalise on the great potential of such programs: to foster employee personal growth, and address key societal challenges. The panel will particularly explore the potential of skills-based volunteering, its benefits, and the unique challenges that arise when moving from merely transactional volunteering to something far more transformative.

Financing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Patrick Zhong, Founding Managing Partner, M31 Capital
Makram Azar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Full Circle Capital
Prof. Julia Binder (Topic Leader), Professor of Sustainable Innovation and Business Transformation, IMD Business School

The investment landscape over the next twenty years will be radically different from previous generations. While there appears to be greater access to capital, there also appears to be much more volatility and debt with no clear dominant financing mechanism. Entrepreneurs, VC, Private Equity, and banks will have to find new ways to work together to create growth and stimulate innovation. How can investors and entrepreneurs better collaborate and find mutually beneficial agreements that balance risk and return?

Hacking the Fashion & Luxury Watchmaking Industry towards more Sustainability (with Condé Nast College)
Martina Bonnier, Editor-In-Chief, Vogue Scandinavia
Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO, Omega S.A
Carmen Jenny, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CLOTHESfriends AG
Johannes Reponen (Topic Leader), Director of Post-Graduate Programmes; Academic Affairs; Research & Knowledge Exchange, Condé Nast College

The fashion industry accounts for 10% of humanity’s annual carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. For long, the fashion and luxury watchmaking industry drove, together with the fashion media industry, unsustainable dynamics in the sector: generating more and more demand through an artificial cycle of new collections and seasonal trends. Businesses’ marketing, media as well as influencers thereby create a constant longing and demand for their products. How can designers, fashion houses and publishers exit this vicious cycle and, collaboratively, drive the transition towards more sustainable and ethical fashion and luxury watchmaking?

M100 Sanssouci Colloquium@St. Gallen: Media’s New Power: More Impact Through Collaborative Journalism
Mathias Müller von Blumencron, Journalist, Member of the Board, Tagesanzeiger and Advisory Board Member M100 Sanssouci Colloquium
Joanna Krawczyk, Chairwoman, Leading European Newspaper Alliance
Paul Radu, Investigative Journalist, Co-Founder OCCRP
Astrid Frohloff (Topic Leader), TV Presenter and Journalist, Advisory Board Member M100 Sanssouci Colloquium

Media diversity, freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Europe are currently under threat. Journalists and independent media companies are increasingly joining forces across borders to respond to such challenges as well as to be able to continue to offer independent quality journalism in the future. This session will identify learnings from new media partnerships such as the Leading European Newspaper Alliance (LENA) and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to identify how media can most effectively work together.

Democratizing Access to the next Generation of Technology and Innovation: Communities and Radical Transformation
Gina Loften, Member of the Board of Trustees, TIAA
Luzius Meisser, Chairman, Bitcoin Suisse
Tycho Onnasch, General Manager, Trust Machines
Shuo Chen (Topic Leader), General Partner, IOVC

Technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key drivers of the modern economy and social mobility. Given their importance, we should strive to improve accessibility to tech, education and entrepreneurship across all backgrounds. Creating open and inclusive communities, especially with tech is important to accomplishing this goal, but it is easier said that done. Simultaneously, a third iteration of the internet – Web3 – has the potential to radically transform the internet of things and reduce barriers to access. How can these forces be effectively harnessed and directed for the benefit of all people and move the world forward?

Varieties of Tech Capitalism: Europe's Approach to Innovation and Regulation in a Global Context
Julian Teicke, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, wefox
Lisa-Marie Fassl, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Female Founders
Christoph Keese (Topic Leader), Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, hy

Over the past decades, the tech sector, especially the internet of things, has become a central component of modern economies. Trying to catch up with the exponential pace of technological development, the US, China, and Europe are crafting rules of the game on digital markets. What are the emerging characteristic differences between regulatory regimes of digital markets, in the US, Europe and beyond, and how do they balance innovation and regulation? In light of strategic competition over tech dominance between the US and China, what are the opportunities and challenges for Europe in particular?

Changed for Good? Engaging with the New World of Work
Petra von Strombeck, Chief Executive Officer, New Work SE
Jean-Christophe Deslarzes, Chair of the Board, Adecco Group
Nat Ware, Founder & CEO Forte
Prof. Heike Bruch (Topic Leader), Director, Institute for Leadership and Human Resources Management, University of St. Gallen
Watch Here

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world of work forever. The fast and widespread adoption of remote work and an ever-increasing concern of employees with purpose and meaning on their job have intensified the war for talents. Reaching out to and concurrently engaging employees is key for businesses across sectors and regions. What learnings can be drawn from the pandemic as regards our approach to work? Has the world of work changed for the better? And what role does leadership culture and a new approach to hiring play going forward?

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Excellence Scholarship

The St. Gallen Symposium brings together current decision-makers with emerging talents from around the world, to foster leadership with the next generation in mind. In this very spirit, the St. Gallen Symposium partners with the University of St. Gallen, to enable one annual Excellence Scholarship of one Bachelor student for their excellent academic achievements during the HSG assessment level. Enrolled students of the University of St.Gallen with an outstanding academic performance in the HSG Assessment Year are identified by the Advice Center for Study Funding and invited to apply for such.

The Excellence Scholarship is awarded in the name of our speakers, who in recent years have included Justin Trudeau, Satya Nadella and Oleksandra Matviichuk. Moving away from traditional speaker gifts, the St. Gallen Symposium funds the Excellence Scholarship in the name of such outstanding personalities, recognising their contribution for the next generation.

More about HSG funds & excellence scholarships

An interview with our latest
Excellence Scholarship Winner

St. Gallen Symposium Excellence Scholarship was, in the first place, an incredible honor for me. It is a vote of confidence in my potential and skills, which gave me motivation to move toward new highs and achievements. It is evidence for me that as long as you try hard, there is nothing that could be impossible. I am extremely thankful to St. Gallen Symposium for empowering me to further pursue my dreams and excel in my academic journey. This scholarship provided support in shaping my future and boosting my confidence in my abilities. Receiving this scholarship was a symbol for me that I am on the right path toward new successes and building a better future. Finally, I appreciate the chance to be part of a network of outstanding students and to benefit from the many opportunities offered by St. Gallen Symposium. I am determined to make a positive contribution to the further success of St. Gallen Symposium through my achievements and my work. I look forward to the upcoming challenges and opportunities that will arise as part of the Excellence Scholarship.

Our whole life is based on dialogue, through which we try to better understand not only others but also ourselves. Intergenerational dialogue has become one of the most important types of discourse nowadays. Frequently we think that such a dialogue should help the older generation, who grew up in a completely different time, to better understand and adapt to the world of transition we are living in right now. I believe that generational dialogue is essential and even indispensable first of all for the young, since the older generation has seen two worlds: one where technology was a scientific fantasy and messages were transmitted on paper and the new one, where innovation has radically changed our lives. We, on the other hand, only know and can navigate in one world, which also makes us more vulnerable. This is also the reason why learning about the experience of older generations has played a big role in my understanding of the reality that I live in. The wisdom and knowledge that was shared with me became a turning point in my perception of the world, emotions, and people around me. It helped me realize that all the technology at our disposal should be used to improve and develop human capacities and not to replace them like it was the case with real communication. Unfortunately, technological advancements sometimes, on the contrary, often distance us from what is naturally human, making our lives easier but not necessarily happier.

The mindset, that only ceaseless and undeliberate consumption of resources provided on our planet, can lead us towards a bright new future, became the universal truth in almost all spheres of our lives. I believe that the most critical idea of the phrase “striving for more or thriving with less” is that many may underestimate the meaning of “thriving” being attracted by “for more”. If we take a look at the meaning of the word “thriving”, we can easily find out that, in the first place, it means “characterized by success or prosperity”. Now it becomes evident that being successful and making the best out of life is not possible just with “more”, but more importantly, with “less”. For me, the greatest problem of scarcity is that many people overlook the importance of building a better world with less consumption of resources, being blended by “for more”. In this regard, the solution would be to realize that we have been living for many years under a delusion of the idea that “more” always means better, greater, higher. However, in reality, we have all this time been talking about quantity and not quality. Even looking from the perspective of the economy, having more machines does not mean that your firm will operate more productively. At some point the productivity will even fall, since there will be too many machines that are excessive and thus make the work harder and not simpler. In this regard my suggestion would be, as the first and most imperative step, to acknowledge and understand that we all just as in this phrase have always found “for less” not as appealing as “for more”, completely overlooking “thriving” that should, in my opinion, be the unique criteria of success and prosperity regardless of with more or less.

Since university is not only about studying, I think it is crucial to make the most out of it from all perspectives. It is not just about acquiring theoretical knowledge during the lectures and doing exercises, it is also about our practical skills. No lectures in the world will teach you how to build trust, communicate your ideas persuasively, or demonstrate empathy in a team. All these skills are indispensable in the real world, which is why one should perfect them already at the university. Extracurricular activities such as those offered by St. Gallen Symposium are ideal opportunities to develop such skills. It is not always evident how one should combine these activities with studying. My approach would be to plan ahead, what should be done in terms of extracurricular activities and studying. Having a clear structure will help you to manage your time effectively so that you don’t need to do everything at the last minute and stress about missing the deadline. Secondly, I would suggest choosing wisely the organization you want to join since once it matches your interests and the work genuinely fascinates you, you won’t even consider it as an extracurricular activity but more as a hobby that brings you and other people lots of benefits and joy.

I was particularly fascinated by the St.Gallen Symposium “Young Leaders on Board” which is designed to connect young talents with organizations, where their skills could contribute to the strategic development of the company. I find this initiative particularly inspiring since it is a proactive step towards addressing the gap between experienced professionals and emerging talents by giving future leaders the much-needed support and opportunity to identify and nurture their talents and potential. This reflects the forward-thinking approach of anticipating the future which will be led by young, innovative and enthusiastic individuals who are keen to try out new ideas and approaches. Furthermore, drawing from a diverse and global talent pool reflects the rich scope of perspectives and experiences brought to the table. This initiative goes beyond the conventional leadership development programs. It engages actively with companies, addressing their specific needs and finding candidates that would be a perfect fit. I believe that this ongoing support contributes to the cultivation of leaders who are not only capable but also conscious of the broader impact of their decisions on the future of organizations and the world.

One of the main topics during the last two St. Gallen Symposiums were sustainability and technological transformation. In this regard, I think that it would be very interesting to hear from people who are trying to develop technological solutions to combat the climate crisis. I believe that it would provide valuable insights into how one can combine these two areas in the future to use technological transformation to the advantage of our environment. One idea would be to invite individuals who work, for example, in geoengineering and are looking for solutions, on how to use technology to slow global warming.

Despite the prevailing opinion that student engagement is all about personal growth, it is actually an integral part of the overall academic success at the university. In the first place, such engagement is an extremely powerful instrument to drive social-emotional intelligence, a greater sense of responsibility, negotiation skills and much more. All of this lays the foundation of constructive learning and working behavior that stands in good stead for the university and beyond. It is a valuable experience that demonstrates that one can make a positive and meaningful impact beyond the curricular achievements. Furthermore, student engagement is a perfect chance to meet new people who share the same interests as you, which makes it even more rewarding, since you are able to witness tangible results of your actions as a group and celebrate your successes together. I think the best way to describe student engagement would be to compare it with the nourishment of your interpersonal skills, while studies themselves are nurturing your brain and one cannot survive without the other. That is, student engagement is indispensable to reach higher heights both professionally and personally. In this regard, I would highly suggest taking advantage of the variety of student engagement opportunities at the HSG starting from student organizations up to a wide variety of projects and programs that one can take part in, in order to grow not only academically but also personally and emotionally.