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University of Exeter Business School

Leadership Skills Expedition

Module titleLeadership Skills Expedition
Module codeMBAM947B
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Hannes Leroy (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

1 day

7 days

Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

While some leadership knowledge is discovered in the classroom, research suggests that it takes confrontation, action and reflection to update the skills and behavioural patterns that help or hinder us in our leadership.  The outdoor environment offers you all of that and is a great environment to accelerate the leadership development that otherwise takes years to grow.  It should therefore come as no surprise that some call the outdoor setting the petri-dish of leadership development: stripped from modern comforts and distractions, behavioural patterns are put under a microscope and the outdoor environment offers sufficient opportunities (contemplation, coaching, safe experimentation) to update those patterns                                                      

Internationalisation: This module will be taught in a country other than the UK, and therefore directly engages you with the study of leadership in a different country context.

External Engagement: working with seasoned experts in outdoor leadership development.

Employability: You will develop a number of valuable transferable skills, including: self-awareness, cultural awareness, influencing, communication, leadership and the capacity for personal reflection on strengths, values, competencies and experience. You will also develop a number of career management skills; observed behavioural patterns and translation to work practice.

Where required the expedition leaders will look to organise the expedition in a way to allow accessibility for students with a disability.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module objectives centres around a Personalised Leadership Trajectory (where every student is unique):

  • Awareness of your leadership challenges: Students start the module with a 360 assessment on the five main components (confidence, competence, compassion, courage and character) and start the trajectory with a clear plan on how you intend to develop each of these.  Throughout the trajectory there are ample opportunities for peer feedback and personal coaching for you to hone in on those areas you want to work on.
  • Skill development to improve your leadership styles: Understanding your challenges, you and instructors go on to create natural outdoor challenges that you need to development most.  These challenges are all related to your capacity to lead effectively inside and outside of the outdoor setting.
  • Build a strong leadership identity and corresponding narrative: Having understood, worked through your personal challenges and updated your leadership toolbox, the modules places strong emphasis on your existing strengths that you bring to the table.  We see these strengths as the rough diamond (the unique, authentic way in which all of us have the capacity to lead) that this course intents to help sharpen (by polishing the rough, challenging edges). 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. recognise personal leadership challenges through self-reflection from the MBA programme;
  • 2. evaluate experience of leading a team and coaching team members in a challenging (but safe) environment;
  • 3. give examples of new leadership skills and techniques acquired, built on critical feedback.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. evaluate leadership theory in a practical context.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. demonstrate skills in self-reflection;
  • 6. demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills;
  • 7. demonstrate cognitive skills of critical and reflective thinking;
  • 8. describe effective working relationships as part of multi-cultural groups in complex, uncertain and unfamiliar contexts.

Syllabus plan

Teaching for this module is very hand-on, because every person and every outdoor challenge is unique, there is little in terms of scandalised format in which challenges present themselves, ensuring safety first and foremost we work together with BOLD Wilderness Expeditions (Beyond Outdoor Leadership Development). These experts take care of logistics and ensure safety on site and commit to having at least one outdoor specialist per 5 participants to ensure safety.

  • Personal Challenges: Teams and instructors have a goal to go from point A to point B through relative uncharted terrain.  While the goal is important to provide energy and create a context for learning, it is not the primary reason.  The challenges gradually increase in difficulty, based on agreement between you and the instructor. Each evening there will be an opportunity to debrief the day’s events and lessons learned and discuss challenges for the next day.
  • Leading yourself and others: You will receive ample opportunity to lead, follow and share leadership.  Throughout the module instructors will increasingly distances themselves from the actual goal to instead focus on coaching and supporting your personal growth.  You will not only be coached but will receive the skills to coach each other.  These coaching skills are an effective ingredient to the capacity to lead effectively: first you learn how to lead, second you learn how to follow, third you learn how to share leadership and fourth you learn how to coach others to lead themselves.
  • Mindfulness: A final ingredient of the module is mindfulness.  Instructors will gradually introduce you to the basics principles of this technique.

NB: All participants will be required to complete a health questionnaire.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities35Trekking, facilitated group discussions and coaching sessions
Pre-expedition workshop and preparation 7Group discussions with expedition leaders
Guided independent study58Reading, research, writing

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Debrief and observations of each day of trek1 hour per day2 & 5Oral feedback
Complete a 360 survey (pre-trek)Online survey1Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Pre expedition case submission - Challenge (Individual)351,500 words 1-8Written feedback
Post expedition case submission – Challenge and Solution (individual)351,500 words 1-8Written feedback
In Course Progress & legacy speech (oral)305 minutes1-8Verbal feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Pre and post expedition challenge & solution (70%)3,500 word individual assignment (100%)1-18Within 6 weeks of original submission

Re-assessment notes

The new assignment will have a brief which is materially different to the original assignment.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Key words search

Leadership identity; leadership development; challenges; trekking; coaching; compassion; mindfulness

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date