Leadership Development Expeditions

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Develop your leadership skills through faculty-led adventure expeditions

Through Leadership Development Expedition (LDE) courses, students develop their capacity for leadership and build a deep understanding of their own strengths and contributions as a leader in a high-performing team. LDE courses draw on outdoor experiential education theory and challenge participants to serve as leaders during an adventure expedition. These courses build leadership skills through a combination of rigorous academic inquiry into the nature of leadership, honest self-assessment and reflection, and hands-on experiences in challenging environments.


Who can take Leadership Development Expedition courses?

LDE courses are offered during the Summer term (in July) for all Flex MBA and Full-time MBA students at the Carey Business School. 

CIL also offers LDE courses for practicing leaders and executives in partnership with the Carey Business School’s Office of Executive Education. Learn more below about opportunities to participate in an Executive LDE or about custom executive treks for organizations wishing to develop high potential managers and build a pipeline of strong leaders.

a group of hikers trekking across mountain tundra in Norway

“The program provides a framework for leadership and teamwork through a shared language that allowed a group of strangers–of various ages and physical ability–to get from point A to point B on a timeline, feeling not only emotionally and physically cared for but also with a sense of pride in the individual and team growth.”

Chelsea Heneghan, DNP/MBA candidate ’25
Pediatric Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner at Boston Children's Hospital

LDE Norway

The Norway Leadership Development Expedition course takes place in the mountains of Norway starting from the town of Bergen. Spanning nine days, students will trek through Norway’s famous mountains, traverse glacial fields, and ultimately reach some of the highest points in Scandinavia.

The group will work together as an expedition team to navigate along trails and terrain, moving each day between various Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) cabins and huts. Each individual will be responsible for leading the group through various challenges and working together, at times, literally connected to one another while trekking across the glacier. Throughout the trip, students will focus on enhancing individual and team performance, learn and apply appropriate leadership models, and provide and receive structured feedback. Food and lodging will be in rustic DNT cabins.

Program Costs

  • 2-credit Tuition Fee
  • Course Program Fee (covers all in-country transportation, lodging, meals and activity fees during course dates). Program fees will be listed in SIS for each course.
  • Students are responsible for their own international airfare, pre- and post-course expenses, travel insurance and travel documentation (including a passport and visa)

Physical Demands

This is a physically challenging course which requires approximately 10 miles of hiking each day at a moderate pace. Participants should be in good physical health and able to walk/hike for more than five hours per day with regular rest breaks. However, students do not need any prior mountaineering experience. For students with physical disabilities or needs that might require accommodations, or if you have any questions about the level of physical activity, please contact Mike Doyle to discuss options.

Register for the Next Expedition

Participation in the LDE course is by application, due to the limited number of spaces available in the course. Applications for the Summer 2024 session of the LDE Norway closed December 15, 2023. Applications for Summer 2025 will be available in Fall 2024.

Norway group huddled around a map

“Oftentimes, I found myself putting a label on my leadership style and focusing on operating in that one capacity. However, on the trip, I had to be adaptable. This trip gave me the opportunity to step into nearly every kind of leadership role and to practice balancing empathy, agility, and competence to best serve my team in that moment.”

Sydney Sanchez, MBA candidate ’24
People Team Manager at PwC

LDE in the Media

The Economist columnist Andrew Palmer joined Carey Flex MBA students for the first days of the 2023 LDE Norway course, giving an inside look at the team's early challenges and learning, particularly about the value of simple structures and rules for making progress when leading, in The Economist'Boss Class podcast about leadership and management at work.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, CIL Directors Mike Doyle and Chris Myers describe the philosophy of the LDE course – and how the expedition helps participants develop abilities to tackle challenges, make decisions, and collaborate – highlighting four key characteristics of the course that can be adapted and applied to enhance many other forms of leadership development and training in organizations.

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Executive LDE

How do you build the leadership skills needed to navigate your team through uncertainty and difficult situations? Put yourself in a controlled, high-stakes situation with Johns Hopkins leadership experts by your side. Whether as part of an open-enrollment Executive LDE course to Mt. Cotopaxi in Ecuador or as part of a custom program carefully crafted for the developmental needs of your organization, CIL's outdoor leadership experiences will help you develop the skills to succeed as a leader.