Leadership in the Himalayas


Leadership skills are among the most highly sought transferrable skills that you will utilize in your professional life. Developing your leadership style is also a very personal experience that can’t be taught in the classroom. Leadership Development in the Himalayas gives you the opportunity to go beyond leadership theory and develop your leadership skills through this 6-credit experiential outdoor learning in the Indian Himalayas.   

During the pre-departure seminars in Pittsburgh and the month-long program at the Hanifl Centre in Mussoorie, India, you will learn principles and theories behind leadership development and have the chance to develop and hone your leadership skills through outdoor education. The program includes a two-week intensive trek in the Himalaya, field-based experiential learning at the Hanifl Centre, and leadership seminars.

This is a physically demanding program, and participants must be prepared for physically exhaustive, multi-day outdoor activities such as trekking/backpacking and camping at elevations above 10,000ft. It is recommended that you have prior experience trekking/backpacking and sleeping outside for multiple nights.

Interested in learning more about the program? Check out our past participants blogs!


What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to: 

  • learn the foundations of leadership theory and develop your personal leadership style
  • apply transferrable skills gained through the outdoor experience toward your personal and professional development
  • develop outdoor survival skills including Wilderness First Aid, outdoor ethics, and expedition behavior


With a population of just over 26,000, the town of Mussoorie offers you the convenience and resources of a modern city.  Located on the outskirts of the city, the Woodstock School and Hanfil Center serves as your home base for the program. 

The town of Mussoorie, situated at an elevation of 6,500 feet in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, is a thriving tourist resort town.  Established in the 1820s as a colonial hill state, the town is now a hub for recreation, entertainment, and shopping.  Whether you decide to taste traditional Indian entrees and desserts, buy tailor-made clothes, or just stroll the streets of the town, you won’t find any lack of things to do.

The Woodstock School and Hanfil Center remain a quiet haven for relaxation and study.  You’ll wake up every morning to breathtaking views of the mountains and have the opportunity to explore the surrounding forests and villages both independently and as a part of the program.


Where You'll Live: 

The Hanfil Center’s dormitory-style accommodations are ajacent to your classrooms and diniing hall, and include most of the amenities that you are already used to. Hanifl Center staff will be on site 24/7 to assit you. You can expect your housing to include:

  • 3 meals per day
  • double or triple rooms
  • shared bathrooms
  • bedding (bring a towel!)
  • dining area
  • communal study and lounge spaces
  • wifi and computer access
  • laundry service - extra fee

We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change.  Contact your program manager with any questions. 


What You'll Study: 

The purpose of this program is to prepare you to become a leader and embark on your pathway of personal leadership development through academic and experiential learning. The leadership development concepts covered in this course will be applicable to you now and for the rest of your life, personally and professionally. You’ll be introduced to the history and theories of leadership. And while group-oriented outdoor activity is an ideal environment to put your leadership knowledge to the test, emphasis is placed on transferring your skills beyond an outdoor environment.

You will learn about leadership theory in detail through seminar-based sessions in Pittsburgh and at the Hanifl Centre. Through lectures, required readings, discussions, presentations, and small group work, you will learn about leadership qualities and competencies, leadership models and theories, decision-making models and theories, value and ethical decision-making models, among other topics.

You'll recieve 6 credits for the program - 3 lecture and 3 practicum. You will receive a letter grade for BUSERV 1365 and an S/NC for BUSERV 1370. This experience counts for one foreign culture requirement and a social science general education requirement for Pitt Business students. The program also counts as the functional elective for the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics. 

Global Leadership Capstone (BUSERV1365)

BUSERV 1365 Global Leadership Capstone is a 3-credit, letter-graded, course focused on leadership theory.  A large portion of this course is completed prior to the international experience through 4 pre-departure class sessions.

The seminar format consists of required readings, lecture, discussion, small group work, presentation, required readings and knowledge assessment.  The topics addressed in this format include:

  • Leadership qualities and competencies
  • Leadership and power
  • Leadership models and theories
  • Judgement
  • Decision-making
  • Type of decisions
  • Decision-making models and methods
  • Value and ethical decision-making models
  • Problem-solving
  • Team-based works
  • Communication skills (written, verbal and active listening)
  • Initiative             
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Detail orientation            

Students are exposed to several self-awareness tools and leadership theories during the seminar-based learning phase.  Based on the initial readings, lectures and discussion, students will then select one of the leadership theories to use as a focus for the in-country field experience and final papers.  The leadership theories addressed in this course are:

  • “Leadership at NOLS” - National Outdoors Leadership School.
    • Four rules - designated leader, active followership, peer leadership, self-leadership
  • Feminist – Warren
  • Authentic – Terry
  • Servant Leadership – Greenleaf
  • Coaching - collective coaching by Kimsey-House
  • Shared Leadership – various
  • Strengths Based Leadership - Gallop / Rath

Students receive a letter grade for this course. 

Global Leadership Field Practicum (BUSERV1370)

BUSERV 1370 Field Practicum is a 3-credit, S/NC graded course focused on applying leadership theory in an outdoor-based group experiential format.  This course is in the Indian Himalayas, largely consists of physical activity and includes a significant backcountry trekking component.  

The field component of the course is pragmatic and experiential and allows students to assume leadership roles.  Students are exposed to the following elements during the field components:

·         Wilderness First Aid and CPR
·         Environmental Appreciation - trees, birds, flora and fauna
·         Outdoor living skills
·         Personal hygiene in the outdoors
·         Leave No Trace (LNT) ethics and practices
·         Conflict Management
·         Expedition Behavior
·         Decision Making
·         Communication
·         Equipment - types, care and maintenance


Students receive an S/NC grade for this course 

Experiential Learning Description: 

The field component of the course takes place on site at the Hanifl Centre and includes a 10-day trek in the Himalayas. During your time at the Hanifl Centre and on the trek, you will be encouraged to assume leadership roles and develop your personal leadership style through activities including Wilderness First Aid and CPR, outdoor living skills, Leave No Trace ethics and practices, expedition behavior, decision-making, communication, conflict management, and more.

The Hanifl Center was established in 2003 to promote the study of the Himalayan environment with a focus on outdoor education.  The University of Pittsburgh has partnered with the Center since 2013 and now runs three programs in the summer and spring.  Hanifl Center staff embody India’s multicultural modernity with a certified record of professionalism, having earned national and international recognition for their programs in leadership training and wilderness medicine.  India’s first green design campus, the Hanifl Center is near a nature reserve in-between India’s two most sacred rivers, the Yamuna and the Ganga.  In 2019 Pitt’s Chancellor visited the Center in recognition of our well-established partnership, innovative programs and proven record of success.  To learn more about the Hanifl Center please visit haniflcentre.in.


Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Phil Hnatkovich

Hi I'm Phil Hnatkovich and I'm an International Programs Manager in the College of Business Administration. I've worked in higher education for nearly two decades, both as a teacher and as a study abroad manager. I came to the field of international education after years of international study, beginning with language and cultural studies in Acadie, then historical research in French, Cornish, and English port communities and pirate havens, and finally as a co-founder of an international digital educational program aimed at transcribing historical documents from the 17th century. I'm thrilled to help students find their own paths from travel to professional opportunity!

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  • Select Appointments > Schedule an Appointment
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Your In-Country Contacts: 

Bryan Schultz

Greetings!  I am the Director of International Progarms at the College of Business.  I've been at Pitt since 2011 and during this time served in the Study Abroad Office, Swanson School of Engineering, Frederick Honors College and the College of Business Administration.  My portfolio of responsibilities includes expanding global and experiential opportunities for Pitt Honors students.  Prior to joining Pitt my career focused on providing executive-level leadership and consulting to nonprofit organizations in Colorado and Washington DC. 
I graduated from Kalamazoo College (MI) with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and earned a Master of Nonprofit Management degree from Regis University (CO).  During my free tine I enjoy long backpacking trips, following Detroit-based professional sports, painting, going to concerts, and exploring new places - especially those overseas.



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Email me at bryan.schultz@pitt.edu to schedule an appointment.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $5,514 $5,714
Program Fee $1,886 $1,886
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $7,700 $7,900

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~$2,000
Personal Expenses and Gear ~$750
Visa $250


What's Included: 

As a part of your Leadership in the Himalayas fee, the following are included in the program:

  • Tuition for 6 credits
  • Housing
  • All meals
  • Health Insurance
  • Airport Transfers
  • On-Site Transportation
  • Excursions

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad.  Visit our Budgeting page for more information.


What Else You Need to Know: 

This is a physically demanding program, and participants must be prepared for physically exhaustive, multi-day outdoor activities such as trekking/backpacking and camping at elevations above 10,000ft. It is recommended that you have prior experience trekking/backpacking and sleeping outside for multiple nights.
Gear Checklist - this provides information about what you should expect to bring to India, as well as what will be provided by the Hanifl Centre. Please review this in detail. 
Additional Application Details
Admission to this small, seminar-styled program is competitive.  In addition to the standard application requirements, quality of interview (see more below), application start date and year in school are additional considerations.  
Note there is a required interview component for this program.  Students must begin the program application and sign up for an interview at least one week prior to the deadline.  The interview must be conducted prior to the last working day before the application deadline to be considered.  Do NOT wait until the deadline to begin the application.  
Mandatory Pre Departure Meeting Dates
Please note that this course requires 12+ hours of classroom preparation during the spring semester, as well as required readings and assignments. The Pittsburgh-based class sessions will occur on Friday evenings in Sennott Square.  These meetings are in-person.  Virutal options for attending are not available due to the nature of the content.  Dates/times for the Pittsburgh-based seminars are: 
Friday, February 24, 2023, 5:30 - 8:30 Location:  2650 Sennott Square
Friday, March 17, 2023, 5:30 - 8:30 Location:  2650 Sennott Square
Friday, April 7, 2023, 5:30 - 8:30 Location:  2650 Sennott Square
Friday, April 21, 2023, 5:30 - 8:30 Location:  2650 Sennott Square