Expeditions Away from Sage

Leadership Expeditions


Johnson Leadership Expeditions are a chance to leave Ithaca and dig in, full-time, to your leadership development. Expeditions are designed to give students the opportunity to go through the Johnson leadership learning cycle of instruction, experience, and review multiple times in an intensive, condensed time frame.

On expeditions students can expect to:

  • experience ambiguity and adversity;
  • be forced to make decisions with incomplete, inconclusive, and/or conflicting information;
  • take turns assuming full responsibility for the entire group; and,
  • receive real-time feedback and coaching on their leadership efforts.

Expeditions are a chance to practice, rather than just talk about, real leadership.

Recent and Forthcoming Expeditions

 Since January 2013, teams of Johnson students have traveled to Patagonia, Chile, over winter break for an annual leadership expedition. The 10-day trip gives students the opportunity to test and enhance their leadership skills in an unpredictable, challenging, and dynamic wilderness environment. Johnson partners with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) for the expedition. NOLS is a renowned leadership training institute that has worked with the military, NASA astronauts, Google executives, and other groups around the world.

In addition to the Patagonia expedition, there are annual expeditions to participate in intensive leadership training with the United States Marine Corps (USMC) at their Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia.

Learn more by reading about the inaugural Leadership Expedition to Patagonia in the Cornell Enterprise Online and on the NOLS blog. The USMC Quantico Leadership Expedition has also been featured in Cornell Enterprise Online.


Patagonia: A Johnson Leadership Expedition



Johnson Leadership Expedition to USMC Quantico



Clint Cherco

We were going over a mountain pass through deep snow and unexpected blizzard-like conditions. It was a long and grueling day. If any of us had known what we were going to get into, we would have all said, ‘There’s no way we can do that.’ But sharing a common goal and knowing we were going to succeed or fail together helped us to persevere.

– Clint Cherco, MBA ’13

Nora Hansanugrum

The removal of distractions and the simplification of being immersed in the wilderness made it easier to identify aspects of my leadership that need further development, as well as to find the salient strengths I already possess.

–Nora Hansanugrum, MBA ’13




Because I was successful in dealing with several unexpected challenges, I feel like I'm more prepared for future unknowns. I have confidence now that I can achieve more than I might initially think.

–Stephen Markgraf, CQEMBA ‘13

Jamie Hunt, MBA ’13

A NOLS expedition provides a unique opportunity to fail, to give and receive face-to-face feedback, and to reflect.

–Jamie Hunt, MBA ’13 and NOLS instructor