The case is based on the RSM MBA Kilimanjaro Women in Leadership elective. The elective is designed to bring female business leaders – often accustomed to being outnumbered by male colleagues – to learn to work with groups of high achieving women.

The case describes the journey up Mount Kilimanjaro of four ambitious women – women of different ages, and from diverse cultural backgrounds and life situations, who have learnt that it is possible to work well in a highly risky and demanding environment with other women. After initial misunderstandings, the difficult nine-day trek forces them to work together to overcome physical and mental barriers. Participants report that the preparation, climb, and post-climb reflection made them more aware of their personal capabilities, resilience, and ability to build the mutually supporting networks needed to ascend their heights in the personal life and also in the organizations they wish to build and lead. They also report that it is helping them to: (a) recognise the complexities facing high-potential women and the importance of relying on one another to reach a common goal; (b) gain a greater understanding of how people make decisions in high-risk situations; and (c) reflect on women’s potential to overcome the social, organisational and cultural ‘mountains’ that stand in their way.

For female students, the case will make them appreciate the importance of supporting one another as women and help them develop greater trust in other women while pursuing their challenging goals. For male students, the case will make them better understand their female colleagues and be more aware of gender bias in the corporate sector as well as in education. For educators, the case requires them to ponder how personal change occurs, how adults learn, and how educational institutes can and should measure the impact of personal development.

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RSM Case Development Centre

Based on Field Research; 10 pages.
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Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Yue, T., Bevelander, D., & Page, M. (2014). Kilimanjaro: Challenge, Self-reflection and Gender Stereotypes. RSM Case Development Centre. Retrieved from