IE School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Executive Master in Positive Leadership, Organization & Strategy

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Program Outline

The Executive Master in Positive Leadership and Strategy (EXMPLS) is a groundbreaking program designed for experienced executives interested in achieving outstanding business results via the proven, hands-on methods of positive leadership. By gaining a deep understanding of the hard science of positive psychology and human behavior, participants learn how to optimize overall strategy and business functions, architect new work processes, and design organizational structures to achieve optimal performance in themselves and the people they lead.

The master will have an impact on leadership at three levels: individuals, teams and functions, and the entire organization.

Quick Facts
  • Degree awarded: Master in Positive Leadership and Strategy
  • Study location: Madrid
  • Duration: 13 months
  • Format: Study whilst working full time
  • Core courses: Five 6-day executive training modules each business quarter
  • Profile: Working professionals of 10+ years of experience; minimum of 3 years senior managerial positions
  • Current participants profile: Av. Age 40 (range 34-63), Av. Professional Exp. 17 (range 10-35), 70% Male/30% Female, 16 Nationalities Represented out of 22 Participants
  • Fee: 46,200€ (April 2015 intake)


Intended for

Participants in the program are managers and leaders of units, functions or organizations. They have reached their current positions through a combination of hard work, demonstrated business expertise, and largely self-taught leadership abilities. They are busy executives who know that investing 6 days each business quarter in training will not be easy, but they realize that investing in leadership training is what will determine the next stages of their careers.

• Managers, looking to augment their leadership abilities and learn new methods for moving their organizations forward toward sustainable, outstanding results.

• C-level execs and owners in SMEs seeking ways to architect and transform their organizations to establish the kind of positive, performance-oriented culture required to maintain and ensure future success of their businesses.

• Public sector, military leaders and decision makers who want to bring the methods and results of positive leadership to their institutions.

Format & Content

Designed to be compatible with the demand schedules of busy executives, the EXMPLS is a hybrid program that combines the benefits of intensive executive training with the lasting transformation of an integrated executive master program:

- Executive Education: Intensive, 6-day training modules - once each business quarter:

•Module I (13-18 April 2015) : POSITIVE SELF-DEVELOPMENT

•Module II (13-18 July 2015): POSITIVE TEAMS & ORGANIZATION



•Module V (16-21 May 2016): LEADING POSITIVE CHANGE

- Executive Master: The 5 training modules build on each other in a progressive way.

After each training module, participants return to work and put positive leadership into practice through hands-on activities and projects that address the real, current challenges they are facing in their workplace during the Leadership@Work period. They do this under the guidance of faculty in conjunction with continued learning through self-assessments, coaching and with the collaboration of their peers.


Executives will gain practical, “just in time” knowledge and should leave the program with tangible plans that specifically addresses the strategic challenges faced by their organization. With plans in hand, they will be able to orchestrate winning performance and enhance overall organization well-being.

Once participants finish the EXMPLS they will be able to:

  • Leverage personal, team and organizational strengths and maintain high performance in a sustainable way in both personal and professional life;
  • Enable businesses and people to thrive rather than addressing constraints and obstacles;
  • Build outstanding teams that are more committed, more innovative, more creative, more effective, and that produce optimal results;
  • Augment and develop emotional intelligence competencies that separate outstanding leaders from average performers, and;
  • Implement design change efforts, accelerate strategy execution and projects that yield significantly better results than the norm.

Further details can be found here.


IE’s EXMPLS has attracted a number of world-class international faculty who are the established leaders not only in their areas of specialization but who are integrally involved in the emerging science of positive psychology. The transformative insights of these exceptional individuals will address some of the most complex questions managers face today. See our Faculty.

Detailed Information

Why Positive Leadership?

Positive Psychology is the new science of human performance. It focuses on identifying the factors that drive greatness and on developing methods to train people and teams to perform at their best.

Positive Leadership is Positive Psychology applied to the human challenges of the workplace. Its goal is to help leaders and their organizations to thrive by educating managers to understand behavior - centering on strengths rather than addressing constraints - and to leverage this understanding to achieve extraordinary results.

The Challenge

While business challenges have changed, the paradigm for developing managers and leaders has remained the same. The current model of management was designed around making processes efficient, not people. Yet research shows that human performance is what drives the bottom line, and that an organization’s processes must be designed around its people. Unfortunately, for too many companies this is not the case. Interviews with executives and organizational studies continually reveal that employees are not highly engaged, not fully productive, and both individuals and teams are not realizing their full potential.

Industrial age management approaches – based on power, authority, standardization, conformance or discipline - are inadequate to the challenges that lie ahead. Positive leadership becomes the basic tool that permits a leader to exercise true leadership by building the inner strength needed to replace formal power structures and find alternative ways to take a different approach by empowering and mobilizing people to perform at their best, thus emphasizing autonomy and collective decision-making.

Business and Scientific Evidence

The reality is that some pioneering companies have been using different variations of appreciative or positive models of management intuitively. At the beginning of the last century the development of scientific management, or so-called Taylorism emphasized task control. However there was also a movement that emphasized the human dimensions of management and could be defined as the precursor of positive management. In the early 80s, some business schools began to redefine the practice of management by concentrating on expanding positive organizational processes instead of centering on shortcomings and weaknesses. The formalization of Positive Psychology as an applied science provided a unified umbrella for all these practices, theories, approaches, and tools, designed to emphasize the positive and life-giving forces of organizations. Positive approaches to management have remained a well-kept secret despite the fact that all organizations that employ these approaches have continued to thrive, even in times of economic downturn. Examples include:

R Telecommunications
Best Buy 
Whole Foods

Cleveland Clinic
Fairmount Minerals
Montain Green Coffee

Please find here further references.

Sponsoring Companies

Invest in your future and enhance levels of performance and effectiveness in your company. Designed to be compatible with the high-level duties and pressures of experienced professionals, the EXMPLS is a unique opportunity to provide support for your top employees to expand their skills and enable your company to flourish. Through five manageable executive education modules, participants get to grips with a range of proven, innovative techniques and action research projects, building a toolbox they can directly – and immediately –apply when they return to their organizations to transform the way they lead and maximize bottom-line results.

Benefits also include membership of the IE Community, composed of more than 40,000 outstanding professionals in over 100 countries, the perfect platform for improving business channels and increasing your network. Program graduates will also build up a rich portfolio of contacts through IE professors and other senior executives from diverse backgrounds, industries and cultures.

Further details can be found here.


Recognized consistently as one of the world’s leading institutions in management education by major rankings, IE continues to consolidate its leading role by launching the one-of-a-kind EXMPLS. Here are the answers to the questions most frequently asked about the program.

Detailed Information

How to Apply

We seek dynamic, experienced and professional candidates with open minds and proven professional growth, from varying industries and academic backgrounds.

Applications for admission are accepted throughout the year. Due to a limited class size, early application is encouraged. Late applications will be considered if space is still available.

If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at (+34) 915 689 610 or write to


EXMPLS participants should have:

  • 10+ years of professional experience, a minimum of 3 years in senior managerial positions
  • Strong professional history, a record of high achievement and a practical ambition to improve the state of business and organizations
  • English language proficiency
  • University degree or equivalent. In exceptional cases, this qualification may be replaced by extensive professional experience (i.e. a minimum of 10 years coupled with notable career progression)
Admissions Process

The main objective of the admissions process is to fully understand the candidate’s professional background, experience and exposure, to assess the candidate’s abilities to interact and thrive within the program and to select candidates with the highest potential. It consists of:

  • Submit the application form either online or in PDF format
  • Interview
  • The Admissions Committee makes a final decision

Given the limited number of places in the program, we recommend candidates initiate the application process as far in advance as possible, roughly six months in advance of the desired program intake. This is especially important if planning on apply for company support or alternative financing as only admitted candidates may apply for IE’s Financial Aid options.

Fees & Financing

Candidates pay a non-refundable application fee of €125 to cover administrative costs.

The tuition fees of the Executive Master in Positive Leadership & Strategy for the April 2015 intake total €46,200. Fees include:

  • All expenses related to academic learning, including: access to relevant technology, books, teaching materials, but also coffees, lunches and selected events. 
  • A €1,200 contribution to the IE Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting access to top tier education through scholarships, as well as supporting applied research & innovation, and cultural outreach.

To reserve a place, participants are required to make a non-refundable deposit of €4,000 + the contribution to the IE Foundation of €1,200. The remaining fees may be paid in up to three installments, extended over 6 months from the program start.

Find out more about financing your program in the Financial Aid section  or contact us at

Detailed Information


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