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The Power of Partnerships
By Laura Schoepfer, Head of Admissions and Marketing

What does an American car company have in common with an international school in Switzerland? At first glance, the answer would appear ‘very little’.  
 
Who could have foreseen back 1961, when ISZL opened its doors for the first time, and twelve students connected to the newly relocated Jeep corporation manufacturing plant sat down in their new classroom, that the Canton of Zug and ISZL were entering into a symbiotic partnership, the fruits of which now provides over four-hundred companies and the children of their employees with both a beautiful home away from home and a thriving international educational community? 
 
Since 1960, the population of the Canton of Zug has grown from 46,747 to 126,812.  The number of foreign nationals residing in the canton has grown from 5,742 to 35,898.  It is, therefore, no surprise that from ISZL's humble beginnings in the early 1960s, student enrolment has grown by over ten-thousand percent – from 12 to 1,300 students.
 
In all areas of school life, strong relationships are fundamental to ISZL’s success, be it student-to-student, student-to-teacher, parent-to-teacher or parent-to-child. The same strong relationships have been carefully nurtured with our external stakeholder groups, many of whom rely on the ongoing success of ISZL to fuel the growth engine of their own organisation.

When a company is considering relocation to another geographical location, many considerations are taken into account.  The ‘2018 UBS Competitiveness Indicator Switzerland’ places the Canton of Zug in the first place amongst all cantons based upon criteria, which includes economic structure, innovation, human capital and labour market.  

Beat Bachmann, the Head of the Economic Department for the Canton of Zug, explains:

This economic success of this region is based on a long-term development strategy to offer the best overall package for doing business and a high quality of life. Key success factors include the business friendliness and pragmatism of the authorities to find solutions, which is often referred to as the 'Spirit of Zug'. Also, the high availability of talents is vital: world-class universities such as the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), the University of Zurich and the numerous technical colleges and institutes with international educational programmes ensure that the educational level in Zug is among the highest in Europe. 

Long-term stability – politically and financially – with a track record spanning many decades has also contributed significantly. Last but not least, it is the high quality of life, great infrastructure and accessibility. The Canton of Zug has excellent transport connections, lies in the very heart of Europe, and is part of the Metropolitan Area Zurich. Those who work here benefit from an excellent work-life balance. These elements not only make doing business for companies most efficient but also life for families and partners very enjoyable.

The presence of top international schools in Canton of Zug is also significant in the canton's success story, as it helps to attract top talents and their families and is, therefore, an essential element for Zug as a global business hub.

We are proud and thankful that ISZL, as a leading international school with an excellent reputation, has contributed to the attractiveness of the Canton of Zug over the last sixty years. Beyond offering the highest quality in education, ISZL has also continuously invested in the extension of its capacity to support the increasing demand. More importantly, ISZL has also contributed to Zug becoming the home of people from more than sixty nationalities and making it to what people often refer to as a ‘multicultural global village’.


For all companies, attracting and retaining the best talent is seen as vital to institutional advancement. For international companies, the mobility of existing talent is another human resource priority. The availability of quality schooling ranks extremely high.

Isabel Cobo, the Head of Human Resources at Thomson Reuters, shares: 

Thomson Reuters is the world's leading provider of news and information-based tools to professionals. Our Enterprise Center, from where we drive all of our decision making and innovation, is located in Zug. We attract talent from around the globe to come to work in our Zug office.  High-quality schooling is one of the key decision points for families to agree to relocate.  

Thomson Reuters has been partnering very closely with ISZL over the past 15 years. We highly value this relationship because it allows us to attract senior talent to our Zug office from across the world by ensuring they have access to the best education for their children. Thanks to this close relationship with the school, our employees and their families are also better connected with the rest of the international community. We especially value the opportunity to partner with ISZL in development and educational activities for children of different ages.  This allows us to share our expertise in technology and business through activities such as ‘Coder Dojos’ for students of all ages and the career-related business programme for high school students. 

 

For families relocating to the area, the securing of appropriate schooling is also on the top of their list. When reviewing the many options available to them to families have a lot to consider.

 

Emma Mason, a Swiss Relocation Agent, says:

Families relocating to Switzerland are concerned that their children will receive an education that compares to the schools they are leaving.  The quality of the school will often be the deciding factor in a family’s decision to relocate. They may also look for a school that will enable the children to transition back to those schools or to achieve a university place in their home country. 

An English speaking International School offering the International Baccalaureate (IB), such as ISZL, is highly desirable to many international families.  They feel comfortable that their children will be able to move easily to other IB schools worldwide in the future and that their children will be provided with a quality education within an expatriate community.   

When working with families who are considering ISZL, I highlight some of ISZL's qualities from both personal and client experiences. As well as the high-quality education, I emphasise the amazing community feeling within the school.  New families are quickly integrated into expat life in Zug and are well supported by ISZL and its active Parents Association. My clients have often commented on how much they missed this when they move on within Switzerland or elsewhere in the world.

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