This contribution tries to apply the Viable System Model (VSM) in a ‘useful' way from the viewpoint of a practitioner. The system examined is the University of St. Gallen. This case study discusses the potential of a VSM-based view of an organisation, helping to analyse the way such an organisation actually works by pointing out actual problems with precision, while also acknowledging the limits of this model's application. This common understanding is an important groundwork for the successful implementation of a strategy. This paper demonstrates the considerable advantage of working with VSM. It is an effective and productive model.