In the Ross Leaders Academy, you’ll make leadership development a primary focus of your Michigan experience.

The Ross Leaders Academy (RLA) is a year-long, advanced leadership development program for select students at the University of Michigan. Participants learn from a diverse set of peers, receive team executive coaching, and engage with 30+ years of powerful ideas advanced by Michigan Ross. You’ll emerge RLA more confident, more insightful, and with a vision to fuel your emerging career.

RLA is made possible with generous support from the Deloitte Foundation, which is committed to enabling transformational learning experiences like this for students like you.

Leadership Skills You’ll Practice:

  • Reflective Leadership: Build your leadership mindset and capabilities and learn to increase your influence in daily life at U-M and in the workplace. Benefit from a variety of resources to advance your leadership development (awareness-building activities, structured reflection sessions, team-based executive coaching).

  • Communication: Develop a living statement that’s unique and articulates your leadership philosophy, values, purpose, strengths, and learning agenda in a way that enables you to tell your story and navigate daily challenges.

  • Working with Others: Collaborate with a diverse set of other students to support your learning while honing the skills to support, coach, and develop others. You’ll set goals and success metrics while establishing clear priorities to ensure accountability.

RLA Sessions Are...

  • Action-based: We believe that leadership development happens through action. Expect to be on your feet, outdoors, and all around campus completing various activities with your teammates.

  • Reflective: We’ll take a break from the action often to reflect and think about what those experiences -- and your everyday experiences -- mean for your leadership journey.

  • Inspiring: RLA meets in different locations across campus and Ann Arbor to reinforce the topic we are discussing. We might be at ZingTrain one session, at Crisler Center, or anywhere in between.




“Working closely with other participants in RLA, who came from schools and programs across the university, gave me the opportunity to hear different perspectives on leadership and helped shape my own sense of how I want to lead.”

- Courtney Black, RLA Graduate, Marketing Finance Manager at Mars, Inc. and MBA ‘17


Subjects You’ll Explore


You’ll engage with the Michigan Model of Leadership and decades of research into what it takes to become a transformational leader. You’ll develop four key qualities — empathy, drive, integrity, and courage — that combined will put your influence on steroids.


You’ll work with an executive coach to develop your people development skills, honing them through fun and engaging team challenges.


You will deepen your self-knowledge and uncover values, motives, personal attributes, and domains of action that bring out the best in you. You will form habits of structured reflection that can be continued long after your time at Ross.


You’ll craft a personal vision statement that clearly articulates your leadership philosophy, values, purpose, strengths, and learning agenda. Moving forward, it’ll enable you to more effectively tell your story and navigate the many difficult  challenges and decisions you face.

How to Participate

Program Structure and Schedule

The Ross Leaders Academy will meet 12 times over the course of the academic year. It will kick off in the fall with an exciting event, and wrap up in the spring with a closing celebration in Deloitte’s 37th floor D-Club in Detroit’s Renaissance Center.

2017-2018 Dates

Authentic Leadership Sessions - Fall 2017
Focused on you and where you are going

  • October 5, Kickoff
  • October 13
  • October 27
  • November 10
  • December 1
  • December 8

Adaptive Leadership Sessions - Winter 2018
Helping you lead by changing with the needs of the moment

  • January 26
  • February 9
  • February 16
  • March 9
  • March 16
  • Early April, Closing
Sessions are generally 2.5 hours long and scheduled on Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Executive coaching will be scheduled separately based on your availability.

Applicant Requirements

  • Juniors, seniors, and graduate students any U­-M school
    • Note: We are aware that Ross full-time MBA1s will be unable to participate due to their MAP schedules. We welcome full-time MBA2s to apply!
  • Ability to attend all sessions
    • Participation in all sessions is integral to gaining the full benefit of the program. Students who miss more than two sessions will not receive the program completion certificate. We ask that participants bring conflicting dates to Sanger’s attention during the October 5 kickoff event.
  • Deep interest in leadership development, personal growth, and lifelong learning

The application deadline for 2017-18 has passed and this year's cohort has been selected.
If you'd like to be considered for next year's program, please fill out our interest form below.

'18-'19 Interest Form