Ross Leader's Academy

Ross Leaders Academy


The Ross Leaders Academy (RLA) is the Sanger Leadership Center’s premier leadership development community for select students across campus. During the year-long program, you’ll make leadership development a primary focus of your Michigan experience. You’ll learn from diverse peers, receive 1:1 and group coaching, and engage with 50+ years of robust research advanced by the University of Michigan’s innovative faculty. You’ll emerge from RLA more confident, insightful, and with a vision to fuel your emerging career.

This program is generously sponsored by the Deloitte Foundation.

participants (all-time)

group coaching sessions per academic year

schools & colleges represented across participant pool (all-time)


Skills You’ll Learn

Increased Self-Awareness

Students will deepen their understanding of their purpose, values, motivators, roles, and activities that bring out their best selves. Along the way, they’ll form habits of reflection that will power their lifelong pursuit of greater self-knowledge.

Advanced Self-Development

Students are challenged to stretch beyond their current selves, try new things, develop new capabilities, and proactively lead their learning journey. We provide tools, resources, and encouragement to leave their comfort zone behind.

Building Strong Networks

A strong network of peers—built upon mutual positive regard, trust, and respectful engagement—will be an invaluable resource as you develop your leadership and career. RLA is a great investment in building your network.

Ability to Lead Others

Through group coaching, students will learn to build psychologically safe environments and develop critical communication skills such as delivering and receiving feedback, coaching others, active listening, and asking powerful questions.



Application Process

  • Applications are opened in the summer and are due in September
  • Select students will then be invited to a community interview
  • The selection committee releases decisions on the cohort in early October

2023-2024 Academic Year

  • Application opens: 8/28/2023
  • Application closes: 9/10/2023
  • Community interviews: 9/21/2023 & 9/22/2023
  • Kickoff: 10/13/2023

Session Dates:

  • Fridays, 10 AM-12:15 PM
  • 2023: 10/27, 11/3, 11/17, 12/1
  • 2024: 1/19, 2/9, 2/23, 3/22, TBD (Closing event)

Time Committment
Sessions are 2.25 hours long and will take place on Friday mornings from 10 AM-12:15 PM. Sessions may require reflection in between each, for a total of about 2 hours per month. 1:1 and group coaching will be scheduled separately based on your availability.

Leadership Coaching
Leadership coaching is available as part of the program experience. To learn more about leadership coaching and how it is integrated into this program, visit our coaching page.

Participant Requirements

  • Deep interest in leadership development, personal growth, and lifelong learning
  • Any U-M Student (Junior, Seniors, and Graduate students)
  • 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 our attention during the kickoff event.


Applications are accepted once per year in September. Ross students will be notified via email when registration opens for the 2024-2025 school year. Non-Ross students are invited to fill out the interest form below to receive the same communication.

Content Areas



Identity & Self-Inclusion
Gain a greater understanding of identity dimensions, self-inclusion, and leadership style, and identify ways to co-create environments that engage more of your whole self while inviting others to do the same.

Clearly articulate your core values and learn why values are important for yourself and a group.

Understand the importance and benefits of purpose, craft a purpose statement and be able to explain it to others, and learn how to use your purpose statement to be impactful and achieve concrete results.

Alternative Futures
Use your foresight and purpose statement to think about different paths and possibilities to reach where you want to be. This session will be an opportunity to try on a few of these possibilities to know what it feels like to live your purpose.


Interpersonal leadership

Effective leadership and relationship-building requires empathy. This session will touch on the benefits of expanding your empathetic self and methods to do so while increasing your perspective-taking abilities.

Inclusive Leadership
Understand the science and practice of inclusive leadership while increasing your awareness of personal bias and discovering actionable steps to advance inclusion.

Emotional Regulation
Understand the importance of emotion regulation in the context of leadership and learn strategies for enhancing your regulation abilities.

Understand what resilience means in the context of leadership and key elements and activities of resilience in order to effectively plan how to increase your resilience.

At the end of the program, you’ll reflect on your RLA journey and the skills you have acquired, solidify your leadership brand, and strategically plan for the future application of your learning.


Carla Schaefer, MM ’22

Carla Schaefer, MM ’22


"This program has helped me to better understand who I am and who I want to be. It helped me realize what my values and purpose are and how they relate to leadership. RLA is an experience I would not want to miss and something everyone should partake in.”

Beste Aydin, BS Computer Engineering ‘21

Beste Aydin, BS Computer Engineering ‘21


"RLA provided me with the guidance and environment to grow both as a leader and an individual by looking inward at my past and my values as well as learning from others in the cohort."

Audrey Lau, Master of Health Services Administration ‘21

Audrey Lau, Master of Health Services Administration ‘21


" RLA has been one of the best and most rewarding activities I have participated in during graduate school. Through RLA, I have been able to find more clarity around my purpose in life and learn valuable leadership lessons that are not often discussed. Additionally, I have been able to meet so many great individuals and develop a new support system through the RLA community."

Bharadwaj Chepuri, WMBA ‘21

Bharadwaj Chepuri, WMBA ‘21


"I entered the RLA program with a hope to transforming into a better leader and it took me less than a session to realize that transformation starts with self-awareness. RLA not only helped me understand my values and purpose but also pushed me to tie my actions with my values. Most importantly, I am not shy anymore to show that I am vulnerable and that is helping me to learn and grow in my leadership journey."

Eldon Tsoi, BS Information Science, ’21

Eldon Tsoi, BS Information Science, ’21


"I am really grateful for the wonderful experience I had with RLA throughout my senior year. RLA has taught me to be more open-minded and empathetic. Its activities and the mentorship program helped me connect the dots in life that aligned with the goals I’ve set for myself."

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Scenes from the Program



Meet Three Members of The 2023-2024 Ross Leaders Academy Cohort

Meet Three Members of The 2023-2024 Ross Leaders Academy Cohort

The Ross Leaders Academy (RLA), powered by the Sanger Leadership Center, and sponsored by the Deloitte Foundation, is a year-long leadership development program open to students from across the University of Michigan. During the program, fellows collaborate with their...

Rebuilding Resilience: A Ross Leaders Academy Fellow’s Story

Rebuilding Resilience: A Ross Leaders Academy Fellow’s Story

On March 16, the Sanger Leadership Center closed out its premier year-long leadership development community, the Ross Leaders Academy (RLA). RLA is an intensive leadership program sponsored by the Deloitte Foundation where students from across U-M learn from a diverse...