The Program

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 a diverse set of peers, receive team executive coaching, and engage with 30+ years of powerful research advanced by the University of Michigan’s innovative faculty. You’ll emerge RLA more confident, more insightful, and with a vision to fuel your emerging career.

RLA kicks off in the fall with an exciting event and wraps up in the spring with a closing celebration.

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

Get Involved

We select approximately 50 students from across U-M. The application process is competitive. Applicants are evaluated on a number of factors, including educational and personal background, interest in the program, willingness to learn, and group engagement.

RLA Class of 2019 at Michigan Stadium

RLA Class of 2019 at Michigan Stadium

Steps to Apply

1. Learn more about RLA at our optional Sanger Info Session on Tuesday, September 10, 2019, from 4-5 PM.

2. Fill out the online application, which will open in August 2019 (view essay questions for 2019-2020), by September 18.

3. Qualified candidates will be invited to a required community interview on either October 3 or 4 at Michigan Ross.
The community interviews are designed to allow you to demonstrate your leadership capabilities in-person. You’ll be immersed in a group setting where you will complete activities curated to assess your teamwork and communication skills and your ability to capitalize on your strengths and recognize your weaknesses. You’ll understand more about RLA and we will have a better sense of your skills, abilities, and interests.

4. After the interview, we will select 50 high-potential students to join RLA.

“Without a doubt, the Ross Leaders Academy was the #1 best and most impactful activity of this academic year. I came into RLA expecting to learn a few techniques on how to work better with others. Instead, I went on a transformative journey of personal values and purpose and confronted the many ways my actions were not aligning with my values and dreams.”

Stephanie Zimmerman, MHI ’20
Apply Now

Program Type

Learning Community

Key Dates

Application Process

  • Applications due: Wednesday, September 18 at midnight
  • Community interview notifications sent: Monday, September 30
  • Community interview dates (choose one): Thursday October 3, 5-6:30 PM or Friday, October 4, 3:30-5 PM

2019-2020 Academic Year

Sessions are Fridays from 12-2:30 PM unless noted and will be held at various locations at the U-M Ann Arbor campus. Lunch is provided.

  • Kickoff: Monday, October 28, 5-7:30 PM
  • November 1
  • November 8
  • November 15
  • November 22
  • December 6
  • January 24
  • February 7
  • February 14
  • March 13
  • March 20
  • Closing Reception TBD

Time Commitment

Sessions are 2.5 hours long and may require reflection in between each, for a total of about 8 hours per month. Coaching will be scheduled separately based on your availability.

Participant Requirements

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

Skills You’ll Learn

Enhancing Self-Awareness
You will deepen understanding of the purpose, values, motivators, roles, and activities that bring out the best in you. Along the way, you’ll form habits of reflection that will power your lifelong pursuit of greater self-knowledge.

Working with Diverse Individuals
The academy includes graduate and undergraduate students drawn from all of the university’s schools and colleges. You’ll collaborate with this diverse group of students to advance your own learning, while supporting, coaching, and developing others.

Advancing Self-Development
You will also be challenged to stretch beyond your current self, try new things, develop new capabilities, and proactively lead your own learning journey. We’ll provide tools, resources, and encouragement to leave your comfort zone behind.

Building Strong Networks
Your career advancement, influence, and impact will depend to a large degree on the quality of your network. The academy will enable you to build strong, trusting relationships across sectors, industries, and disciplines.



May 6, 2019 in Ross Leaders Academy, Student Blog

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