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 1:1 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

The application deadline has passed for 2021-2022. The next opportunity to get involved will be in Fall 2022.

 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.”

Audrey Lau, Master of Health Services Administration ‘21

Program Type

Learning Community

Key Dates

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

2021-2022 Academic Year

  • Application live: 8/23/21
  • Application due: 9/10/21
  • Community interviews: 9/23 & 9/24
  • Kickoff session: 10/25

Session Dates:

  • Fridays, 10 AM-12:15 PM
  • 2021: 10/29, 11/5, 11/19, 12/3
  • 2022: 1/21, 2/11, 2/25, 3/11 (Closing event)

Time Commitment

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 8 hours per month. 1:1 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)
  • 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

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.

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.

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.



October 28, 2020 in Ross Leaders Academy, Sanger News

Former RLA fellow’s business chosen as a Poets & Quants 2020 Most Disruptive Startup

"Countless studies point to the negative effects of media misrepresentation on the self-esteem and mental wellness of marginalized groups. For Arabs and Muslims, these effects are exacerbated by the sheer…
Read More
March 3, 2020 in Empathy, Ross Leaders Academy, Self-Leadership, Strategies and Tips

Leaders are supposed to be empathetic: here’s exactly how to do that

You’ve heard it said over and over at Michigan Ross, the b-school for purpose-driven leaders: empathy is the key to leading effectively. But what does that mean, exactly? And more…
Read More