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 diverse peers, receive 1:1 and group coaching, and engage with 30+ 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.

Get Involved

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.


“RLA was a comprehensive leadership program that directly resulted in me stretching myself to learn and grow so that I could better myself as a leader. It provided me with structure and access to resources to empower myself to explore the path of self-development. RLA challenged me to raise the bar for myself, and I’m so grateful for the challenge set before me to be my best self.”

Jumanah Saadeh, MBA ’24

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

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Completed Life Statement
At the end of RLA, you’ll walk away with a completed life statement that promotes continued action and self-development. Your unique statement will clearly articulate your leadership philosophy, values, purpose, strengths, and learning agenda in a way that enables you to more effectively tell your story and navigate daily challenges.



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