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

Applications are due annually in September.

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.

Meet the Fellows

“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

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

2019-2020 Academic Year

Sessions will be held remotely for the remainder of the winter 2020 semester due to the university policy on the spread of COVID-19.

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

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.



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