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Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School

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Home > Academic Programs > Full-Time MBA > Curriculum > Defining Moments in Leadership

Defining Moments in Leadership

Most successful leaders are able to point to a handful of defining moments in their careers – instances that defined the trajectory of their character, their career, their company. What are those defining moments, and why do they matter? How can aspiring business leaders prepare themselves to face their defining moments with insight and integrity?

Olin’s graduate-level course, Defining Moments: Lessons in Leadership and Character from the Top, examines these questions by learning from notable leaders who exemplify both business excellence and personal character. Executives from leading companies will visit the class to talk about their defining moments and engage students in considering these questions.

2014 speakers include:

  • Bob Chapman, Chairman & CEO, Barry-Wehmiller, January 16
  • Dave Peacock, Former President, Anheuser-Busch, January 23
  • John Mozeliak, Senior Vice President and General Manager, St. Louis Cardinals, January 28
  • Eric Greitens, CEO, The Mission Continues, February 4
  • Maxine Clark, Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Chair of Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation, February 6
  • George Bauer, Chairman & CEO, GPB Group, Ltd., February 11
  • Arnold Donald, CEO, Carnival Corporation, February 21

These conversations will be supplemented with thought-provoking cases and readings on leadership and character.

Students will leave the course with a more nuanced understanding of the following issues:

  • How do leaders achieve superior business performance without sacrificing character or integrity?
  • Is there a tradeoff between seeking to advance one’s own career and being true to one’s own values and inner voice? And how does one navigate tradeoffs?
  • What are leadership values and how do those values relate to defining moments?
  • How do leaders create a culture of excellence executed with integrity?
  • What are the responsibilities that come with organizational power and leadership? How does one wield power without losing perspective?

A number of elements will contribute to student learning in this class:

  • Researching and writing leader profiles and submitting written questions will help students to get the most out of leader visits.
  • Reflection papers will help students to document their learning.
  • A personal leadership statement will encourage students to articulate their own leadership values.

Look for more opportunities in the future to engage with C-suite level leaders in the Olin classroom.

MGT B63 550V- Spring A, 2014 Instructors:
J. Stuart Bunderson, PhD
George and Carol Bauer Professor of Organizational Ethics amd Governance

Kurt T. Dirks, PhD
Senior Associate Dean-Programs and Bank of America Professor of Leadership