Guest speakers discuss ethical leadership values.

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Leadership Development: Courses and Programs

Bauer Leadership Center is helping students gain the leadership values, skills, and mindset to lead.

When industry and community leaders come into the classroom, a common theme in their remarks is the importance of personal values and ethics—in their careers, and in guiding their organizations. At Olin, values-based leadership is an integral part of the business curriculum. Our goal is to model authentic leadership values and encourage students to develop a plan for balancing leadership impact with personal integrity.

From signature courses to graduate degree programs to Bauer Fellows, the Bauer Leadership Center impacts the education of Washington University students. In the Center’s “Defining Moments” and “Women and Leadership” courses, students hear firsthand from exemplary leaders discussing their approach to leadership and the values that guide them. To extend the impact of these classes, the Center has captured some of the insights and inspiration from featured speakers in the “Lessons in Leadership” video series. These videos will be used in classroom settings and to complement research initiatives.

Bauer Leadership Fellows

The Fellows program team building exercise

Developed in partnership with the Center for Experiential Learning (CEL), the program is designed for CEL Practicum project team leaders with plans to expand to other student leaders of client-based projects. View Fellows Program requirements and opportunities (PDF).

Sponsored Leadership Courses

Olin Business School offers a range of leadership courses in undergraduate, graduate, and executives programs beyond these sponsored courses. To understand which ones are the best fit for your education and career development, please discuss with your program office.

Leadership in the Trenches: Learning to Lead through Experience

This class is designed to help students advance their leadership capacity by engaging in and learning from a challenging leadership experience and is the core class required for all Bauer Leadership Fellows.

Defining Moments: Lessons in Leadership and Character from the Top

John Mozeliak, St. Louis CardinalsMost transformational leaders can point to a handful of key choice points that defined the trajectory of their character, their career, and their company. How can aspiring business leaders prepare themselves to face their defining moments with insight and integrity? This course examines these questions by learning from leaders who exemplify both business excellence and personal character.

These conversations are supplemented with contemporary cases and readings on leadership development and character.

Defining Moments Speakers, Spring 2021

Doug Charles, President of Americas, Korn Ferry
Laura Kaiser, President and Chief Executive Officer, SSM Health
Jim Kavanaugh, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, World Wide Technology
Orv Kimbrough, Chairman & CEO, Midwest BankCentre
Sue B. McCollum, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors
Penny Pennington, Managing Partner, Edward Jones
Tim Wentworth, Chief Executive Officer, Evernorth

Women in Leadership

Yemi Akande-Bartsch, FOCUS St. LouisNow in its fifth year, this course takes a multifaceted approach to studying women in leadership positions to better prepare students to lead in organizations.

Women in Leadership Class Speakers, Fall 2020

Akberet Boykin Farr, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Emerson
Maxine Clark, CEO and President of Clark Fox Foundation, Founder and Former CEO at Build-A-Bear
Kelly Joscelyne, Chief Talent Officer, Mastercard
Amy Kweskin, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Washington University
Betty Ng, Founder and CEO, Inspiring Diversity
Devon Pike, Chief Merchandising Officer, GAP

Leadership Programs and Degrees


BSBA Major in Organization and Strategic Management combines coursework in leadership, organizational behavior, strategy, and human resources. The major is ideal for students interested in management rotational programs, consulting, and/or human resource management.

The interdisciplinary Minor in Leadership is available to undergraduate students in Arts & Sciences, Engineering, and the Sam Fox School at WashU. It’s ideal for students interested in management rotational programs, consulting, and/or human resource management. Core course requirements include Individual in a Managerial Environment, Negotiation, Organization Behavior within the Firm, and Leadership in Organizations. Two Bauer Leadership Center courses—Defining Moments and Women and Leadership—are elective courses in this minor.

The Bauer Leadership Center recently helped to develop and launch a new Minor in the Business of Social Impact, which is available to undergraduate students from across WashU. This minor provides tools, frameworks, and experiences to help students become socially responsible leaders who use business as a tool for making a positive difference in society. The Bauer Center’s Defining Moments course will serve as the capstone for this minor.

Graduates from the Nonprofit Leaders Certificate in Business Management

Certificate in Business Management for Nonprofit Leaders

This innovative executive certificate program is offered by Olin Business School in partnership with the Brown School of Social Work and the United Way of Greater St. Louis. The program’s purpose is to present nonprofit executives with relevant business thinking that catalyzes agency growth and innovation.