Leadership Development: Courses and Programs

The Bauer Leadership Center develops and supports courses that emphasize values-based, data-driven leadership. These two guiding principles are grounded in the core values and identity of the Olin Business School and specify how one should operate in all one does as a leader.

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.

Bauer Leadership Fellows

The Fellows program team building exercise

The Bauer Leadership Fellows program helps students advance their leadership knowledge and skills and refine their personal values and strengths. The program combines challenging leadership experiences with assessments, coursework and coaching to help each individual maximize their leadership capacity. 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. It is the core class required for all Bauer Leadership Fellows. Participants in this class are required to apply and be accepted as a Team Lead for Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning Practicum Program.

Defining Moments: Lessons in Leadership and Character from the Top

Most transformational leaders can point to a handful of key moments 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.

“This has been one of the most impactful courses of my MBA career at Wash U Olin. The opportunity to speak to some of the top CEOs in their respective industries is invaluable and unlike any course here at the university. This course allowed me to listen to various perspectives and has opened my mind to different points of view on how to become a successful leader and create an impact in my company and community.
—Eddie Cohen, MBA Candidate

Aaron Powell Michelle Tucker Lal Karsanbhai Nina Leigh Krueger

Defining Moments Speakers, Spring 2023

John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations, St. Louis Cardinals
Lal Karsanbhai, President & CEO, Emerson
Sue McCollum, CEO, Eagle Brands Sales/ Double Eagle Distributing
Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO, Nestle Purina PetCare Company, North America
Michelle D. Tucker, President & CEO, United Way of Greater St. Louis
Bob Chapman, Chairman & CEO, Barry-Wehmiller
Aaron Powell, CEO, Pizza Hut Global

Women in Leadership

Yemi Akande-Bartsch, FOCUS St. LouisNow in its eighth year, this course focuses on learning from the experiences and insights of women who have achieved excellence and impact in leadership.

Women in Leadership Class Speakers, Fall 2022

Maxine Clark, CEO, Clark-Fox Family Foundation; Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop; Chief INspirator, The Delmar DivINe
Zoe Hillenmeyer, Chief Commercial Officer, Peak
Dr. Shantay N. Bolton, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Administrative Officer, Washington University in St. Louis
Kristen Wild, President and Chief Executive Officer, Operation Food Search
Cassandra Brown Ray, Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Saint Louis Zoo
Tina Garrison, President, SSM Health DePaul Hospital

Leadership Programs and Degrees


BSBA Major in Organization and Strategic Management, BSBA Minor in the Business of Social Impact, or Non-BSBA Program options for these areas of focus 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.