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 provides leadership development training for students in Practicum consulting teams.The Bauer Leadership Fellows program helps students advance their leadership capacity by refining and embracing their values and strengths as leaders.

Developed in partnership with the Center for Experiential Learning (CEL), the program is designed for CEL Practicum project team leaders. 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.

Defining Moments: Lessons in Leadership and Character from the Top

Most 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.

2017 Defining Moments Speakers

Bob Chapman, Chairman and CEO, Barry-Wehmiller
Maxine Clark, Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop; CEL, Clark-Fox Family Foundation
Orvin Kimbrough, President and CEO, United Way of Greater St. Louis
Mike Matheny, Manager, St. Louis Cardinals
Sue McCollum, Chairman and CEO, Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors
John Stroup, President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, Belden
Diane Sullivan, CEO, President, and Chairman, Caleres

Women and Leadership

This course takes a multi-faceted approach to prepare students for leadership in organizations. Students learn from transformational women leaders who share their experiences, insights, and advice with the class.

These conversations are supplemented with cases and readings about women leaders from a range of organizations, and a review of research-based evidence about the status of women as leaders. Students also engage in deep reflection about their career expectations and pathways to become effective and inclusive leaders in increasingly diverse organizations.

2016 Women and Leadership Speakers

Karen Branding, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Cindy Brinkley, Executive Vice President, Centene
Jennifer Ehlen, CEO, Prosper Institute and Managing Partner, PWE Startup Accelerator
Shelley Lavender, President, Boeing Military Aircraft
Beth Miller, EVP, CFO, and Chief Administrative Officer, Nidec
Merry Mosbacher, Principal, Insurance and Annuity Products, Edward Jones

Professor Jackson Nickerson teaches "Daring to Lead."

Daring to Lead

This intensive weeklong Brooking Executive Education course provides a foundation for courageous leadership and teaches you how to best design and adapt organizations in a government context. Hear from world-class Washington University faculty and C-suite guest speakers who will share how they found the courage to act. Read more and register.

Leadership Programs and Degrees


BSBA Major in Leadership and Strategic Management combines coursework in leadership, organizational behavior, strategy, and human resources. The Leadership 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.

Executive Master of Science in Leadership

Developed in partnership with the Brookings Institution, the Master of Science in Leadership (MSL) degree is designed to help leaders develop their skills for service as senior federal executives. The program combines the business acumen of Olin faculty with the Brookings Institution’s research and policy expertise. The MSL degree is an executive-level master’s degree designed for working professionals.