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 WashU 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.

Sponsored Leadership Courses

WashU Olin Business School offers a range of leadership courses in undergraduate, graduate and executive 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 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

Defining Moments Speakers Class Speakers, Spring 2024 class:

  • Yemi S. Akande-Bartsch, Ph.D., President and CEO, FOCUS St. Louis
  • Bob Chapman, Chairman and CEO, Barry-Wehmiller
  • Michael Holmes, Founder, Rx Outreach
  • Alaina Maciá, President and CEO, MTM
  • Aaron Powell, CEO, Pizza Hut Global
  • Tony Ryan, Partner, President and Chief Executive Officer, Arrowstreet Capital, LP
  • Michelle D. Tucker, President & Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Greater St. Louis

Women in Leadership

A woman in professional clothing speaking to a room of individuals

Now 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 2023

  • Akberet Boykin Farr, Vice President, Human Resources, Emerson
  • Maxine K. Clark, CEO, Clark-Fox Family Foundation Founder, Build-A-Bear Workshop; Chief INspirator, The Delmar DivINe
  • Lori Coulter, Co-Founder and CEO, Summersalt
  • Reetika Grewal, EVP, Head of Digital for Commercial Banking and Corporate & Investment Banking, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Aimee Wehmeier, President, Paraquad
  • Sunny Yi, VP, General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer, Adidas Asia Pacific and Greater China

Leadership Programs and Degrees


Our 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.