Hear directly from students
about the value of the Leadership
Development Program.

The Owen LDP has provided me with very specific career advice and guidance that was customized to my situation. Through the discussions with my executive coach, I’ve been able to work through topics and experiences within both my personal and professional life that have helped me see them from a different perspective and to create action plans to positively resolve issues I’m dealing with.

DeWayne Todd Executive MBA 2017


Woven throughout the Executive MBA experience, our Leadership Development Program (LDP) gives you the head start you need to manage, motivate, and lead others in a complex and ever changing global business environment. Assess your personal leadership style, identify your strengths and challenges, and gain new insights through executive coaching. Leverage what you learn to better manage and motivate teams, influence stakeholders, and execute change so that you can accelerate advancement in your career and lead more effectively. Our program is designed to offer you access to the best-in-class diagnostic tools and support you need to learn, practice, modify and grow your leadership skills.

Why Participate

Don’t just learn to manage. Learn to lead.

Leaders at all levels of an organization can always be more effective. Understanding your talents and recognizing your undeveloped areas that may need bolstering sets the foundation to help you achieve your career goals. LDP is integrated in a way that is tailored and personalized to you. The underlying goal of leadership development is to help you learn, grow and develop your individual capacity as a leader no matter what function, industry, or current role you have or desire.

How it Works

Meet with your individual executive coach five times over a 6-month period of time, equivalent to a common coaching engagement externally, either starting towards the beginning or end of your first year of the program. Leverage data from the diagnostic assessment tools as well as your personal, on-the-job experiences—as sources of lessons that can be applied and guide you as you move forward in the program and in your career.

Understand that leadership development can be a messy, confusing, and slow process. Be willing to put the time and effort needed to improve. Like any feedback you receive, you determine what action you want to take and how much. If you are willing to invest in the process, you can attain your incremental goals and look back on the Executive MBA experience with a sense of personal achievement.

What to Expect

The Executive MBA Leadership Development Program is designed to be an experience that is layered onto your full-time job role, your teamwork with your C-Team, and your classes, particularly those in your final semester like Launching the Ventures and Capstone Strategy Project.  The LDP experience focuses on three stages of leadership development.

Vanderbilt Executive MBA students benefit from the Hogan assessment and executive coaching.Assess

Begin with the end in mind. Ask yourself questions like the following:

  • What non-technical skills will enhance my leadership capability in addition to those technical skills I will gain at Vanderbilt?
  • What leadership skills do I need to be better at my current job?
  • What leadership skills do I need for my next job?
  • How can I better influence those around me?
  • What type of leader do I want to be?

Working one-on-one with an Executive Coach may challenge your thinking around these types of questions, bring fresh perspectives on personal challenges, increase self-confidence or increase satisfaction with life and work.

Start by assessing your personal leadership style through the experiences you have had to this point in your career. Determine what has worked and what has not.

Take the Hogan Assessment which will help you glean insight into your strengths and challenges, how others may perceive you, and how you might manage yourself differently to achieve the goals you have set for yourself. You may also choose to engage people with whom you work closely to make the most of their insights and feedback on your performance through the Korn Ferry KF360 tool.


Put your insights and learning to work immediately in real-time, on-the-job, in the classroom or in your C-Teams.

Throughout your program, you will work on teams that offer you opportunities to try new strategies and management approaches.  Whether practicing new leadership skills in your your full-time role, in your various class deliverables, or in the Capstone Strategy Project during which you and your team manage a real-time project for an organization, you’ll have a chance to take action on the goals you set for yourself at the start of coaching experience. Then, you can use the time with your executive coach to reflect on how you have applied your newly identified leadership skills, and continue to expand and improve your capabilities.

Vanderbilt Executive MBA students benefit from the Hogan Assessment and executive coaching.



By the end of the Executive MBA program, you will have applied your new leadership skills in multiple contexts, including your project teams and on your job, experienced real-time feedback from your fellow classmates and work colleagues, and progressed in your areas for improvement. Wrap up the program experience by reflecting on your development plan and enhanced leadership style. Build your personalized leadership action plan that will help you continue to achieve your goals. Share your plan, especially with those in your job who can support you in your continued journey to effectively manage and motivate others. With disciplined reflection and a new set of tools, you will have the foundation for thinking and acting like an executive in your organization.

They have helped me develop a better understanding of ways in which my personal style and characteristics, as well as the approaches I bring to problem-solving influence my efficacy as a leader.

Jennifer TaylorExecutive MBA 2015



Executive MBA Leadership Development

Q. What is the Hogan Assessment?

Hogan is a personality-based assessment used by more than half of Fortune 500 companies to hire and develop individual leaders like you. Hogan was developed to improve workplace performance and is used among companies globally to do so. By taking Hogan, you will get three reports that give you insight into your natural leadership style, how you approach stress, and your values and motivations.

Q. What is a 360 assessment or survey?

A 360 is a tool used to provide you confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around you. Typically, this includes your boss(es), peers, direct reports, customers, and others. At Owen, Executive MBA students will have the opportunity to leverage the Korn Ferry KF 360 tool as part of their experience if they would like additional data regarding their leadership style and its efficacy (optional).

Q. What is executive coaching?

It is a collaborative, mutually designed relationship between you and a qualified executive coach. It is a formal engagement for a period of agreed upon time and to reach agreed upon goals. It is about exploring together to create a path of where you are today and where you want to be in the future by determining what the gaps are and how to close the gaps through learning and action.

Q. Who are the executive coaches?

Our executive coaches in the Owen Coaching Network are a carefully vetted, high-performing set of independent coaches whose full-time job is to coach executives, leaders, and future industry leaders. Five coaches specifically work with the Executive MBA students. Their primary clients are corporate leaders, and they take on as many Owen student coaching clients as their schedules will allow in a given year. Our coaches are qualified and certified by the International Coaching Federation, and the coaches who work with Executive MBA students are a specific sub-set of the larger network. Our coaches all have extensive experience working as executives and/or coaching experienced executives.

Q. What happens after the five coaching sessions?

Throughout the Executive MBA program, the LDP Team is always a resource to you. We are happy to meet with you one-on-one to support you during coaching, if needed, as well as once you have finished the coaching engagement to determine the best course of action for you.

Q. What are the types of things students work on with their executive coach?

It varies widely from student to student, by design. But, to help give you a picture of what types of things students work on, here are some examples: increasing confidence, dealing with ambiguity, becoming less of a perfectionist, managing stress, reducing self-critical thoughts, managing conflict, speaking up when you aren’t an expert on a topic, enhancing listening skills, and asking more questions just to name a few. 

Since the leadership journey is a lifelong one, part of what we try to do is help you break down these larger themes into manageable chunks with specific strategies and tactics for addressing them. Despite starting with small and seemingly simple tasks to help improve each desired area doesn't mean that those specific strategies and tactics are easy, which is what makes leadership so challenging and so rewarding. 

Our goal is for each student to leave Owen with greater self-awareness and improved leadership skills and for them to leave with the tools for continuing to grow their leadership capabilities throughout their career.

Q. How does leadership development differ from career management? What are the synergies?

Career management is about planning and evaluating your career trajectory. Leadership development is about empowering you with the tools and skills to assess your strengths, weaknesses and effectiveness so that you can better learn from your experiences and build personal development growth habits as you progress through your career trajectory.

Q. What if engaging with an executive coach for a 6-month period seems overwhelming or is not appealing?

There are several options. You can explore executive coaching through just two meetings during the spring semester of your second-year. This may be an opportunity to work through your transition plan for life after Owen. Or, you can attend programming such as a panel discussion designed to help you transition either from first year to second year in the program or life after Owen rather than engage with an executive coach. Finally, you can do nothing with LDP. If your priority and/or focus is career, then participate in programming offered by the Career Management Center.

Q. Is the leadership development program part of the curriculum?

No, LDP is not part of any curriculum at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. By design, LDP supplements your academic work to help you develop as a more capable, well-rounded business professional. Just like in business, when your company offers you access to resources dedicated to high-potential leaders, your level of initiative, openness to new challenges, and drive for success is demonstrated by how you leverage those resources.

Your Team

Melinda Allen
Melinda Allen
Executive Director, Leadership Development Programs
Emiko Baldwin
Emiko Baldwin
Senior Manager, Leadership Development Programs
Laura Wright
Laura Wright
Manager, Leadership Development Programs
See All