The Executive MBA Leadership Development Program (LDP) intertwines with your current professional and personal experiences – your job, teamwork, classes, and personal life. When you choose to participate in LDP depends on your capacity and commitment. What your leadership development looks like depends on your personal goals and aspirations. LDP is not mandatory, but is highly encouraged as it enables you to become the leader you desire to be.

Why Participate?

Leaders at any level of an organization can always be more effective. We desire to help you better lead people and organizations in an ever-changing and complex global environment. Tailored and personalized to you, leadership development has one underlying goal: 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. We believe understanding your talents and recognizing undeveloped areas that may need bolstering set the foundation to help you achieve your career and personal goals.

How it Works?
Leadership Development Program
What to Expect?


The process of executive coaching is holistic and engages you in self-reflection and self-insight as you address questions and discover new ideas and perspectives. It will often begin with an analysis of the data you have about yourself, including your strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and values.

Your executive coach will be a “thinking partner” and sounding board with whom you will have dialogue over the course of five sessions. They will collaborate with you in a thought-provoking and creative process to maximize your personal and professional potential.

In addition, you have the opportunity to leverage The Hogan Assessment, which will help you gain insight into your strengths, challenges, how others perceive you, and how you can manage yourself differently to achieve personal leadership goals.

As you move through the process, you will become armed with new insights and learning which you can apply immediately in real-time. You will have the time to reflect on each experience, expand your perspective, and improve your capabilities.

Understand that leadership development is not a linear process. It will often feel messy, confusing and, at times, slow. Personal development is an incremental process. Alongside your executive coach, you will also have the LDP Team to support you as you do the hard work. Our goal is to offer guidance as you drive towards achieving your personal and professional goals and help you develop a habit of self-reflection as you learn from pivotal experiences throughout your career.


EMBA Student

"My coach and I spent a lot of time digging into what motivates me. By the end of our last session, it was like the pieces of a puzzle were coming together and I could start to see the bigger picture."

Mike Sumida, Executive MBA 2018

EMBA Alumni "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 from a different perspective and create action plans to positively resolve issues I’m dealing with."

DeWayne Todd Executive MBA 2017

EMBA Alum "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 Taylor, Executive MBA 2015


By the numbers


The number of years Vanderbilt's business school has incorporated the Leadership Development Program into its programs.

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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 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 I have completed my 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 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, we try to help you break down the 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 Vanderbilt 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?

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. Career management is about planning and evaluating 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, depending on how much (or little) you would like to focus on your personal leadership development journey. Your meeting schedule and/or programming may also differ depending on which program track you select. Learn more on the Leadership Development Page. 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.