MBA Leadership Development Program

By the numbers

Why Participate?

Students who opt into the Leadership Development Program (LDP) are self-motivated to improve their leadership skills. They see the two years at Vanderbilt as an opportunity to do more than just gain technical skills. They see the opportunity to learn more about themselves, broaden their perspective, gain additional leadership skills, and increase their leadership agility. Even with the understanding that leadership development can be messy, confusing, and slow, they are willing to put in the time and effort needed to improve.

If you’re willing to invest in the leadership development process, you can leverage the resources the Leadership Development Program offers to achieve your incremental goals and look back on your MBA experience with a sense of personal achievement. Take a look at the examples of student outcomes to get an idea of how the Leadership Development Program can help you reach your personal and professional goals.




Hogan Assessment, Debrief & 1:1

Before you arrive at Vanderbilt, you’ll be asked to complete the Hogan Leadership Assessment, which is a personality-based assessment used globally by Fortune 500 companies to hire and develop individual leaders like you. By taking Hogan, you will get three reports that offer insight into how you approach work and working with others, your behavior under stress, how you can be perceived by others, and your values and motivations. This will be the foundation upon which your Leadership Development Program experience will build over your time at Vanderbilt.

Once you arrive on campus, you will receive your assessment report in a group debrief and work with an LDP team member one-on-one to dive into your results. You will glean insights into your strengths and weaknesses and how you might manage yourself to further your personal leadership goals. This is done not with the intent of changing or “improving” your personality, but instead to help you build leadership skills that work for you, developing your personal leadership style based on your preferences, tendencies as well as your personal and professional goals and priorities.

Working with the LDP Team

Many students choose to continue meeting with a LDP Team member beyond the dive into their Hogan results. Occasionally, the LDP Team member might suggest or recommend you meet with another team member to gain a different perspective or insight. The relationship with the LDP Team doesn’t end once you begin executive coaching; rather, they are a resource to help you get the most out of executive coaching and continue to support you in working on your leadership complimenting your executive coaching.

Executive Coaching

Executive coaching is an element and one of the highlights of the Leadership Development Program. In addition to working with the LDP team, you can work with a professional, certified Executive Coach. Your executive coach will serve as a thinking partner through a process of inquiry and dialogue.

It is a cliché but true for executive coaching that what you put into it is what you are going to get out of it. The executive coaches help facilitate learning that you will take beyond Vanderbilt and as they do so, they support your leadership and success while at Vanderbilt. To maximize your executive coaching sessions, be ready to dialogue, be open and vulnerable, and challenge yourself. Look at the 5 keys to LDP success for more information.

Tailor Your Experience

You have an opportunity to choose how you want to participate in executive coaching: Individual Approach or Flex Approach. The key is to choose the Leadership Development Program approach that best suits you individually. There is no wrong decision; there’s just the best decision for you, your learning style, your goals, and your interests. No matter what you decide, you will continue to learn and stretch yourself as long as you invest in the process.


Individual Approach

LDP Pathway to Leadership: Individual ApproachIf you are seeking not just to improve as a leader, but also to deeply reflect and gain an understanding of possible root causes for the leadership ideas and habits you have already built, the Individual Approach may be a good choice for you. In the Individual Approach, you will dialogue one-on-one with an executive coach who will ask questions, suggest new ideas, challenge your thinking, and provide an outside perspective. With this approach, you will get your coach match at the beginning of Mod 2 and have four one-on-one coaching sessions through mid-March.

Flex Approach

LDP Pathway to Leadership: Flex ApproachIf you want to focus your attention in the first two mods on academic success, or job search, or acclimation to U.S. culture, or a host of other priorities; or if you are simply not ready or interested in the individual reflection and commitment required by the Individual Approach, the Flex Approach may be a good choice for you. The Flex Approach offers you the opportunity to engage with an executive coach for two individual coaching sessions at any point during your first year of the MBA program.

Summer Internship Support

As executive coaching winds down for the Individual and Shared Approaches, Professor Tim Vogus facilitates a capstone learning session to help you and your classmates exchange ideas and learning from your Leadership Development Program experiences to sustain your learning and put it into practice during your summer. The LDP team will also walk through second-year leadership development programming.
Additionally, you can meet individually with a member of the Leadership Development Program team before, during, and/or after your summer internship to:

  • Proactively think about how you want to leverage what you have learned about yourself over the summer.
  • Gain help processing feedback from your employer, or if you want to redirect your leadership development goals midstream.
  • Reflect upon and capture your learning from the summer internship experience.
  • Think through how you want build on what you’ve learned in your first year and summer in your second year.

Online resources will also be available throughout the summer to support you.


LDP—Year One

Q. How do you match students with coaches?

This process is part art and part science. We leverage our conversations with you, your survey data, your Hogan results (with your permission) and what we know of the coaches to make the match. Every coach we have is capable of coaching any student, so match is really about trying to help ensure an expedited rapport-building process to help you maximize the four sessions you have with your coach. The thing to remember is that the coaches aren’t your best friend, which means you don’t have to have a permanent relationship with them to learn from them.

Q. How does the program mirror best practices from industry?

We reach out to the industry often to stay current with best practices and to learn of ways we can incorporate them into your leadership development programming (LDP). LDP resembles best practices in the industry in the ways we help develop students as organizations develop their high-potential leaders. For example, we use tools and resources used widely in the industry such as the Hogan Leadership Assessment paired with Executive Coaching by experienced executive coaches.

Q. Is the Leadership Development Program (LDP) part of the curriculum?

No, LDP is not part of any curriculum at Vanderbilt’s Owen business school. By design, LDP is co-curricular and supplements your academic work to help you develop as a more capable, well-rounded business professional. Just like in full-time jobs, 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.

Q. If Leadership Development Program (LDP) is not part of the curriculum, why do students participate?

What you learn about yourself through LDP can shape how you perform during your internship, how you lead or contribute to high-functioning student and work teams, and how you set goals to build your career.

Q. What is the Hogan Assessment?

The Hogan Assessment is a personality-based assessment used by more than half of the Fortune 500 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 insight into your natural leadership style, how you approach stress and your values and motivations.

Q. Can I take Hogan in my native language?

Hogan is offered in 42 different languages, including German, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean. You can take the assessment in your native language if offered but all reports will be generated in English.

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 as well as existing and future leaders in industry. 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 or relevant graduate education or coursework and training.

Q. Is there a Leadership class that I can take?

There are lots of classes at Owen that teach leadership skills, like Leading Teams and Organizations (LTO) or Managerial and Organizational Effectiveness (MOE). These classes are part of the curriculum, and while LDP often partners with them, they are not part of LDP.

Q. How accessible are the LDP resources? Is there a limit to the number who can participate?

The LDP resources are very accessible. Anyone who wants to participate can. There is no limit to the number of students who can participate in the Individual, Shared or Flex Approach in Year 1, or in Year 2. There may be some supplemental speakers or programming that are space limited based on the format or room location. But in general, the opportunities are accessible and open to all.

Q. What are the types of things students work on with their coach in Individual and Shared Approach?

It varies widely from student to student, by design. 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.

Q. How many students are in a Shared Approach group?

Three to four students make up a Shared Approach group and are matched with one Executive Coach. The group stays the same throughout all four sessions, which often fosters stronger bonds amongst the group members and with the coach.