About the Program and Our Mission

The Coles College Leadership Scholars Program is a leadership development program designed to give high-achieving, highly motivated business students unique opportunities that challenge them, expand their capabilities, and improve their professional networks. If you are a high-performing business student looking to maximize your college experience, then this program may be for you.

The mission of the Coles College of Business Leadership Scholars Program is to give our exceptional business students unique and challenging opportunities. These students are selected through a rigorous application and interview process that brings their skills and talents to the surface. The coordinated two-year program focuses on leadership development, integrated experiences, community engagement, and mentorship.

We expect Leadership Scholars to uphold the core values of Accountability, Integrity, Stewardship, and Excellence as tenets for the Leadership Scholars program. Coles College Leadership Scholars strive for academic excellence and thrive off interaction with peers, Coles College faculty, and community leaders.

Apply to the Leadership Scholars Program

The Coles College Leadership Scholars Program is looking for the next cohort of scholars. Applications for Cohort Twelve will be available on December 1st. Learn more about the application process, benefits and more.

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Program Structure

While there are many features of the Leadership Scholars Program, the progression is driven by 6 main components during two academic years: the Kickoff Retreat and Five Specialized Courses.

The Kickoff Retreat happens just before the start of the fall semester as students enter the program. It is an opportunity to bond with the new cohort, network with business leaders, learn, and have some fun.

The Five Specialized Courses, which comprise the Coles College Leadership Scholars Minor, take place in a lockstep Fall – Spring – Maymester – Fall – Spring structure. These courses are only available to members of the Leadership Scholars Program and the cohort proceeds together through them sequentially. 

Our Five Courses

  • Students learn to leverage their individual strengths and the strengths of others through case-based scenarios, simulations, role plays, and assessments completed through hands-on leadership labs. Through interaction with business leaders, students will develop and apply insights to their personalized leadership plan. 
  • Using many small and large problem solving opportunities, students gain fundamental critical thinking skills and apply decision making methodologies and tools. There will be an emphasis on a wide variety of problems, including those that deal with uncertainty and equivocality, as well as factors that are measurable or hard to quantify.
  • In this course, students enrolled in the Coles College Leadership Scholars Program will participate in an immersion experience designed to immerse students in a business or technology environment focused on student learning. Students will utilize leadership and teaming skills learned in CSCH 4010 and problem-solving and decision-making techniques practiced in CSCH 4020 to work together as a team to solve problems. Through this active participation in the immersion experience, scholars will gain an understanding of the multi-dimensional challenges and opportunities faced by businesses.
  • This course will introduce students to both the processes (contracting, data gathering, and delivery) and the human interactions that underlie effective consulting engagements and change management efforts. The course will draw on a variety of resources, including guest speakers in the classroom and applied experiences at local firms. During these applied experiences, teams of students will engage and work with clients on current challenges.
  • This course will walk students through the process of defining problems in business, developing hypotheses, determining appropriate data to test, collecting that data, and analyzing the information. There will be a focus on dealing with large data sources, planning business strategies for collecting data over time, and effectively sharing results.

Program Features and Engagement Opportunities

  • Specialized and Unique Coursework
  • Extensive Networking Opportunities with community and business leaders
  • Real Consulting Projects across the Scholars courses
  • Company Site Visits and guest speakers
  • Deep relationships with cohort members
  • Membership with the prior cohorts as graduates of the Leadership Scholars Program
  • Coles College Leadership Scholars Minor on your transcript 

Program Requirements

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher overall and in Coles College lower division GPA requirement
  • Admittance into the Coles College Professional Program
  • Available for a 2-year commitment to complete the program
  • Maintaining an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher throughout the program
  • Adherence to the requirements and expectations in the Coles College Leadership Scholars Handbook

Leadership Scholars Program FAQ’s

  • Yes, you can apply to the Leadership Scholars Program prior to admittance into the Coles College. In fact, most students apply before completing their lower division core classes. Please note – before beginning the program, you must complete your lower division core classes with a 3.5 GPA (ACCT 2100, ACCT 2200, BLAW 2200, ECON 2100, ECON 2200, ECON 2300, IS 2200, MATH Requirement) and be accepted into the Coles College of Business.
  • No. The program is cohort-based; therefore, each cohort starts the program in the fall semester.
  • No, as long as you are able to honor the two-year commitment to complete the program. There are multiple ways to approach this depending on your individual circumstances. You could take fewer courses each semester, take on an additional major/minor, add internships, or work full-time while completing the program. We can help you determine what the best route might be for you.
  • No. The five courses for the Leadership Scholars Minor are taught in sequence and offered once each year. Leadership Scholars students must complete all of the courses in order to fulfill the requirements of the program.
  • Our Program is separate from the University Honors program. However, our courses have been pre- approved to substitute for Honors requirements. We can also assist honors students in identifying a faculty advisor for the honors thesis. Applicants need not be in the Honors Program to be eligible.
  • Yes, you are able to have two minors.
  • Yes. The offsite retreat is mandatory. The retreat provides the foundation for the cohort to start bonding and learning together – plus it is a ton of fun!
  • The time and day can change each semester, but this is set well in advance to provide ample planning for class schedules and work. The class duration will always be 2 hours and 45 minutes once per week.
  • Though we can accept up to 25 students, generally there are 16-20 students for each cohort.
  • The Leadership Scholars program is a supplement to your major in the form of a minor. All of the major requirements for your degree must still be met to graduate with your BBA. Leadership Scholars courses can be used for business electives in your major if you have not already consumed those hours with other courses.
  • The goal of the program is to minimize the financial costs for students. You must cover the tuition and fee costs of additional courses (personally or through scholarships), and other incidental expenses. Currently, the program is able to cover the cost of the books and materials required for the Leadership Scholars courses. In your senior year, depending on availability, there are scholarship opportunities available to help offset additional costs.