The Johnson Leadership Fellows program is an experiential leadership opportunity for second-year MBA students in the full-time program.

Johnson Leadership Fellows are all assigned one Core Team of first-year MBA students whom they coach, mentor, and advise throughout the fall core curriculum.

Leadership Fellows

Selection Process

Johnson Leadership Fellows are selected in the spring of their first year and are nominated by the Johnson core faculty and by their own Leadership Fellows. Nominations are based on:

  • outstanding academic performance;
  • contributions to—and conduct during—core classes;
  • demonstrated leadership potential;
  • performance as a Core Team project leader; and,
  • contributions as a Core Team member.

Candidates must receive multiple nominations in order to be invited to apply. They then go through a rigorous application, an interview, and selection process.


Johnson Leadership Fellows are required to:

  • participate in an intensive training immersion prior to the start of second-year classes;
  • take a 3.0 credit course, “Johnson Leadership Fellows” during the fall semester of their second year;
  • coach, mentor, and advise one or two first-year core teams;
  • serve as co-instructors for “Johnson Team Leadership Practicum,” a required course for all first-year students;
  • assist in the judging and organization of core curriculum case competitions as needed; and,
  • model Johnson’s values in and outside the classroom.

Program Benefits

The most important benefit of being a Johnson Leadership Fellow is the opportunity to further develop and grow as a leader. If you are selected as a Johnson Leadership Fellow, you will:

  • further develop your coaching, mentoring, and analytical skills; 
  • receive specialized training through a 3.0-credit, full-semester course designed for Johnson Leadership Fellows;
  • have the opportunity to put that training immediately into practice, receiving feedback on your efforts and using those insights to adjust your leadership style;
  • join and get to know a cohort of Johnson Leadership Fellows; and,
  • make significant contributions to the first-year class and to the school.

Program Leadership

The program is led by Senior Lecturer of Leadership Risa Mish and is supported by Director of Leadership Programs Jerry Rizzo and Associate Director of Leadership Programs Ingrid Jensen.

Sierra Stewart

Prior to being a JLF I had gotten a good deal of leadership experience, but very little coaching experience. Since the role is really about coaching your team in support of a great outcome, rather than leading them to it, the program is an awesome way to build this crucial, but less practiced, skill.

– Sierra Stewart, MBA '15

Asion Jackson

The JLF program helped me to understand that leadership is not about having all of the solutions to every problem, but having a process to get solutions to any problem. I learned how to ask big questions that helped my core team discover their own solutions to the problems they faced. This experience forced me to grow as a leader, team member, and as a person in general.

– Asion Jackson, MBA '15

Charles Vick

The real leadership experience you get as a JLF will jumpstart your post-MBA career.

– Charles Vick, MBA '15

Mary Foukleva

One of the most valuable experiences during my two years at Johnson was the work we did as Johnson Leadership Fellows on determining our core values. Leadership is not a means to an end; it’s a journey of self-discovery. I came to Johnson to learn about business and strategy, and while I accomplished that, I now realize that I learned even more about myself. The JLF program was a big part of that.

– Mary Foukleva, MBA '12

Kavya Krishna

If you are ready to push yourself as a leader and take on challenging situations, this is a great development opportunity.

– Kavya Krishna, MBA '12

David Andros

Becoming a Johnson Leadership Fellow was important to me because it was a way to give back to the school while also working on my leadership skills.

– David Andros, MBA '12