The Johnson MBA: A Real-World Leadership Lab

When you pursue your MBA at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, you enter a real-world leadership lab.

Leadership development is embedded into nearly every aspect of our full-time Two-Year MBA program, from coursework to mentorship to a robust selection of experiential learning opportunities. It begins before your first semester with our 4Cs Leadership Assessment.

Our Framework: How Leaders Develop at the Johnson School

Our MBA leadership development program is rooted in the 4Cs Leadership Framework.


Your principles, your values, and what you stand for as a leader.


How you think, process, and respond to complex problems.


The respect and care you show for those you lead and work with.


Standing for what’s right and leading through difficult situations.

Everything you’ll do at the Johnson School—from your core coursework to hands-on learning experiences—will develop these four aspects of your leadership capabilities throughout your master’s.

Explore the 4Cs

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Learning by Leading: Program Overview

Our approach to leadership development is based on a continuous cycle of instruction, experience, and review. This means you won’t just learn about leadership in the classroom; you’ll apply those lessons and receive feedback in real time. Through this cycle of learning and application, you will grow as a leader and discover more about yourself and your leadership style.

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Types of Leadership Experiences at the Johnson School

You’ll develop as a leader in formal and informal ways throughout your time at the Johnson School, including your required coursework and electives, and by opting into experiential learning opportunities like student organization leadership, case competitions, and expeditions and excursions.

Leadership Foundations

Your Johnson School leadership journey begins with a common set of required experiences, starting from day one with interrelated leadership courses. Leadership electives and a deep dive into a topic of your choice will further expand your leadership knowledge.

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Johnson Outdoor Experience (J.O.E.)

Your MBA experience begins with a team-based outdoor orientation retreat in the Finger Lakes region.

MBA students in a classroom.

Core Team Practicum and Leading Teams

Learn how to lead—and contribute to—high-performing teams in these classes taken at the start of the MBA.

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Leadership Electives
A sampling: Leading across Differences; Women in Leadership; and Power and Politics in Organizations.

Customize Your MBA Leadership Training

During your time at the Johnson School, you can enrich your leadership development with experiential opportunities from leading student organizations to putting your skills to the test on a multi-day leadership expedition off-campus.

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Student Leadership Roles

A chance to lead your peers and put your leadership skills into action within the Johnson community

Students sit around a table working collaboratively.

Leadership Workshops

A range of interactive workshops to help you identify and build the skills critical to your growth

Students climb up a snowy mountainside in Patagonia.

Expeditions and Excursions
Intensive leadership experiences with real consequences, taking place in the wilderness, on military bases, and elsewhere

MBA students post with a check.

Leadership Crisis Challenge
A unique opportunity to step into company leadership and use leadership skills to resolve an unfolding crisis in real time.

Dive Deeper into Your Leadership

Enrich your Johnson School MBA experience by participating in one or more selective fellowship programs.

Johnson Leadership Fellows

These second-year MBAs coach first-year teams while taking a customized leadership course.

Johnson Board Fellowship

Johnson Board Fellows sit on local nonprofit boards as nonvoting members and complete service projects for their community organizations.

Grand Challenges Coaches

Grand Challenges coaches work with Dyson School undergraduate teams on capstone projects, coaching them to deliver great results.

Park Leadership Fellows

The Roy H. Park Leadership Fellows program is a by-invitation opportunity that provides full tuition and special leadership development opportunities.

Our MBA Leadership Programs Team

Headshot of Laura Georgianna.

Laura Georgianna

Executive Director of Leadership Programs

Headshot of Jackie Barrett.

Jackie Barrett

Associate Director of Leadership Programs

Headshot of Shari Halladay.

Shari Halladay

Park Leadership Fellowship Assistant

Apply to the MBA Program

Learn to Lead at the Johnson School

Ready for an MBA program that challenges you to lead the way—in ways you didn’t think were possible? Apply to our full-time, two-year, Ithaca-based residential program.