Leadership Initiative

Students standing in O-H-I-O pose at the Fisher College of Business.

We develop principled leaders.

Leadership is a set of behaviors and an influence process that is rooted in values and principles. For every clear ethical situation, there are myriad "gray area" decisions where leaders' words and actions privilege certain socially desirable values over others. This comes at the expense of engaging in open, vulnerable conversations about the values at stake for the leader, for others, or for the organization. Ultimately, equipping leaders to handle these "shades of gray" is one of the most critical challenges facing our society and it urgently needs our attention. 

At Max M. Fisher College of Business, we are preparing our students to handle these "shades of gray" — Decisions which are neither right nor wrong, black nor white, ethical nor unethical through curricular and co-curricular experiences.

  • 72.5% of companies are looking to hire students who have demonstrated leadership through extracurricular experiences.
    National Association for Colleges and Employers, 2020

Undergraduate Experiences

  • BUILD Leadership Assessment

    A self-awareness tool that measures behaviors across 18 unique leadership competencies.

  • Crisis Leadership Case

    Students work in teams to navigate high-pressure, ambiguous situations and test their ability to emerge as leaders.

    Crisis Case
  • Dean's Leadership Academy

    An experiential, 15-credit hour leadership certificate program.

    Dean's Leadership Academy
  • Leading Expeditions

    A rock climbing and outdoor adventure program in which students immerse themselves in the study and application of high-stakes leadership.

    Leading Expeditions
  • Leadership Labs

    Two-part leadership development experience in which students engage and apply competencies from the BUILD Leadership Assessment.

    Leadership Labs
  • Women's Leadership Series

    Opportunities for women at Fisher to cultivate leadership skills and build social capital.

    Women's Leadership Series
  • 15,000+ students have completed the BUILD Leadership Assessment since 2017
  • 2,100+ students complete a Crisis Leadership Case each year
  • 500+ enrollments in Dean's Leadership Academy courses each year


ELEVATE Leadership Development Study

A cutting-edge study to understand the best ways to develop the leadership skills of undergraduate students at The Ohio State University. Read about our findings here!

Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire

Developed by Ohio State Leadership Studies team and R. Stogdil in 1963, the LBDQ is widely used to assess and describe leader behaviors. Gain free access here!

University Research Grants and Registry

The Leadership Initiative has supported 37 projects spanning 14 disciplines in the study of leadership across The Ohio State University. Learn more about our research grant program here!


Executive Education

The Leadership Initiative partners with Executive Education to deliver high-quality leadership development experiences for organizations. Partner with us!

Lead Read Today

A platform that provides evidence-based leadership and management best practices to assist current or emerging leaders. Read our latest articles here!


The Leadership Initiative is a monthly podcast series that explores the art and science of leadership through thought-provoking conversations with experts, thought leaders, and change-makers. Listen to the latest episodes here!