Published: Aug. 1, 2023

A student in the Business Leadership program speaks into a microphone while delivering a presentation as part of the program.

Students in the Office of Diversity Affairs KeyBank Business Leadership Program worked to solve a business challenge with corporate partners KeyBank, Key Equipment Finance, Deloitte and Enterprise, as well as two of Leeds’ Centers for Excellence, the CU Real Estate Center and Burridge Center for Finance. They presented their solutions to judges and peers. 

The new academic year doesn’t officially kick off until late August, but students are still filling the classrooms at Leeds School of Business.

Each summer, the school’s Office of Diversity Affairs hosts several programs designed for underrepresented high school students who want to start exploring college and career opportunities.

During the KeyBank Business Leadership Program (BLP), held June 11-17, rising high school seniors and incoming first-year Leeds students came to campus to learn more about business topics and collaboratively solve real-world problems. As teams, they worked on a case challenge presented by a corporate or school partner and presented their teams' solutions to judges and their peers, with members of the winning team taking home $2,000 scholarships upon their acceptance and enrollment. 

In addition to the case challenge, BLP students participated in professional and academic development sessions with school staff as well as sessions preparing them to apply to Leeds and start their college journey.

Participants in the 2023 Leeds Women in Business Case Competition pose in front of the Koelbel Building. Just a few weeks later, another group of rising seniors and incoming first-year Business Buffs were on hand for the Women in Business Case Competition. Participants were tasked with helping partner Rudi’s Rocky Mountain Bakery minimize waste, maximize operational efficiency and manage surplus.

Workshops throughout the program—led by faculty members including Bonnie Auslander and Stacey Edgar—helped students develop their understanding of key concepts and polish their presentation skills. Competitors came away with more than an unforgettable experience: They all received $500 scholarships to attend Leeds upon their acceptance. Members of the winning team received an additional scholarship and the chance to visit Rudi’s facility and meet with the CEO.

A select group of incoming students also participated in KeyBank Summer Bridge Program, part of the Leeds EXCEL Scholars Program. During the three-week program in July, EXCEL Scholars received an in-depth introduction to their first-semester business courses, met with corporate partners, and connected with Leeds faculty, staff and students. This immersive experience served to familiarize the scholars with the various academic support systems that Leeds provides. 

“The program has played an integral part in setting up my academic success while allowing me to shine professionally,” said Roy Park (InfoMgmt, BA’24), who participated in the Summer Bridge before coming to Leeds and now serves as its student coordinator. “The EXCEL Scholars Program changed my life forever.”

Gearing Up for Graduate School

John Helmers speaks to graduate students during an orientation session.Incoming undergraduates aren’t the only students experiencing what Leeds offers. Orientation for the school’s graduate programs kicked off in the spring and continues through late August.

Sessions bring together people from each program to meet others in their cohort as well as program faculty and staff, explained Lydia Supplee, assistant director for Leeds Graduate Student Services. This year’s orientations also include information to help Business Buffs in and out of the classroom, including programming on defining self-care as a graduate student and bystander intervention training.

Professional MBA students enjoyed a keynote from alumnus Michael Leeds, and Professor Joshua Nunziato led an engaging session focused on values and ethical principles for navigating the mid-career workplace that will also be shared with full-time MBAs. Upcoming orientations for master’s in finance and real estate students will include workshops and bootcamps focused on accounting and Excel skills.

Education for Execs

The Colorado business community also looked to Leeds for summer learning opportunities. May 15-19, the school hosted the LEED: Executive Leadership Program in partnership with the University of Colorado’s Center for Leadership. The highly-interactive program helped participants cultivate key competencies in leadership areas ranging from emotional intelligence to diversity management and developing and implementing a strategic vision, and put them into practice while sharing their own insights on leadership from across industries.

Additionally, Leeds partners with the Graduate School of Banking at Colorado (GSBC) annually to deliver programming in executive leadership available exclusively to GSBC alumni July 24-26. Taught by Leeds faculty, the curriculum covers leading through organizational change and crisis, creating an ethical climate and more. The education from Leeds coincides with GSBC’s own curriculum for bankers as part of the  Community Bankers Summit, a continuing education and networking opportunity hosted at Leeds in late July.

Diversity Programs  Graduate Programs  Executive Education