The mission of CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business is to educate principled, innovative leaders who drive value for businesses. We are introducing the Business Leadership Certificate as a way to enhance our existing programming around leadership.

Passion Projects Spotlight

Business Leadership Certificate Passion Projects

Passion Project Spotlight: Putting Her Heart into It

What did you do for your passion project? For my passion project I decided to... Read more
Business Leadership Certificate Passion Projects

Passion Project Spotlight: Building Esprit de Corps

What did you do for your passion project? I took a leadership role as the... Read more
Business Leadership Certificate Passion Projects

Passion Project Spotlight: A Fight for Tibet

What did you do for your passion project? My Passion Project was to serve Tibetans... Read more

Certificate Description

The Business Leadership Certificate provides students with the foundations of theory and research on leadership, but emphasizes professional experiences such as mentoring, internships, and engaging in leadership roles. By the time they graduate, students should be poised to embrace leadership challenges as they unfold, make sense of leadership experiences, thrive in a dynamic business culture, and lead with an ethical compass. 

The Business Leadership Certificate is recommended for students who:

  • are interested in learning about the art and science of leadership
  • have an interest in developing their own leadership to take on exciting leadership roles
  • want to accelerate their leadership development so they can best learn from their early career experiences
  • want to start their own companies or lead important projects for social change

Leeds Competency Model

Based on the research and theory, we created a competency model for students at Leeds. Leeds defines leaders as change agents who exert positive influence on organizations, groups, and individuals.  Leeds’ leadership development program provides students with a holistic, integrated experience that includes both academic and experiential learning, preparing future leaders who are: (1) principled, (2) innovative, (3) productive, (4) energizing, and (5) relational. Learn more about the competency model.

Each of these core leadership attributes is defined and described below.


1. PRINCIPLED: Exhibits integrity, high ethical values, and a commitment to inclusion.

Responsible: communicates openly and truthfully, demonstrates honesty consistently, and accepts personal responsibility for leadership decisions.

Ethical: engages in leadership behavior that aligns with personal promises and complies with the intent and spirit of the law.

Inclusive: seeks out, includes, and values people from diverse backgrounds.


2. INNOVATIVE: Engages in lifelong learning and professional development to design creative and effective business strategies.

Strategic: implements research-based strategies that align with business objectives and policies while effectively accommodating financial costs and obligations.

Entrepreneurial: continually seeks out ways to improve processes, prioritize tasks, and create new business ventures.

Integrative: sees the “big picture” and takes a holistic (comprehensive) approach that considers and connects multiple parts.


3. PRODUCTIVE: Adds value through timely achievement of data-driven objectives.

Efficient: exhibits an accurate sense of timing, meeting deadlines and achieving objectives in opportune fashion.

Effective: identifies critical objectives and masters the essential skills needed to achieve these objectives.

Comprehensive: considers all relevant factors and synthesizes information from multiple sources to produce coherent plans for action.


4. ENERGIZING: Creates a vision, takes initiative, and acts decisively.

Envisions: generates a shared vision, enabling followers to see how their individual roles or parts contribute to the overall vision.

Initiates: ignites action, motivating and mobilizing followers to take steps toward achieving individual and organizational goals.

Communicates: articulates messages and arguments with clarity, confidence, and in a manner that minimizes conflicts and promotes partnerships.


5. RELATIONAL: Demonstrates consideration for others, collaboration, and resilience.                               

Empathic: accurately reads, adjusts to, and responds to others’ feelings and social cues. Collaborative: supports and values the ideas of followers, and creates a social climate conducive to cooperation and teamwork.

Resilient: adapts quickly to new policies and procedures, copes well with emotional pressure, and maintains a positive perspective in the face of setbacks.


Business leadership certificate students get:

  • Access to and feedback on our leadership assessment 
  • Access to an executive coach who can help you on your impact project or another role that you choose
  • First access to hear great speakers and attend networking events offered through the business leadership certificate 


To teach students to be leaders, we must go beyond the traditional classroom, providing students with the opportunity to engage in leadership experiences and to make sense of those experiences to prepare them for future leader roles. As such we include both classroom and experiential requirements to the certificate.


Mods BCOR 2202 and 2302 (3) Organizational Behavior and Ethics

ORGN 3030 (3) Critical Leadership Skills

Any ethics or diversity course outside of Leeds


One additional leadership or ethics class:

ORGN 3025 (3) Essential Management Skills
ORGN 4300 (3) Leading Diverse, Inclusive Organizations

CESR/ORGN 3040 (3) Fundamentals of Ethical Leadership 

CESR 4000 (3) Leadership Challenges 


Experiential Learning: Students must complete a Leadership Retreat and complete an Impact Project to fulfill their experiential learning requirement.

  • Leadership Retreat (approved by the certificate director)
    • Certificate retreat, Leeds Scholars Retreat, ODA second year experience, any FGX course, Key Bank Business Leadership Program

  • Leadership Impact Project (approved by the certificate director)
    • Complete a passion project, lead a group, serve on Leeds Council, take a leadership role in ODA, complete any of the programs on this list, do the Leeds Scholar project, or build your own experience
    • All certificate students are provided with a leadership coach if they choose to use one to help them build their leadership skills during the leadership impact project


Apply for Admission

Please complete Your application here or email mark.gasta@colorado.edu if you have any questions.