Leadership Programme

The EUC society-oriented Leadership Programme is a specialised programme endowing talented students with the theory and practice needed to understand leadership across a broad range of sectors.

'The Leadership Programme is an excellent way to get exposed to a great variety of perspectives on the most relevant issues and learn how to argue from your own standpoint.’ -Ekaterina Sytnik

'An intensive and inspiring honours programme, with knowledge and insight from leaders in the forefront of business, academics, and cultural institutions.' -Roan Laenen

‘A fascinating program characterized by a practical approach and inspiring speakers.’ -Simone Punzo

Why a Leadership Programme?

EUC established the Leadership Programme in 2013 for the following reasons:

  • We believe in the creation of extra opportunities for students who would like to extend their experiences beyond the regular programme;
  • Young professionals have historically been at the core of social change;
  • Adequate and early exposure to concepts of leadership and the opportunity to develop skills through learning in practice is an advantage that we would like to give our students.

Ultimately, students in the Leadership Programme will walk away with a broad range of knowledge that will allow them to excel in their future aspirations, whether in a leadership position or otherwise. Additionally, students will benefit from having access to a network of people affecting social change both in Rotterdam and around the world, a network to call upon in the future.

What is the Leadership Programme?

Each year, we open application for EUC students who are motivated to learn about leadership, take on extra responsibilities and achieve personal growth to apply for our 12-month, society-oriented Leadership Programme – the honour’s programme of EUC.

The programme runs parallel to the regular academic curriculum and aims to provide a select group of students with exposure to the world of leadership. In doing so, it combines theoretical training, hands-on practice, and inspirational speakers within an environment that enhances learning and critical thinking.

The primary focus of the Leadership Programme is to provide students with a platform upon which they can learn about leadership from a theoretical and practical perspective. In the Leadership Programme, students are given the reigns and work together to craft a tailor-made programme suited to their needs and interests; needs and interests that are determined by each student’s personal development plan. As such, the programme is a co-creative process between Leadership Programme students and coordinator(s). This means that each student is given significant responsibility and specific roles to not only help drive the programme but also work towards the success of each session. As such, enrolment into the programme will require strong commitment, initiative, a results-driven orientation, and an analytical approach.

Some options that students can choose from in crafting the programme:

Short Courses

Courses that comprise a number of sessions aimed at broadening and deepening students’ knowledge and/or skills in leadership-related topics (e.g., leadership styles and negotiation).

Master Classes

Master Classes are intense and interactive sessions in which experts in the field present students with their knowledge and discuss issues relevant to their profession and to students. The experts leading these sessions have earned their stripes in business, politics, the arts, or academia.

Field Projects

Field Projects are student-developed long-term projects focused upon real-life issues faced by actual organisations/groups (preferably located in Rotterdam). Students work in teams to tackle an existing challenge faced by these organisations/groups. During these projects, student teams are supervised by seasoned academic researchers and can organise lectures/workshops from individuals specialising in topics relevant to their projects. Often, students also engage in community service during these projects.

Case-Writing Cycle

A Case-Writing Cycle is a long-term project in which students gain first-hand experience with a real-world organizational environment and obtain understanding of (some of) the challenges within that environment (e.g., resource allocation, donor acquisition, building legitimacy in a new context). During a Case-Writing Cycle, student teams collaborate with a leader in an organization to write a case surrounding a problem that has no obvious or easy solution. This gives students insight into real-world issues faced by actual organizations and allows them to develop their skills in critical analysis, argumentation, presentation, and interpersonal relations. The final goal of the case-writing cycle is to produce high-quality cases for publication.


Fixed programme components:

InternshipAt the end of the Leadership Programme (during the summer break) students are required to complete a 3 (or more) day shadowing in which they accompany a leader within a field of their choosing.

Reflection Sessions

Reflection Sessions are individual sessions held each quad between students and the programme coordinator(s) to discuss the personal development plans that each student makes for the programme. During these sessions, students reflect on their performance and experience of the programme and receive personalised feedback.
Personal Development PlanIn the personal development plan each student defines the goals they would like to achieve during the Leadership Programme. More specifically, students specify what is important to them, what strengths they already have that will help to achieve their goals, and what they need to improve and develop through time. A personal development plan helps students to structure their thinking, develop an action plan comprising of realistic strategies, and measure progress over time.

Please note that the Society-Oriented Leadership Programme will run for 12 months, starting in September of every academic year and ending in September of the next academic yearIf you are a second-year student applying to the programme, please keep this in mind as this means that you cannot go on exchange and that you will still need to attend 1-2 sessions of the programme after your third year at EUC has ended.

Entering the Leadership Programme

Who can apply?

Anyone who is motivated to learn more about leadership and who is willing and able to devote time to the programme. We put a very high premium on motivation, curiosity about leadership, and commitment to the programme.

When to apply?

The deadline every year is the 1st of April. We do not accept candidates on a rolling basis and so will review all applications following the deadline.

What needs to be in the application and where should it be sent?

  1. A CV and your full transcript up to the time of application (in one .pdf with your full name as the document name);
  2. A maximum 6-minute video in which you present:
    1. Why you want to be a part of the Leadership Programme;
    2. What you expect of the programme;
    3. What makes you a suitable candidate for the programme;
    4. How you will contribute to the Leadership Programme and specifically, 2 ideas that you have for programme events;
    5. Who the leader is that you most admire and why.

You may send this video as a file or send on the link to where we can find this video. Please ensure that this all works, as we will not accept applications with no/dysfunctional videos. Also, note that these videos are not geared at giving us an impression of your filmmaking abilities, but are aimed at giving us an impression of you.

Send your application to leadership@euc.eur.nl under the e-mail subject ‘Leadership Programme Application [year, e.g., 2017, 2018].’

What happens after the application is sent in?

Two things will happen after your send in your application:

  1. You will take part in a Leadership Programme activity to gain an impression of the programme via first-hand experience (attendance is mandatory);
  2. You will complete a questionnaire.

Following this, all applicants will be informed on whether they have been granted or denied access to the programme.  

For questions about the programme and/or application process, please e-mail leadership@euc.eur.nl.

Example of Activities Completed in the Past

IMC Weekendschool Rotterdam Zuid is a school providing supplementary education to motivated children, between the ages of 10 and 14 who reside in socio-economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. 
During the field project, the student team devised a public relations strategy focusing on two questions facing the school: how to maintain relations with current contacts and partners, and how to increase the school’s visibility so as to attract new partners?

Iconic Leaders in Modern History - Historian and journalist Ineke van Kessel gave a lecture on The Making of Mandela. She is a senior researcher with the African Studies Centre in Leiden and has vast experience and knowledge of South Africa and apartheid. Her lecture allowed students to both discuss the life and challenges faced by the late Mr. Nelson Mandela and analyse the leadership choices he made during his political career.

Leadership Styles- Jeroen van de Veer, former Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell, was invited to tackle the subject of leadership in a business. He discussed the challenges he faced in leading Shell through the reserve ‘crisis’ of 2004 and gave insights on, amongst other things, communicating (tough) visions to subordinates, promoting and initiating changes in corporate culture, and the functions and role of a leader.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much time will the Leadership Programme take?

A: The Leadership Programme corresponds to a programme of 15 ECs, which equates to 420 hours. How this is spread over the course of the academic year depends almost entirely upon how the Leadership Programme group crafts the programme.

Q: How much do my grades matter for my application to the programme?

A: Your grades serve in part as an indicator on how well you are coping with your workload at EUC. The Leadership Programme significantly increases that workload, and we are wary of overloading students. Nevertheless, we put a very high premium on an applicant’s motivation to learn more about leadership and their willingness and ability to take ownership of the programme.

Q: Can I join the Leadership Programme if I am in my 3rd year?

A: Yes you can! But this does mean that you cannot go on exchange. In addition, and probably needless to say, you cannot participate in the programme more than once.

Q: Can I apply to the Leadership Programme again in my second year if I was rejected in my first year?

A: Yes you can.

Q: How many spots are available in the Leadership Programme each year?

A: The group size of the Leadership Programme ranges from 10-12 students. In creating this group, consideration will be given to evenly balancing out second- and third-year students should we receive a considerable amount of applications from both years.

The Society-Oriented Leadership Programme is graciously funded in part by the Erasmus Trust Fund.