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

What is the leadership programme?

Each year, we open application for the most motivated, and high-performing, EUC students 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 is designed 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.

Our primary focus with the Leadership Programme is to teach students about leadership from a theoretical and practical perspective. In the Leadership Programme we expose our students to field projects and small-scale sessions that are characterised by active participation and critical discussion. As such, enrolment into the programme will require both strong commitment and an analytical approach.

The programme components are shown in the table below

Theoretical Courses

Theoretical Courses are comprised of circa 4 lectures aimed at broadening and deepening students’ knowledge of leadership styles and techniques that are employed within different areas and circumstances. Students taking part in the Leadership Programme are asked to follow part of the Economics and Business Course “Leadership: Public and Private”.

Master Classes

The 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. The experts leading these sessions have earned their stripes in business, politics, the arts, or academia.

Field Projects

Field Projects are 3/4-month projects designed to expose students to real-life issues faced by actual organisations in Rotterdam. Students are organised into teams and tasked with answering a current research question put forth by these organisations. During these projects, student teams are supervised by seasoned academic researchers and receive lectures/workshops from individuals specialising in the topic of their project. Often, students also engage in community service within these organisations.

Case-Writing Cycle

The Case-Writing Cycle is a project-based course in which students gain first-hand experience with a real-world organizational environment and obtain understanding of: (a) the impact of the environment on management and; (b) how and why organizations position themselves in the global (or local) context. During the Case-Writing Cycle, student teams collaborate with an organization to write a case surrounding a problem that has no obvious or easy solution in one of the organization’s functional areas. 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.


At 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 between students and the programme coordinators. During these sessions, students reflect on their performance and experience of the programme and receive personalised feedback from the programme coordinators.

Event organisation

In order to learn organisational skills and influence the programme’s components, students either organise the programme’s closing event or organise a group event/activity for the rest of the programme participants.

Please note that the Society-Oriented Leadership Programme will run for 12 months, starting in September of every academic year and ending in early June. This means that:

  • if you are an autumn-intake student, it will run parallel to your second year.
  • if you are a spring-intake student, it will run parallel to the second semester of your first year and first semester of your second year.

Why a Leadership Programme?

EUC established the Leadership Programme 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:

  • Access to a network of people affecting social change both in Rotterdam and around the world; a network to call upon in the future;
  • 15 EC worth in extra credits, which are recognised on the transcript of their diploma.

Entering the Leadership Programme

Who can apply?

Following the first semester of the first year, autumn-intake students at EUC whose academic performance is in the top 10% of their class will be invited to apply for the Leadership Programme. Spring-intake students will apply on good faith, as their official grades will not be final at the time of application. Those autumn-intake students who haven’t received an invitation, but who consider themselves suitable students for the programme, are welcome to apply. While we recognise the importance of the academic performance of students, we also put a very high premium on motivation, past (international) experiences, and curiosity about leadership. As such, having high grades is not a guarantee for entry to the programme.

When to apply?

The deadline every year is the 1st of April.

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

All candidates are required to submit a motivation letter (1 page maximum), a curriculum vitae, and their full transcript up to the time of application. These should be sent in one pdf document with your full name as the document title 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?

Upon examination of the submitted application, the coordination committee will inform each candidate on whether they have made it to the next round, which comprises an interview. Following this, a student will either be granted or denied access to the programme.

Example of a few topics covered last year

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.

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

For questions about the programme and/or application process, please contact us at leadership@euc.eur.nl.