Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In High-Potential Leaders: Accelerating Your Impact, you will:

  • Strengthen emotional intelligence for greater influence, stronger relationships, and higher levels of productivity from your team
  • Apply learnings in real time to an actual business challenge of your choice
  • Master a framework for leading change more effectively
  • Improve negotiation skills and understand how communication style influences leadership outcomes
  • Gain valuable personalized feedback on your emotional intelligence, communication style, and organizational culture

Program Overview: This program helps executives work on their leadership mindset.

Experience & Impact

During this intensive five-day program, you will uncover your individual leadership style and develop your strengths. You will work directly with world-renowned experts in leadership development and management, and have a unique opportunity to broaden your global perspective by learning alongside high-potential peers from various countries, vertical industries, business disciplines, and cultural backgrounds.

High-Potential Leaders is a highly relevant experience that includes work on a current complex business challenge of your choice. Working with two other team members, you will apply each day’s learnings to your challenge and create potential new solutions. You will come away with fresh perspectives, a deeper immersion into the program content, and a plan for addressing your challenge when you return to work.

High-Potential Leaders will help you to:

  • Deliver sustainable results driven by strengthened leadership capabilities
  • Implement a comprehensive and highly effective framework for managing change
  • Build more effective and productive relationships based on intelligent use of your emotions
  • Create an individual action plan that commits to immediate and long-term change and growth

The Business Challenge: Participants must work on their own business challenge or professional role.

Skill Building: Raising Your EQ

A highlight of High-Potential Leaders is the Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment. This exercise begins with your pre-program input before the program and continues during the program with feedback and practical exercises to improve your level of emotional awareness of others’ behaviors. One exercise, originally developed for medical students at the Yale School of Medicine, takes place at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Participating in this assessment will increase your awareness and understanding of non-verbal signals, and your ability to make appropriate judgments based on that information. Developing your emotional quotient (EQ) skills will lead to a greater understanding of first impressions and your own leadership presence.

Emotional Intelligence: Prof. Barsade explains the importance of developing this skill.

Leading Change Simulation

Although the ability to lead and manage change is critical to organizational success and survival, most change initiatives fall short. It is not surprising, then, that change continues to frustrate leaders. To address this challenge, High-Potential Leaders includes an experiential change management simulation that has been used with Fortune 500 executives, U.S. military generals, and MBA students.  Here you will have the opportunity to test your intuition, identify strengths, discover vulnerabilities, and master a framework for leading change more effectively.

Session topics include:

  • Leading with Emotional Intelligence
  • Organizational Culture
  • Strengthening Your Leadership
  • Leading Change
  • Critical Thinking
  • Negotiation
  • Managing in a Global World

Convince Your Supervisor

Here’s a justification letter you can edit and send to your supervisor to help you make the case for attending this Wharton program.

Due to our application review period, applications submitted after 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday for programs beginning the following Monday may not be processed in time to grant admission. Applicants will be contacted by a member of our Client Relations Team to discuss options for future programs and dates.

Who Should Attend

High-Potential Leaders: Accelerating Your Impact is designed for those with at least 10 years of experience and whose fast-track career has involved consistently increasing levels of responsibility. Participants have an ultimate goal of reaching senior management.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs unless otherwise indicated.

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

High-Potential Leaders participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

High-Potential Leaders participants by job function

Participants by Region

High-Potential Leaders participants by region

Plan your stay in Philadelphia

Plan Your Stay

This program is held at the Steinberg Conference Center located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Meals and accommodations are included in the program fees. Learn more about planning your stay at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus.


Sigal Barsade

Sigal Barsade, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Joseph Frank Bernstein Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Organizational culture, emotional intelligence, unconscious bias, organizational change, teamwork and leadership

Ingrid Nembhard

Ingrid Nembhard, PhD, MSSee Faculty Bio

Fishman Family President's Distinguished Associate Professor; Associate Professor of Health Care Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Organizational behavior, organizational learning, teamwork and coordination, implementation, quality improvement

Nancy Rothbard

Nancy Rothbard, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Deputy Dean; David Pottruck Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Emotion and identity, work motivation and engagement, work-life and career development

Gregory Shea

Gregory Shea, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Adjunct Professor of Management; Senior Fellow, Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management; Adjunct Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Leadership, leadership of change, organizational innovation

Nicolaj Siggelkow

Nicolaj Siggelkow, PhDSee Faculty Bio

David M. Knott Professor; Professor of Management; Co-Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Competitive strategy, firms as systems of interconnected choices

Michael Useem

Michael Useem, PhDSee Faculty Bio

William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management; Professor of Management; Director, Center for Leadership and Change Management; Editor, Wharton Leadership Digest

Research Interests: Catastrophic and enterprise risk management, corporate change and restructuring, leadership, decision making, governance


This program has a superb blend of world-class faculty, an integrated curriculum, and a strongly interactive and diverse group of classmates from high-performing global companies. The material challenged our traditional views and learning, and stretched us immensely to expand our understanding on what leadership needs to be in the 21st century. I highly recommend this program to those interested in developing self-awareness and the skills needed to achieve business results in today's and tomorrow's business climate.”

Chuck Mollor Managing Partner, MCG Partners

The High-Potential Leaders program was excellent! The combination of diverse participants as well as first-rate faculty made for a great learning environment. The faculty delivered time and again on many practical tools and techniques that will help me accelerate my performance and better achieve my leadership potential. I would highly recommend this program to others.”

David Greenfield Chief Financial Officer, Financial Services Industry

The program provided me with a deep knowledge of techniques that will fast track my career. Additionally, having a group with different experiences and internationally represented was fundamental to setting personal goals and to developing and managing my team.”

André Hirschheimer Financial Manager, Suzano Holding

This is a great leadership development program. Too often in today's business environment, many leaders are so focused on managing their business that they do not take the time to focus on their own career development. We are always making excuses regarding the lack of time we have to further our own development. This was the best use of my time at the perfect time in my career.”

Rich Murphy Senior National Director, US Specialty Care Sales, Schering-Plough Corporation

I must say, Wharton was truly an experience that punctuated my values...and overarching imperatives. The class was insightful, enjoyable, and profound. There were times that it struck an emotional cord bringing tears to my eyes. Most importantly it drove home the values of integrity, authenticity, empathy, and transparency."

I better appreciate the need to network externally, remain current, and position myself for change, while maintaining balanced physical, professional, and personal activities. Nearly half of the classmates were internationals…and their perspectives were so important to the success of the experience.

All in all, it made me aware that modern management is a psychological discipline and an art-form requiring oneself to take the high road regardless of the pressures and stress…. I am so pleased about the opportunity to experience this program, as it has enabled me to truly be a better leader.”

John Crapo Program Director, IT Account Management Services, Lockheed Martin Company

This program exceeded my expectations! It was truly a transformational experience to help me become the leader I want to be. The instructors were fantastic and I made lasting friendships with some of my fellow classmates. I will definitely return for another Wharton Executive Education Program!”

Victoria Hughes, M.A. Director of Performance Excellence, Health Care Industry

The Wharton High-Potential Leaders course is a must-attend course for business leaders. The curriculum was well thought out and provided an outstanding learning experience with world-class faculty and exercises. The diversity of attendees from multiple industries and countries created a truly diverse and engaging learning environment. The course really challenges you to truly assess where you are as a leader and how to become a stronger leader in the future. I look forward to applying the lessons learned from this course to assist me as I continue to grow in my career.”

Mark Miller Director, Strategic Initiatives, IS&GS CIO, Lockheed Martin

This was an excellently delivered set of courses that every leader and future leader should experience. The content was relevant and enabled me to critically review my own capabilities and develop a plan of action to drive myself to a higher level. This experience allowed me to make changes that have positively impacted the way I approach my professional career. The most amazing element for me was the transformation I saw on the personal front after I reprioritized my activities. THANKS to the excellent team that pulled off a remarkable enlightening experience for a truly remarkable class of high potential people.”

Prabdeep Bajwa Senior Marketing Manager, Pioneer Hi-bred Limited (A DuPont Company), Canada


How can you improve your leadership skills?

Wharton Management Professor Sigal Barsade says leadership skills can be improved first by having a good assessment of what your current strengths and weaknesses are. Secondly, and most importantly, you have to be motivated to want to improve them. And then lastly, you need to find information, either in the form of books or courses, to be able to help you address the pieces of the skills that you want to do better at.

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and how does it apply to leadership?

Emotional intelligence is comprised of three parts: The first part is your ability to read your own emotions, and to be able to read the emotions of other people. The second part is your ability to understand other people's emotions, so can you have empathy, have perspective taking. And then the third part is your ability to regulate your own emotions and those of others, meaning are you able to be aware of emotions, but not be overwhelmed by them, and help other people do the same.

What are the benefits of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) in the workplace and everyday life?

Increasing your emotional intelligence will give you a skill set that helps you relate to other people and increase your self-awareness of how you are behaving. If you're able to read and understand other people's emotions and know how to regulate your own emotions too, you'll be much more effective in all aspects of life.

What is organizational culture? What are the types of organizational culture?

Organizational culture are the unwritten rules about how you should go about behaving and thinking and feeling at work, says Wharton Management Professor Sigal Barsade.

There are two major types of organizational culture:

  • Cognitive Culture: The norms and values and deep underlying assumptions around how employees should think at work about the work, the way that they do work, and the work that they're doing.
  • Emotional Culture: The norms and values and deep underlying assumptions about what emotions employees should be showing or are showing at work, and which they're better off not showing.

The best way to improve your organizational culture is to first assess: Is it the best culture that matches your strategy and your structure? Culture, strategy, and structure all need to be in alignment to have an effective culture. There's no such thing as just one right performance culture for every company. It really depends on these three factors.

Once you've decided what your culture should be, the way to improve your culture is to measure where you stand currently, to think about the best ways to get that culture throughout your organization, and to follow up and make sure that the improvement is happening.

What is the “magic” behind becoming a good leader?

As you think about improving your leadership skills, a lot of times, that can seem very intimidating. We look at great leaders and it seems like what they're doing is magic. But the beauty is that leadership is actually not magic. It is a set of skills that anyone can learn, says Wharton Professor Sigal Barsade, who is the academic director of Wharton Executive Education's High-Potential Leaders program. This set of leadership skills includes things like emotional intelligence, teamwork, negotiations, and the way that you improve this skill set is by doing an assessment of where your strengths and weaknesses are. If you acquire and practice those skills, you'll just make it look like magic.

Date, Location, & Fees

Coming in 2022Location TBD

Hotel Information

Fees for the on-campus program include accommodations and meals. Prices are subject to change.

Participants must be fully vaccinated and show a negative PCR test to attend on-campus programs. 

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