LEAD: Leadership Exploration and Development

ANNOUNCEMENT:  LEAD is changing for 2020!

Our new program format will be revealed later this year.   Watch this space for further developments!






LEAD is GSA’s flagship leadership development program. It’s a challenging and high-impact program that will take you beyond your studies and rapidly develop your leadership skills. It involves weekend retreats, evening workshops and scheduled coaching sessions.

GSA offers this program free for University of Melbourne graduate students who are successful in applying.

LEAD has a selective and competitive application process. Applying for LEAD means committing not only time, but also energy and willpower. It is not for people who are undecided about their goals – it’s for people who are dedicated and ready to stretch their horizons. It does not take passengers.

Applications are currently closed.

Program key dates


At GSA, we believe that leadership takes many forms and that everyone has leadership potential. LEAD challenges participants to rethink their perceptions of leadership.

Applying the Social Change Model of Leadership Development (SCM), which is widely used on university campuses across the world, and principles of the Rotary Young Leaders Award, which has been training young Australians in leadership and self-efficacy since 1961, LEAD aims to enable graduate students to take on leadership positions and drive positive change in their communities.

Participants are supported by a team of leaders and become members of a supportive, values-driven community. Be inspired by your facilitators and mentors as part of this first-of-its-kind program at the University of Melbourne.

Finish university as a leader.

What can I expect?

You can expect a transformative experience involving reflection, mentoring and group work over a period of five to six months.

The program aims to help you:

  • Hone your confidence in your own unique leadership style.
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses, and learn how to articulate your value professionally and interpersonally.
  • Channel your existing passion and purpose and commit to the next steps toward your goals.
  • Develop your leadership and management skills, understanding how to apply them at university, in your career, and for the benefit of your community.

Over the course of the program, you will take part in:

  • Two overnight retreats
  • Three evening workshops
  • Small group meet-ups
  • Short group projects
  • Coaching sessions
  • Personal reflection

What skills and experience will I gain?

Over the course of the program, you will:

  • Develop effective professional and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Understand the value of a growth mindset, and how you can use your growth mindset to achieve your personal and professional goals.
  • Gain clarity around the values that drive you and master how to be authentically ‘you’ in a professional setting.
  • Develop coaching skills to help get the best out of teams you lead.
  • Learn how to handle negotiations professionally, and how to deal with difficult conversations both in the workplace and beyond.
  • Understand how to develop a vision and strategy to successfully see a project through to completion.
  • Learn how to manage change effectively.
  • Understand how to use all of these skills in a socially responsible manner.


GSA welcomes applications from any graduate student at the University of Melbourne, regardless of field of study, mode of study, or any other personal qualities or background.

The main selection criteria is about knowing what your goals are and being absolutely dedicated to them.

We particularly encourage applications from:

  • Graduate students who have been at the University of Melbourne for at least a year already.
  • Graduate students from low socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Graduate students from diverse backgrounds.

Prepare a 1-minute application video

An optional part of the application process will involve submitting a short, 1-minute video that introduces yourself.

The video should talk about your passions and goals, describing what you will bring to the program and what you want from it. It should show that you have the energy and readiness to take the next steps.

The video is not intended to be about your video editing or recording skills. The video is not intended to be of professional quality. You will not be judged for camera quality or production values, and we do not want edited footage. Raw and authentic self-footage is preferred. The video is only about introducing yourself and displaying your readiness for the program. Think of it as a way of telling us who you are.

Selection criteria

Applications will be selected on the basis of:

  • Capacity to attend all programmed sessions (please see key dates).
  • Commitment to developing strong leadership skills and practices.
  • Potential and desire to develop as a socially responsible leader.
  • Prior public or community service or leadership experience.
  • Need and fit for the program.


The program is valued at $4,000 per participant, but these costs are covered by GSA. Being selected to take part in the program means you can do it for free.


Applications have now closed. Applicants will be advised of their outcome within the coming week.

If you have questions about the program or application process, or if you wish to nominate yourself as a LEAD Host, please contact lead@gsa.unimelb.edu.au.

Program key dates