Frequently Asked Questions about the
Executive M.S. in Values-Driven Leadership Program

Find answers to your frequently asked questions about the Executive MSVDL program below. Want an answer to a question not listed here? Email

Three-Minute Highlight Video

Values-driven leadership implies a conscious commitment by leaders at all levels to lead with their values and create a corporate culture that optimizes financial performance, ethical practice, social contribution and environmental impact. Values-driven leaders lead from a deep sense of purpose and a demonstrated commitment to life-affirming values, such as honesty, integrity, excellence, courage, humility, trust, care for people and social and environmental responsibility.
Since the Center for Values-Driven Leadership was founded in 2008, C-suite executives have mentioned one persistent business challenge: companies often promote individuals who are gifted with the technical skills of their field (such as accounting, engineering, or marketing) but who have no real leadership training. As the individual’s responsibilities grow, the challenges they face require solutions that technical competency alone cannot deliver.

This program is designed for leaders who want to match their established technical skill with exceptional leadership capacity – it prepares you for senior leadership roles and the complex and strategic opportunities they offer.

This program is for business professionals who want to expand their influence and drive strategic change with a values-driven approach to leadership. Anyone who needs to align others and the organization around business goals will benefit from this program.

The program is housed in Benedictine University’s Daniel L. Goodwin College of Business, and is designed for business leaders. Despite this clear focus on business leadership, this program differs from traditional MBA programs in that curriculum focus is on the act of leadership, including leading self, others, the organization, and leading in society. Rather than learning technical business skills such as accounting or marketing, EMSVDL students explore interpersonal and strategic leadership in the context of complex change and demanding business environments. Graduates are equipped with the capacity to design strategy and positively influence others to make it happen.
The EMSVDL program is designed for leaders with significant management experience who are preparing to move into senior leadership roles. Most often, this means eight or more years of management experience. If your management experience is shorter but contains significant depth, please reach out to Amy Drew,, to discuss your interest in the program.
The EMSVDL program uses a cohort-based format and has four start dates each year. Contact Amy Drew, for the next start date and application deadline.

For more on the application process, please visit this page.

Students in the EMSVDL program have three short residencies in addition to online courses. The first two residencies are 4-days each, and are held on Benedictine University’s campus in Lisle, IL. Classes take place in the executive classrooms of the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Business. The third and final residency is a 6-day international exchange trip. Destinations vary based on cohort.
If you have not recently taken an online course, you may be surprised by the academic rigor and robust dialogue that can occur in an online learning classroom.

Online courses vary in structure based on the instructor and the course’s objectives. However, elements often include online access to articles and videos; course lectures; opportunities to discuss course readings and share insights drawn from professional experience; presentations from students and guest lecturers; and assessments. Students are encouraged to access the online classroom three to five times per week; by doing so, they will be able to actively participate in discussion forums, complete assignments, and access announcements in a timely manner.

Each course is six weeks in length, and students may complete the course components at their convenience, in keeping with course deadlines.

Developed through scholar-practitioner research over the past 20 years, the values-driven leadership competency model gives leaders a lens for exploring their personal leadership in the context of a positive, sustainable business culture. Explore the model in detail at this link.
No. No formal testing is required for application to the program. International students, however, may be required to show proof of TOEFL scores to affirm their English-language competency.
The EMSVDL program is a hybrid program that combines online learning with three required residencies. Benedictine University is currently developing a convenient, fully online format of the M.S. in Values-Driven Leadership program, which is intended for emerging leaders who want to grow their leadership capacity. The online program will launch later in the 2017-18 academic year. For information on launch dates please email Amy Drew,
The M.S. in Values-Driven Leadership degree is offered through Benedictine University’s College of Business and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools.

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