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Learn effective leadership, in our course Executive Leadership in major projects
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Executive Leadership in Major Projects

Immersive education for robust leadership of business-defining major projects

Gain insights from global project leaders and learn from your peers while developing leadership capabilities and increasing your capacity to deal with the challenges of major projects.

Experiential learning is core to our offering, delivered through six themes, an in-organisation project and executive coaching over the course of a year.

Applications are now open for 2018 (for the August 2018 intake).

Program duration and time commitment

The Executive Leadership in Major Projects (ELMP) program runs for a year and includes five weeks of face-to-face coursework completed in three residential blocks, an in-organisation project, leadership diagnostics and executive coaching throughout.

The residential blocks are full time, while you complete the other components of the program at your own pace.

Residential blocks

Participants complete the five weeks of coursework in Sydney. This coursework is broken up into three blocks: 2 x 2 weeks and 1 x 1 week. The John Grill Centre will organise your residential accommodation.

In-organisation project

As part of the in-organisation project you will identify and develop solutions for challenges in major project/s in your organisation by applying the learnings from the program. With support from your organisational sponsor, mentor, other program participants, coaches and facilitators, you will be challenged to develop your capabilities and rethink past practices.  

Leadership diagnostics

Before the start of the program you will complete a diagnostic evaluation of your personal leadership practices – helping you to understand your strengths, learning preferences and development goals.

Executive coaching and learning from project experts

Throughout the year you will be supported by an executive coach with major project experience who will work with you on your unique and individual development needs.

International guest speakers will also join the program to offer their insights into leading major projects.

Fees and costs

Course fees: $45,000*

Residential blocks costs: $12,500 total estimate**

*This includes all tuition, executive coaching and course materials. GST is additional.

** This includes all meal, group ground transportation and accommodation costs during residential weeks. GST is additional.

Additional costs

You will need to cover your own airfares and airport transfers to and from Sydney.

Payment for the ELMP program and residential blocks is required within 30 days of acceptance to the program.

Conditions related to fees and refunds are available in the refund policy.

Further education opportunities

If you successfully complete the ELMP program, you can apply for credit for two units (of the 6 units of study) and entry into the Global Executive MBA Program (GEMBA) with the University of Sydney Business School.

Leadership practice

  • Understanding effective leadership practices from multiple perspectives, including military, political and philosophical
  • Evaluating and enhancing individual leadership practices to become a self-aware and innovative leader
  • Strengthening communication skills with boards, ministers, executive management and other crucial stakeholders
  • Applying the right leadership approaches to specific projects
  • Contributing to effective project governance

High performing project teams

  • Defining and establishing an appropriate team structure, including key performance indicators, incentives and establishing a positive work culture
  • Building a cohesive project team for better group dynamics and improved collaboration, trust and accountability
  • Creating cohesion and alignment among co-located, dispersed or virtual team members across different organisations and cultures
  • Resolving project team conflict
  • Developing and coaching team member talent

Collaborative engagement and stakeholder alignment

  • Creating environments with project teams, sponsors and governance committees that allow for open involvement and participation
  • Analysing stakeholders and their interests to create shared visions of success
  • Developing collaborative agreements with external suppliers, contractors and joint-venture partners that optimise value and minimise risk
  • Leading and navigating projects through complex political, regulatory and industrial relations environments
  • Engaging with communities and interest groups on sensitive project issues

Design thinking and strategic mindset

  • Understanding projects as part of a strategic/policy environment, both within an organisation and a larger societal context
  • Understanding the larger cultural and social contexts of major projects
  • Applying critical thinking and structured innovation processes to design the right project solution
  • Making project decisions and evaluating their financial, social and stakeholder impacts
  • Creating project environments that align with and deliver strategy and policy

Planning for value creation

  • Understanding and translating desired strategic, policy and stakeholder outcomes into project strategy
  • Recognising and managing decision bias in project plans and forecasts
  • Leading the project approval process for robust and effective final investment decisions
  • Shaping the project for realising optimal value and benefits

Execution agility

  • Detecting and interpreting weak performance signals to intervene early and preserve project value
  • Harnessing creative problem-solving approaches for effective project delivery
  • Making robust decisions under conditions of uncertainty
  • Leading the change process from strategic, political and cultural perspectives

In-organisation project and final presentation

You will be required to complete an in-organisation project and present on this project to the wider participant cohort. As part of this project you will:

  • identify a current project for analysis and review for optimum project results
  • develop solutions for current project challenges by drawing on course learnings and mentor insights
  • formulate a detailed strategy and implementation plan for the current project challenge
  • collaborate with your project sponsor to embed the revised approach into current project plans.


To be eligible for admission, you need to:

  • have a minimum of 10 years’ relevant professional project experience
  • hold a completed bachelor’s degree, graduate certificate, graduate diploma or equivalent from an institution approved by the University of Sydney. This needs to be at a standard accepted by the University (minimum credit average or 65 percent grade average)
  • be an employee currently working on a major project or on project-related issues
  • be nominated and supported by an organisation sponsor.


1. Complete the online application form.

2. Submit your application along with:

  • details of your employment history
  • a statement of intent: why you are applying for this course, and what do you hope to get out of it
  • a letter of sponsorship from your organisation: for you to participate, your organisation needs to sponsor you
  • a copy of your academic transcript

3. After we receive your completed application we will contact you for a formal interview.

The ELMP program modules apply leadership concepts to the project context – leading self, leading others and leading the project.

Facts & figures

Important dates - Cohort 4

  • Block 1 Sunday 13 August – Friday 25 August 2017
  • Block 2 Sunday 5 November – Friday 17 November 2017
  • Block 3 Sunday 18 February – Friday 23 February 2018
  • Your in-organisation project March/April 2018 - To be undertaken with your organisation for submission by May 2018