Dean's Leadership Programme

An initiative for Part II and III students to develop their professional skills.

To be a successful engineer and to progress further in your career, it is vital that you have developed certain additional skills in advance of your first role as a professional engineer.

To help support our students, the Faculty of Engineering has developed the Dean’s Leadership Programme for selected groups of Part II and Part III students each year.

This programme will identify likely leaders in advance, and strengthen their skills and experiences to ensure that they “hit the ground running” once they start their careers.

To achieve this, the Dean’s Leadership Programme will develop a student’s ability to see problems from non-engineering perspectives, deal with situations without ideal solutions, develop skills from other disciplines and become aware of the broader context of how engineering supports society.

Activities will include workshops on soft skills and concepts such as intercultural interaction and empathy, guest speakers who challenge traditional engineering thinking, and internships with future employers. Self-initiated and/or cross-disciplinary projects will also be encouraged, especially when proceeded in conjunction with employer involvement.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Internships with leading internship providers
  • Development of skills required by senior leaders/executives, and the creation of high performing teams through mentorship and coaching during the internship process.
  • Breakfast Club: regular sessions with industry leaders
  • Forming understandings of one's own personal qualities in relation to leading others
    Introduction and exposure to key influencers and contacts
  • Professional development seminars
  • Official recognition of your participation in the programme in the form of a Dean's Commendation
DLP students and Dean of Engineering, Professor Nic Smith, with PowerbyProxi CEO Fady Mishriki.


Applications are now closed. 

Sir Colin Maiden speaking at a DLP session.

Student testimonials


Computer Systems Engineering student Cameron McCarthy had the unique opportunity to shadow the Dean of Engineering, Professor Nic Smith. Read more about his experience.

"The Dean’s Leadership Program has helped me immensely and was easily a highlight of my time at University. I found the skills and lessons I've learned in the program invaluable and felt that they made me develop into a better person. The organisers of the program put hours of effort into it and their dedication definitely showed. They were always eager to help without any hesitation and always made me feel welcome each time we met.

"My program consisted of professional workshops on leadership development that taught techniques that ultimately made me understand what it takes to be a leader. There were multiple talks by industry leaders, all experts in their fields, who gave their personal life lessons on what it takes to succeed and what to avoid. Also, there was a seminar held by the Dean that encompassed a discussion about the future of engineering and what we as students can do to shape it, which is something I really enjoyed and sparked new interests for me.

"The program also secured me an internship at a great company which I am truly grateful for. Overall, The Dean’s Leadership Program is something that has given me so much and I cannot thank enough those who put so much of their time making it a success. It is something that I would highly recommend!"

- Dasith

"The Dean’s Leadership Programme has really opened up my eyes to the vast number of people that are involved in every aspect of the engineering industry. Throughout the programme I met fellow students across all specialisations, CEOs of company giants, faculty members, and speakers specialising in leadership, who were all leaders in their own way. Getting involved in the DLP allowed me to learn so much about the diverse nature of the industry, and also a lot about myself and where I may fit in such an ever-changing world.

"I was placed at Tonkin + Taylor, a New Zealand based international geotechnical engineering firm, for the summer. I have visited Wellington to assess damage caused by the Kaikoura Earthquake and have met many inspiring leaders across the whole company, who dedicate their own time to help and guide me through my summer experience. I am so grateful for the DLP, a once in a lifetime opportunity to connect and learn from distinguished members of the engineering community."

- Josie

"I applied to the Dean’s Leadership Programme at the last minute, wary and unsure of what it was all about. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. It saw a group of about 30 Part II and III students with the same mind set and goals come together, and be presented with opportunities to better ourselves and ultimately our industry by not only becoming great leaders but also better versions of ourselves. This involved various leadership workshops and activities throughout the semester as well as face-to-face breakfasts with some of the industry’s most notable leaders, providing a very valuable behind-the-scenes insight. And let’s not forget the free food – there was plenty of that!

"The programme also provided amazing opportunities in the form of internships with some of New Zealand’s largest engineering consultancies and organisations. Those, like me, who had internships planned previously, have had the opportunity to have their internship providers contacted by the Dean regarding the programme. Personally, this has been a challenging but extremely rewarding decision as I am now tasked with a wide variety of projects, each requiring a high degree of responsibility, diligence and communication, so I am learning heaps. Thus far, I have had plenty of opportunities to demonstrate what I have learned in the DLP!"

- Josua

"The Dean’s Leadership Programme has been an incredible platform to learn, network and grow as both a professional and a leader. It recognizes that being a truly successful engineer means building professional networks and excellent soft skills alongside technical expertise. In a society that is becoming more integrated every day, witnessing the highly successful guest speakers have shown me how to pull together the social and technical aspects needed to develop truly innovative and sustainable technical solutions.

"Above all, it has been inspiring to meet my high achieving peers. Their ideas and enthusiasm are infectious, and genuinely make me believe that we can be the generation to drive significant change. Our joint passion for integrated management, sustainability and holistic approaches furthered by the programme make me excited for what the future of engineering brings. I am grateful to the DLP team for providing a remarkable experience."

- Nadia

Nadia, photographed at her internship.