Dean's Leadership Programme

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

DLP students gathering for a mid-semester activity
DLP students during the mid-semester activity.

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:

  • Development of skills required by senior leaders and executives
  • Priority access to some exciting internship opportunities 
  • Creation of high performing teams through mentorship and coaching during the internship process
  • Introduction and exposure to key influencers and contacts
  • Breakfast sessions with industry leaders
  • Professional development seminars and workshops 
  • Forming understandings of one's own personal qualities in relation to leading others
  • A Dean's Commendation as an official recognition of your participation in the programme
DLP students and Dean of Engineering, Professor Gerard Rowe.


Applications open on Monday 24 April and close on Wednesday 10 May at 5PM.

For any enquiries about the programme, please email

DLP students at the DLP induction day.

Student testimonials

Profile photo of Marc Lewis
Marc Lewis (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu), Colin Maiden Scholar, 2017.

Marc Lewis

"The breakfast sessions during the Dean’s Leadership
Programme (DLP) provided a valuable opportunity to witness authentic
leadership, which I used to mould my own leadership style. Fady Mishriki’s story deeply resonated with me. He had qualities I believe are very important in a leader; driven, passionate, kind, collected, and unafraid to champion social good in a predominantly profit-driven industry. These are values I have internalised and will continue to apply throughout my career in leadership and governance.

Since graduating from the DLP and my engineering degree, I
have worked at large companies such as Watercare, as well as startups focused
on areas such as underground utility and digital twins. However, I felt
unfulfilled in my career. Thus, I left a comfortable, well-paying job to pursue
my own venture.

Now, I currently serve as a full-time lecturer (Professional Teaching Fellow) in the Faculty of Engineering while pursuing my PhD, to generate IP for the launch of my pharmaceutical company. Teaching is something I never saw myself doing but I’ve found it a very rewarding role and something I’ve generated quite the passion for.

The path to self-fulfilment is long, yet I challenge you to
not be afraid to try something new, take personal initiatives (such as leaving
a job to pursue something more meaningful to you), and step outside of your
comfort zone. You’ll thank yourself later!

I'll leave you with my favourite Māori proverb, which to me,
encapsulates this philosophy and embodies the DLP:

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tūohu
koe, me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure that you value most dearly, if you bow
your head, let it be to a lofty mountain. 

So, aim high, be bold, and fear nothing!"

Profile image of Connor McDowall
Connor McDowall

Connor McDowall    

"I continue to draw on my experience in the Dean’s Leadership Programme, grateful for the opportunity to learn from our nation’s top engineering minds during seminars, workshops, and dinners.

In particular, Professor Nick Smith’s prominent session addressing how the media strongly control narratives & importance of well-funded, trusted, and unbiased state media to serve as the benchmark holding all outlets accountable for the quality of their media products and services.

These lessons resonate years later given the proliferated use of social media and AI-enabled technologies. Not only did the Dean’s Leadership Programme set a strong foundation to develop principled leadership, but foster motivations to meaningfully contribute to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Prior to my current role, I worked in various roles across infrastructure, corporate finance, strategy consulting, petroleum engineering, and renewable energy industries. Success in each relied on a successful combination of commercial acumen, technical expertise, and leadership capability.

The Dean’s Leadership Program taught me how to integrate these strengths while serving as the platform to launch a purposeful and fulfilling career."

"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 found that the Dean's Leadership Program was excellent at developing my professional skills, such as leadership, emotional intelligence in a workplace setting, critical thinking, and communication. Developing these skills early on in my studies helped to balance out the technical side of my degree and greatly improved my confidence as I progressed through my studies and into the workforce. The breakfast speakers were inspirational, as it was enlightening to hear from industry experts about their career paths and lessons learned.

After graduating in 2021, I joined Robert Bird Group as a structural engineer. Since then, I have had the privilege of contributing to the design of numerous local and international projects, including a stadium, hospital, airport, apartment tower, hotels, and mixed-use developments. Recently, I have taken on a major design role for a high-rise modular hotel in Auckland's CBD. This project is both technically challenging and demands close collaboration with the rest of the team. I attribute much of my ability to approach this project with confidence to the skills I acquired during my time in the Dean's Leadership Program. This program laid the foundation for the soft skills needed to effectively manage the substantial technical workload required for this design, while also helping me navigate the pressure associated with being thrown into challenging situations.

Overall, the Dean's Leadership Program was unquestionably a highlight of my time at university, and I strongly encourage all students to seize the opportunity to be a part of this program.

Leo Anderson


Profile photo of Leo Anderson
Leo Anderson, Colin Maiden Scholar, 2019.