Apply to be a BNSF Neeley Leader.

Who we're looking for: Growth-minded individuals with a desire to lead self, teams and organizations.

Who should apply: First-year undergraduate business students who are excited to engage with world-class faculty on leadership principles and ready to put theory into practice.

What you'll get: Fast-paced, varied activities including coursework, assessment, coaching, development workshops, speakers, corporate site visits, team challenges, a one-of-a-kind leadership institute in Scotland, a two-semester impact project.

BNSF Neeley Leadership combines a personalized, interactive learning environment with innovative programs that give you practical, real-world experience. Our close ties to the business community provide extensive networking opportunities and frequent interaction with professionals from leading companies. When you graduate as a BNSF Neeley Leader, you will have a greater awareness of leadership opportunities and challenges in the business world and will be ready to further define your personal leadership journey. 

Criteria to apply to be a BNSF Neeley Leader:

  • TCU GPA of at least a 3.2 at the end of each semester of freshman year.
  • Strong leadership and academic record from both high school and college.
  • Desire and ability to grow your leadership skills.
  • Ability to work effectively with others.
  • Solid written and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Commitment to contributing to a positive and enriching cohort experience.


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Why Join NLP?

Watch our fall 2020 information session:

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Info Session fall 2020

Application process for eligible first-year students.

The application process will open on Monday, February 10, 2020. Application is due by 5:00 p.m. on March 20, 2020.



Part 2: LEADERSHIP CASE RESPONSE - Candidates are asked to attend a leadership case review session. Candidates will be presented with a leadership profile or situation and asked to respond in essay form. If you have accommodations through the Center of Academic Services, please contact Sallye McDowell at or 817-257-5133.


If chosen to proceed in the process, you will receive instructions to sign up for a personal interview with program stakeholders on April 17, 2020.

If chosen to proceed in the process, you will be given the option of a face-to-face informational meeting with a BNSF Neeley Leader to be held between April 10-17, 2020.


Final selections are based on the criteria listed above plus academic performance, assessment of fit with the program, letter of recommendation and overall strength of the application. Selected applicants will be notified by May 29, 2020.

If you have any questions concerning the application process for the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program, please contact the Administrative Program Specialist, Sallye McDowell at 817-257-5133 or

  Class of
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Number of Applicants: 76 83 85 116 73 127 103 87 138
Number of Accepted Students: 32 31 32 32 32 32 33 30 30
Number of Students to Graduate from the Program: 31 30 31 28 31 32 30    

Talk to a Current Student

Holt Brennan

Brennan Holt

Supply Chain and Entrepreneurship


Churchman Andrew

Andrew Churchman

BIS and Supply Chain

Vice President

Charif Jad

Jad Charif

Finance and Real Estate

Recruitment Chair

Hartman Kate

Kate Hartman

Marketing and Finance

Marketing Chair

Trosino Cassie

Cassie Trosino


Ambassador Chair

Grotjan Brooke

Brook Grotjan

Marketing and Entrepreneurship

Alumni Chair

Gordon Dawson

Dawson Gordon


Social Chair


Application Requirements

Do I need to have a specific major to be eligible for the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program?
You need to declare Pre-Business as your major, and be prepared to meet Entering Neeley requirements by May of sophomore year.

Can I apply if I am a freshman but have sophomore hours?
Yes, you can apply. However, your anticipated graduation date should still be either December 2020 or May 2023 since the program is a three-year commitment.

Do I need to be accepted into the Neeley School of Business before applying?
No, but you must apply and be accepted into the Neeley School at the appropriate time to remain in the program. 

May I apply to both Neeley Leaders and Neeley Fellows?
Students are allowed to apply to only one premier program. Attending Information Sessions is the best way to determine the program that best matches your interests.

Academic Program

How will the required Leadership Courses count toward my degree requirements?
You are required to take 15 hours of specialized leadership courses within the program. We recommend that you schedule a meeting with your advisor to ensure you can still graduate on time if the Neeley Leadership classes are added to your schedule. 

What do I get when I finish the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program?
The prestigious designation of leadership emphasis will be added to your Neeley major/degree. You will gain knowledge and skills acquired from the opportunities to practice your leadership in a safe environment before entering the workforce. You will also be highlighted by the Neeley School as top-quality candidates to employers and recruiters visiting TCU through a Leadership Program résumé book.

Can I be considered for the Program if I have plans to study abroad during the next 2 years?
Because you will move through the leadership courses with your cohort, you must be at TCU during the fall and spring semesters during your three-year commitment to the program. However, we highly encourage you to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad as they will advance your skill sets, provide you with a larger scope of knowledge for business and leadership and allow you to immerse into another culture. As such, if you are accepted into the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program, you would need to choose a study abroad experience that takes place during the summer, winter or Spring Break session. Additionally, the Neeley Leadership students are required to study abroad for 2 weeks in London and Scotland as a cohort as part of the required curriculum of the program. This trip is partially subsidized; however, it is an additional expense for students.

Co-Curricular Program

Will I be provided with my own leadership mentor?
Yes, during the spring of your junior year, you will be matched with your leadership mentor. This mentor will be a great asset in your leadership development, provide you with insight into their own career and leadership path, give feedback on your leadership development plan and will be able to answer your questions during your internship and full-time job searches.

Are there any extra fees associated with being involved in the Leadership Program?
Due to the generous support of TCU and BNSF, the majority of costs are covered for participants at a programmatic level. With that in mind, you must pay tuition and fees for the academic courses within the program and there are two travel programs required during your junior year in which airfare, meals and incidental expenses will be your responsibility. Students are encouraged to budget $6,000.

Are all Leaders selected for the Leadership Adventure Trips?
Leadership Adventure Trips are being piloted Summer 2020. If successful, the program will add a trip each year to a maximum of five trips. Two Neeley Leaders will be selected to plan and lead each trip. NLP members are allowed to register for the trip even if they are not chosen to lead it.