“While recruiters love how technically competent our graduate students are, leaders in the industry keep complaining that our university doesn’t adequately teach students non-technical skills – interpersonal skills, collaboration, leadership, etc. We are at a loss as to how to get this done with graduate students. We’ve tried offering classes and workshops, but nothing seems to fix this.”


We have developed and implemented a program proven since 2012 to increase the emotional intelligence (EQ) and interpersonal skills of STEM graduate students at the University of Missouri. This is a multi-faceted program tailored to this institution, and it’s unique because of its inclusion of a multiplicity of critical interventions needed to change behavior. Many universities have a special class or workshop, but these don’t instill long lasting behavioral change. Our program creates sustainable change because of its innovative approach.

How? We build a tight knit team of students, with relationships intended to last a lifetime. They challenge, encourage, assist and mentor each other. People with industry positions and experience train them. The students are coached individually and in groups. The students are expected to regularly get outside their comfort zone. This is not a class and they are not treated like students – no syllabus, hard deadlines, a fast pace, business communications, high expectations, and unexpected shifts. Instead, it is experiential. The students emerge highly focused and purpose driven, intentional, adaptable, resilient, professional, influential, and confident.

We would delight in helping you develop and deliver a program tailored to your needs that is transformational for your students and their advisors. BONSAI is unique in that we have extensive experience working with universities, businesses and students.

Read More on our soft skill development services.
Read More on our leadership coaching services.
“I view PTLS as an important, formal added experience for our graduate students, which better prepares them for the positions they will compete for upon graduation.”

Dr. Thomas Payne
former Vice Chancellor & Dean, University of Missouri, CAFNR
“Training within an academic environment does not always translate to the skills needed in an industrial environment. It is in bridging this gap where the PTLS provides incredible value…we have broadly seen tremendous improvement in students’ professional skills. Not only does this translate into students who have greater success in the job market, but we also observe more immediate effects on students’ productivity in the academic setting.”

Executive Committee
Interdisciplinary Plant Group, University of Missouri


Read More of what clients are saying about our soft skill development.


Read About a real life example of how we coached a grad student.

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