Every year, during New Graduate Student Orientation, we ask 1,500 new graduate students one question: “Imagine you’ve graduated from NC State and you’re responsible for hiring a new employee for your organization.  What are the most important skills you’re looking for?”

Year after year, the answers are the same:  Leadership skills. Communication skills.  Problem solving skills.  Conflict management skills. Critical thinking skills. Teamwork skills.

Where do our graduate students learn these skills?  PFL.

PFL is the Preparing Future Leaders professional development initiative, and it is one of NC State’s most influential resources for enhancing graduate student success.  Since it was established in 2007, PFL has grown to become one of NC State’s most influential resources in providing professional development services for graduate students.  During this time, we have offered more than 500 events for more than 15,000 participants representing every college at NC State. PFL aligns with the University’s strategic plan, the Council of Graduate Schools’ Ph.D. completion report conducted from 2004-2010, and the Council of Graduate  Schools’ Pathways Through Graduate  School and Into Careers  report published in April 2012.

PFL offers a place where interdisciplinary conversations and collaborative research efforts result in an economy of scale as we deliver essential education and training to students at a centralized level, freeing up resources in individual programs, departments, and colleges. PFL’s success depends on the collaboration and support of our partners, our campus leaders, our faculty and staff, and, of course, our students.


Preparing Future Leaders (PFL) is a premier leadership community where emerging innovators learn to thrive. Our mission is to inspire the life-long leader in all graduate students.

We offer evidence-based programs, support, and coaching that guide students through the best practices of leadership. Our premier community exemplifies creative engagement, reflective practice, and multi-disciplinary collaboration.

PFL is where emerging innovators learn to thrive.