The article analyzes the way students perceive leadership and leader’s personality qualities at the modern international university. The article provides the results of the author’s original questionnaire survey of students in the Economics Faculty of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University) on the perception of leader’s personal qualities, the key characteristics of the modern leader, and the priorities for training leaders in the institution of higher professional education. For example, students consider self-confidence, independent nature, willingness to risk, public speaking skills, and a good sense of humor as the most important leader’s merits. The students indicated the lectures delivered by the well-known heads of companies, practical trainings provided by training companies, and specialized courses in leadership within the university curriculum as the basic necessary measures to develop leadership skills at the university. The respondents described the following as the leadership skills, which need to be developed: self-confidence, independent nature, public speaking skills, willingness to risk, and good intuition. The survey resulted in conclusion that most students consider it advisable to purposefully develop leadership skills and demonstrated their willingness to participate in the process of their leadership formation within the framework of higher professional education. © 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.