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Current Affairs

Do you want to be a CEO for a day? Current Affairs

Do you want to be a CEO for a day?

Odgers Berndtson, the leading global executive search firm, has opened up its latest initiative to UK University students, offering them the opportunity to shadow a top business leader as part of the 'CEO for a day' scheme. 


The move comes in tandem with the release of last year's feedback from both CEOs and British students, including Adam Crozier, who is the chief executive of ITV; as well as executives from BT, Deloitte and Standard Chartered, amongst others. 

Students, on the other hand, all stated the issues facing their generation in gaining relevant experience to succeed in the fields that they want to be working in, and how the scheme was one of a kind in terms of offering the chance to see things from the top level, and understand what it takes to successfully run a major organisation. 

“With the UK facing many challenges over its future skills base, and keen to support apprenticeships and other initiatives for young people, this is another way to strengthen the path into business from university,” said Mark Freebairn, a senior partner of Odgers Berndtson who heads CEO for a Day in the UK.

“Top executives frequently complain of a disconnect between the corporate world and education and this allows them to do something about it, as individuals, by giving a young person the opportunity of a life-changing experience.”

“I was keen for an insight into how successful people operate,” said Sam Crowe, an English undergraduate at York university who spent a day with Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust.

“There’s a lack of opportunities like this but I know there’d be thousands of young people who’d gain life-changing knowledge from this kind of experience and really benefit.”

Dame Helen meantime commented that the day was also useful for her. “This kind of shadowing experience is always a great opportunity to think about yourself and your leadership style – because you need to be able to explain it to your shadower,” she said.

“In the same way, you need to be able to explain what your role means in your organisation and environment, so it’s a learning day for you both.”

Many of the students said that their eyes were opened to the full-on nature and the never-ending work cycle that comes with the territory of running a multinational corporation. 

“This opened my eyes to exactly how much hard work and dedication goes into being a CEO. It isn’t something you can leave behind,” said Beth Seddon, studying event management at the university of Greenwich. “There’s a lot of competition for my generation seeking a corporate career – and having a degree no longer enough.”

One of the most intensely-competitive careers is media and entertainment, making the CEO day with Adam Crozier, the boss of ITV, particularly interesting. Mr Crozier is being shadowed for the day by Alex Bunker, a history undergraduate from the University of Southampton.

Prior to launching the pilot of CEO for a Day in the UK last year, Odgers Berndtson had run it in seven other countries across its international network – of 53 offices in 28 countries. This year, for the first time, all participating countries will join in a single, integrated, international version of the programme. Thus far, across the firm, a total of more than 700 CEOs and students have participated.

by Jack J Collins, Editor of AllAboutLaw.co.uk

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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