Ryerson students chosen to shadow notable Canadian CEOs

Two CEOx1Day finalists discuss CEO x 1 Day's rigorous selection process with the Ryersonian.

By: Deborah Hernandez

Two Ryerson students will have the chance to shadow the Canadian CEOs of two multinational corporations for a day.

Business management students Andrea Bartlett and Ravi Persaud were two of nine students from select universities across Ontario matched with CEOs in Toronto for this year’s “CEO x 1 Day” program.

The program allows third and fourth-year Canadian university students to shadow CEOs of companies such as Hugo Boss, Via Rail, Lululemon and Cineplex Entertainment.

Bartlett, who is also the incoming president of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU), was matched with the CEO of Aon Hewitt, a human resources consulting company.

She said the experience will teach her skills she can apply to her role as the new leader of the RSU.

“Transparency and communication is important to the leadership role, and that’s part of my platform,” Bartlett said. “Seeing how (the CEO) treats the people around him will be really invaluable.”

The program is run by Odgers Berndtson, a Toronto-based recruiting firm for executives. The firm had a tough selection process over four months to choose nine Ontario university students they could match with CEOs in Toronto.

“Wanting to learn from leaders who have many years of experience is the biggest reason behind my application,” said Persaud, who will shadow the CEO of Altus Group Ltd., a real estate consulting company. “I want to see firsthand how he communicates with people who look up to him and how he approaches his different roles as a leader.”

A total of 33 universities in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta were participating in the program this year. Twenty-one students in undergraduate programs were chosen and matched with local CEOs in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.

“This was far and above the most difficult application process I’ve ever experienced,” Bartlett said. “But it was also a really cool learning experience because you learn a lot about yourself.”

The selection process includes an essay, academic transcripts, phone interviews, personality testing for leadership potential and in-person interviews with eight different consultants at the Odgers Berndtson office.

“Rigorous is probably the right word to use for the application process,” Persaud said. “It was definitely intimidating but they want to make the right matches with the CEOs.”