Schulich iBBA student participates in prestigious program

York University’s Schulich School of Business’ website interviews finalist Brandon Sun.

Brandon Sun with Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob during CEOx1Day

Schulich iBBA student Brandon Sun recently had the unique opportunity to shadow Ellis Jacob, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cineplex Entertainment, through Odgers Berndtson’s CEO x 1 Day program and yesterday he shared his experience with Global News Toronto.

“Having this opportunity to meet Ellis and seeing [how he works] on a day to day basis, how he reacts to various questions, how he deals with his employees, his friends, et cetera, showed me that this is what I want to do,” explained Brandon in the interview. “I want to be a business leader. I want to be involved in the company, to be in the management role and I think [participating in the CEO for a Day program is] a great learning opportunity and there are a lot of takeaways from it.”

“This was a unique day because we were releasing our annual results so Brandon got to see a lot throughout that whole process,” said Mr. Jacob. “There were conference calls, there were TV interviews, there [sic] were dealing with a lot of issues that come up as you go through the day…We thought it was a great day [for him to come] because it gave him a total perspective of what the challenges are.”

CEO x 1 Day is open to third and fourth year university students. Through a rigorous selection process, Odgers Berndtson identifies students with outstanding leadership potential and match them with a CEO from a leading Canadian organization so that they can spend a day in the shoes of a senior executive..

“With such a prestigious program, having access to it was a major surprise for me when I received the call from Odgers,” Brandon revealed. “I think I went into the process thinking, ‘You know what, I’ll give it my best and hopefully if I have the opportunity, that would be great.’ But when I received it, I found out about all of the learning that I could hope to obtain through the program. I thought about what I would ask Ellis, what I would gain from the program, what I would hope to achieve from all this.”

Brandon said the most important value he learned from Mr. Jacob was how he was able to adjust to certain demands on the fly.
“Throughout our entire process, Ellis was actually on various calls and conferences and I saw how he was able to adjust on the fly to certain questions – from analysts, from reporters – and how he was able to convey the ideals of Cineplex as he went through the whole process. I think it’s about adaptation and that was the biggest learning from the process.”

For Mr. Jacob, participating in CEO x 1 Day program gave him the chance to spend the day with a future Canadian business leader.

“I think it’s really about looking at the future CEOs of Canada and it gave me a great opportunity to be able to interact with Brandon and also, the fact is, I look back to my career and I say, I would have loved to have had been able to do this because normally when you’re spending time with a CEO it’s for two minutes, it’s for five minutes, and this gave him the opportunity to see what a day was like in the life of a CEO.”

Odgers Berndtson created the CEO x 1 Day program not only to help Canada’s most promising future leaders walk in the shoes of a senior executive but also give CEOs the opportunity to connect and better understand what drives the next generation of leaders. Students go through a rigorous recruitment process in order to be selected, including online assessments and face-to-face interviews with Odgers Berndtson partners and consultants. Each finalist spends a full day shadowing a CEO (including one-on-one time) and learning about their background, career path and how they create value in their organization.

Ellis Jacob is a Schulich MBA graduate. In 2011, he was presented with the Outstanding Executive Leadership award at the Schulich Alumni Recognition Awards for his extraordinary achievement, leadership and innovation in a global operation. At the ceremony, Mr. Jacob said his Schulich degree has contributed greatly to his success. “The classes were very multicultural with students from around the world, even then,” he recalled. “I learned broad skills in marketing and finance as well as core business skills in areas such as leadership.”

To learn more about the CEO x 1 Day program, please visit