UOIT students embrace special hands-on opportunities through CEO for a Day program
UOIT profiles 2 students selected as finalists for the CEO x 1 Day pilot program.
Unique opportunities for hands-on learning and practical experience in the workplace are among the many reasons a growing number of students are choosing to study at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).
Recognizing how important such opportunities are for undergraduate students, Odgers Berndtson, Canada’s leading executive search firm, sought a way to connect top third- and fourth-year university students with some of Canada’s leading leading chief executive officers (CEOs). That idea led Odgers Berndtson to launch its CEO x 1 Day program in Canada – a unique career development opportunity and a chance for students to apply in-class learning to a real-world situation.
“Launching nationally in the fall of 2013, UOIT was selected as a pilot site for CEO x 1 Day because its emphasis on experiential learning and co-op opportunities attracts the kind of students the program is looking for,” said Jacqueline Foley, Chief Marketing Officer, Odgers Berndtson. “Odgers Berndtson worked closely with Cisco Canada and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to create a unique and meaningful experience for the two finalists from UOIT.”
The successful UOIT students were Mats van Kleef, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering and Management student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and Emma Donnelly, a fourth-year Commerce student in the Faculty of Business and Information Technology.
Van Kleef spent March 21 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, exclusively with Tom Mitchell, CEO, OPG. He toured OPG’s Sir Adam Beck generating complex and attended a news conference announcing the service launch of OPG’s recently completed new 10.2-kilometre Niagara Tunnel which redirects Niagara River water from above the falls to the Beck complex turbines further north.
It struck me how much effort goes into the people side of the business,” said van Kleef, who spent a previous summer working for Suncor Energy. “Upper management instills a culture in all employees through leadership by example. Tom Mitchell showed me the importance of being humble, open-minded and authentic. These are traits that will help young engineers succeed along their career paths as much as it helps CEOs effectively run their companies.”
Donnelly spent April 3 with Cisco Canada President Nitin Kawale, learning about his leadership style and the company’s day-to-day operations. In addition to participating in a TelePresence conference with Cisco officials in California, she also attended a special event in Scarborough, Ontario where Cisco celebrated a recent Emmy Award win for excellence in PVR technology.
“The CEO x 1 Day program was an amazing experience where I was able to see what a day in the life of a CEO of a multi-million dollar company is like,” said Donnelly. “My day with Nitin showed me that being a CEO is definitely something I would like to aspire to someday.”
The CEO x 1 Day pilot project began in January, when Odgers Berndtson approached three UOIT faculties (Business and Information Technology; Energy Systems and Nuclear Science; and Engineering and Applied Science) to encourage their students to apply for the CEO x 1 Day program.
“We received 35 applications from highly qualified candidates across the three faculties,” said Foley. “Our team of executive search consultants evaluated each application based on the student’s GPA, the breadth of their work/volunteer experience and extracurricular activities, and the quality of their essays on leadership.”
A number of students were then selected to complete an online leadership assessment survey provided by Hogan Assessments and some took part in phone interviews. The top 12 candidates were invited to attend a half-day evaluation event at Odgers Berndtson’s office in Toronto. Semi-finalists participated in individual and group exercises, including speed interviewing and presentations, and had an opportunity to meet and network with some of Odgers Berndtson’s consultants and partners.
About CEO x 1 Day
CEO x 1 Day, exclusive to Odgers Berndtson, Canada’s leading executive search firm, is a program that matches third- and fourth-year university students with some of the country’s leading CEOs. CEO x 1 Day is a unique career development opportunity and a chance to apply in-class learning to a real-world situation.
Launching nationally in the fall of 2013, UOIT was selected as a pilot site for CEO x 1 Day because its emphasis on experiential learning and co-op opportunities attracts the kind of students the program is looking for. Odgers Berndtson worked closely with Cisco Canada and Ontario Power Generation to create a unique and meaningful experience for the two finalists from UOIT.