Top bosses make undergraduates "CEO for a day"

Chief executives from Visa, The Royal Mint, Department of Transport and Sainsbury’s give students a first taste of leadership.

A star line-up of chief executives from top companies and organisations are embarking on “CEO Days”, each taking a UK undergraduate as their real-life apprentice, helping them to develop their career ideas and ambitions.

Today Charlotte Hogg, CEO of Visa, is sharing a working day with Jacqueline Gomes, studying politics and legislative studies at the University of Hull. Last week Anne Jessopp, CEO of The Royal Mint, took part, and Bernadette Kelly, Permanent Secretary at The Department of Transport, welcomes a winning student tomorrow.

In total CEOs of 21 organisations are taking part in “CEO for a Day”, run by executive search firm Odgers Berndtson. The initiative is in its third year in the UK, also running across the international firm.

“The need to innovate and manage generational changes in the workforce are big issues for all senior leaders,” said Kester Scrope, Chief Executive of Odgers Berndtson. “This gives CEOs a chance to engage in a very personal way which is also of immense value to a young person starting out.”

Many of the winning students have very modern expectations of senior leaders, strong ideas on what “good” leadership looks like, and are keen to see change.

“The current model of leadership is very much geared towards the 'male' characteristics of leadership and undermines attributes historically associated with women such as being more vulnerable, open, creative and honest,” Ms Gomes, shadowing Charlotte Hogg, explained earlier in the process.

Her impressions, like those of the other UK winners, are now being revealed in real time on the Instagram feed for Odgers Berndtson, which the winning students are taking over on their days. 

“We want to inspire a new generation and show how exciting leadership can be,” said Mark Freebairn, who runs CEO for a Day for Odgers Berndtson in the UK.

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