A learning experience between South Africa's current and future leaders

When a student gets to job shadow a CEO of a leading financial services firm for the day, not only do they get to learn from the experience but the CEO does too. The Odgers Berndtson CEOx1Day programme facilitates the exchange of learning between both the future leaders of South Africa and the current business leaders. Anet Ahern, Chief Executive Officer of PSG Asset Management, participated in the programme, hosting MBA student Takura Malaba, Industrial Engineer (MBA candidate) for a day.

Anet Ahern

Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa chatted with Anet to hear what she valued most about the experience:

OBSA: What was your impression of CEO for a Day, as an initiative to pair up South Africa’s future leaders with SA’s CEOs?

AA: I found it quite energizing, and it gave me a new perspective on my job.  It was good to reconnect with the enthusiasm with which I viewed my current job many years ago, instead of just tackling the daily challenges and the to-do-list!

OBSA: What did you find most beneficial?

AA: Verbalising the context and purpose of each interaction or meeting forced me into greater awareness of my daily purpose.

OBSA: Were there any assumptions you may have had about millennials or the youth which were proved incorrect by the time you spent with the student? What was most surprising to you?

AA: Takura was polite, well dressed, and seemed very serious about his career.  I guess I don’t always see that!

OBSA: What advice would you give to young leaders in South Africa?

AA: Find something you can get your teeth into and don’t buy into the need to chop and change.  Take a longer-term approach and be patient with your firm and yourself.  Skills and acumen are acquired over time, often by facing similar problems over time and coming up with better solutions.  Make your career decisions after getting the facts, and engaging with your firm in a thorough manner.  Situations are fluid, and while you are building a story in your head, the real one is evolving all the time.