Would you let an MBA student be CEO for a Day?

What would you do if you were CEO for a day? With a natural aptitude for leadership and business acumen to boot, Takura Malaba, Industrial Engineer (MBA candidate) at Wits Business School, recently took part in Odgers Berndtson’s prestigious CEOx1Day programme, where he spent a day job-shadowing Anet Ahern, Chief Executive of  PSG Asset Management.

Takura was one of the first MBA students to take part in the programme this year with more to follow in during the months of September and October. Students were selected from a rigorous selection process involving extensive online assessment and a one-one interview.

Takura and Anet

Takura called his experience enriching and said the most valuable part of the experience was witnessing how CEOs make decisions on their feet. Additionally, he learned how fast decisive decisions need to be made from information accumulated from multiple sources, and the importance of listening as well as traits of kindness and consideration.

Odgers Berndtson Sub-Saharan Africa caught up with Takura to hear what he thought of the experience:

OBSA: What did you find was the most valuable part of the CEO for a day experience?

TM: Gaining insight into the world of a CEO gave me confidence in my personal abilities and made me feel like that is something I can eventually do – although I still have a long way to go to get there. It was also valuable to be exposed to different kinds of leadership styles with proven success.

OBSA: What was the most surprising part of the experience?

TM: I assumed CEOs would be stern and intimidating. Anet wasn’t intimidating yet still commanded respect. The most surprising thing about her was that she was extremely humble, down to earth and accommodating. I was concerned that she would brush me off for most of the day as she would be too busy. But she went out of her way to make time for me and ensure I felt included and my time at PSG was maximised.”

OBSA: What was your biggest outtake from the programme?

TM: The youth really appreciate and value good mentorship. We need more programmes like CEOx1Day. We need to include the youth in decision making and ask for their opinions.

The CEOx1Day programme is a global initiative exclusive to Odgers Berndtson with over 700 CEOs and students participating worldwide. Please email info@odgersberndtson.co.za if you are interested in applying for the 2018’s or would like to take part as a CEO.