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University students to spend a day with top CEOs

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on August 27, 2019
University students to spend a day with top CEOs


Undergraduate students from some of the UAE's top universities will get the chance to spend a whole working day with the CEOs of 16 UAE-based companies, as part of a unique development programme that is designed to give the students invaluable insights into the working life of a CEO.

The CEOx1Day programme, now in its second year, will match third and fourth year undergraduates from six universities with CEOs a contingent of business leaders from companies ranging from Alabbar Enterprises, Dubai Airports, and Dubai Opera through to The Lego Company and Nestle Middle East. The final 16 students, who were selected from over 200 applicants, are currently studying at the American University of Sharjah, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, Middlesex University in Dubai, the University of Wollongong in Dubai, New York University Abu Dhabi, and Abu Dhabi University.

During their 'shadow' day, the students will gain one-on-one time, learning about their chosen business and the reality behind how a company operates directly from their paired CEO. The CEOx1Day programme is managed by international executive search consultancy, Odgers Berndtson, which has already guided the 16 finalists on recruitment processes, team building and presentation skills. The programme will run from September through until the end of the year.

"Selected students will have the opportunity to shadow leaders from a range of sectors, all of which have vital roles to play in the UAE's ongoing industrial and economic development," said Mark Houghton, managing partner at Odgers Berndtson, Middle East. "The finalists shone through the selection process and we have high hopes that this year's CEOx1Day will be a positive and rewarding experience for what is an accomplished 2019 cohort."

Several of the CEOs involved in the scheme have already hailed it as a mutually beneficial experience which empowers business leaders with a better understanding of millennial aspirations and thinking, while also enabling the organisations to demonstrate a solid commitment to the next generation.

"This is reverse mentoring in action," Houghton further explained. "Past students have told us how the scheme has brought the reality of business to life and seeded great respect for the CEOs in some of the tough day-to-day decision-making they have to undertake. Conversely, the CEOs say the students have given them new perspectives on a number of issues which have led to several innovative measures being pursued."

The full list of companies involved are Alabbar Enterprises, Aster DM Healthcare, Atkins, Averda, Colgate-Palmolive, Dubai Airports, Dubai Opera, Dyson, Ferrero, Jaguar Land Rover MENA, Medcare Hospitals & Clinics GCC, Nestlé Middle East, NMC Health, Refinitiv, Siemens Middle East & Siemens LLC UAE, The LEGO Group and Zurich International Life.


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