16 UAE universities students to be part future leadership programme


CEOx1DAY a unique future leadership insight programme that pairs aspirational students with influential CEO’s, has won the backing of top universities and leaders from across the country’s diverse education and business landscape.

Designed by Odgers Berndtson, the international executive search, assessment and development consultancy with an office network spanning 29 countries, CEOx1Day matches a carefully-selected cohort of 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students with top regional CEOs for a full working day or more in the UAE.

In the 2019 scheme, more than 200 UAE-based students applied to be part of the programme, with entries coming from 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.

Mark Houghton, Managing Director UAE, Odgers Berndtson

The candidates were put through a rigorous multi-phased assessment and interview process, which included: online applications, personality profiling, telephone interviews, followed by an assessment day incorporating; group work and case studies, and one-on-one interviews with Odgers Berndtson partners. The final 16 were selected based on an assessment of their individual leadership potential.

“The UAE’s business and education landscapes have matured dramatically over recent years and the country is now well-placed as the regional home of our globetrotting CEOx1Day scheme,” said Mark Houghton, Managing Director UAE, Odgers Berndtson. “The students have gone through a rigorous selection programme involving Hogan psychometric assessments, searching interviews and presentations evaluating seven well-known dimensions or characteristics that influence occupational success.”

Students will now shadow CEOs from: Alabbar Enterprises, Aster DM HealthCare, Atkins, Averda, Colgate-Palmolive, Dubai Airports, Dubai Opera, Dyson, Ferrero, Jaguar Land Rover MENA, Nestle Middle East, NMC Health Plc, Refinitiv, Siemens Middle East and Zurich International Life.

“We have managed to secure top-level support from companies spanning a wide range of sectors and, there may be an in interest in hiring, or offering internships, to some of the shadowing students,” said Houghton.

Sophie Robertson, Events & Marketing Project Manager for CEOx1Day

With all 16 student spots in the CEOx1Day 2019 programme now taken, the Odgers Berndtson team will pair students with CEOs ahead of the shadowing exercise in September and October.

“The shadowing component will allow students unrivalled access to progress career paths, understand their businesses of interest and, of course, the realities of life at the summit of a major organisation,” added Sophie Robertson, Events & Marketing Project Manager for CEOx1Day.

Offering a student’s perspective on CEOx1Day, Oleksandra Rovinska from New York University Abu Dhabi said “There have been multiple points of self-reflection throughout the programme. The Hogan assessment has given me a better understanding of my personality and what makes me tick on a personal and professional level. I’ve had the opportunity to work on interesting projects, meet students from other universities and work individually as well as part of a team.”

“Being paired with a CEO provides us with real-life, first-hand insights into what it takes to run a company – large or small. I hope to lead a company one day, so this programme is invaluable for my immediate learning and long-term development,” continued Rovinska.

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