A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student who spent the day shadowing the CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has said that the experience will help him to fulfil his ambition of one day running his own business.
Felix Ochefu was one of three DMU students who were named as winners of the prestigious CEO for a Day competition, which is organised by recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson and aims to give promising university students the opportunity to walk in the shoes of a senior executive.
The 22-year-old spent a full day at the ICAEW headquarters in Central London, where he joined Chief Executive Michael Izza for a busy day of meetings and engagements.
Felix believes that the time spent with the leader of such a large organisation will give him a range of benefits, including an awareness of what makes a good leader.
He said: “He is a very humble man and he wanted to make sure I understood that leadership doesn’t mean you have to separate yourself from everyone else.
“If anything, a great leader is someone who immerses themselves in the organisation they are running because that’s the best way to understand the successes and problems on the ground level as well as the top level.
“He was very generous with his time, there was no point I wasn’t with him and he tried to get me involved in everything. He told me to keep in touch and offered to help in the future.”
The Business and Management student was able to see academic theories from his degree being put into practice by a top business leader.
“The organisation has over 140,000 members so he made me understand that it’s very important to be in direct communication with every level of your organisation,” he said. “That’s the same thing we’ve been learning at university so it was good to see the real-life implications of the theories we learnt in the lecture hall.
“I spoke to the head of marketing, who explained to me that they are going through a rebranding and gave me an insight into how to launch new marketing campaigns. Some of my modules include marketing so it was good to understand how that practice is carried out in real-life.”
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Felix was fortunate to be at ICAEW on the day that Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered the Government’s autumn budget in November which gave him a unique insight into the impact the budget has on the business world.
He explained: “We all sat down in an office and watched the budget being given in Parliament. I had to take notes and they asked for everyone’s opinions, including mine. There were quite a few things in the budget that directly related to my generation so I could give my perspective on policies that affected young people.
“What I found interesting was that Michael had to give his thoughts to the press straight after the briefing. I watched to see how he handled it and he did it amazingly. He told me that with practice you understand how to deal with the press.”
Felix is thankful to DMU’s placement team who made him aware of the initiative and gave him the best possible chance to succeed in the national competition. He also took pride in discussing the work of DMU with Michael Izza and his colleagues.
He said: “The placement team told me about the initiative and we had a workshop which was really useful. They gave a lot of insight into how to build our CV, helped with putting together a covering letter and put us in the best position to succeed on the assessment day.
“I tried at every point to really promote DMU so they knew of the good things we’re doing here. I saw myself as an ambassador and I thought that was really important because it could be the first time they are hearing about DMU, so I wanted it be represented in the best possible way to everyone I met.”
When he graduates from DMU this summer Felix is still undecided about whether to apply for a graduate role or pursue the possibility of starting his own business, but the experience of shadowing one of the industry’s best CEOs has given him a platform for success in whatever he does.
He added: “CEO for a Day has given me all of this inside knowledge. My future goal is to lead my own business so these skills are good for me to pick up early in my career.”
Posted on Thursday 22nd February 2018