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AUS students achieve overwhelming success in CEOx1Day program
Nine students from American University of Sharjah (AUS) were selected to shadow prominent UAE businessmen for a day as part of the CEOx1Day program, an initiative that pairs third and final-year undergraduate students with top CEOs. More than half of the 16 students selected for the competition were from AUS, reaffirming the university’s stellar academic reputation and the employability potential of its students.
An initiative by Odgers Berndtson, an executive search and development consultancy, CEOx1Day offers local business leaders a chance to give back to the community by mentoring university students for a day or more, providing them with insight into the world of leadership.
This year, more than 200 students applied for the program from universities including AUS, Abu Dhabi University, New York University Abu Dhabi, University of Sharjah, Heriot Watt University Dubai, Middlesex University in Dubai and the University of Wollongong in Dubai.
The applicants went through an assessment process that included online applications, personality profiling, psychometric assessments and telephone interviews.
The overwhelming success of AUS candidates in this year’s competition once again reflected the trust the marketplace has in the skills and abilities of the university’s students.
Nidal Sherif, currently studying mechanical engineering at AUS, participated in the competition because he wanted to understand how the industry worked by shadowing a prominent industry leader:
“I wanted to understand the process and how the philosophy of decision making happens. As someone who’s only been a student before and never worked in the industry, it’s an entirely new perspective of the decision-making process.”
Sherif, who was paired with the CEO of Averda, hopes to one day start his own company and use this experience as something to reflect back on.
For architecture major Hudaa Roshan, who worked with the CEO of Atkins for the day, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where she had a chance to understand the market and learn about leadership and how to handle responsibilities at a senior level. “It is very important to combine that sort of experience with our education,” she said.
On being asked to recount a memorable aspect of her day, she said: "The most interesting aspect was meeting the graduates from Atkins' graduate program and learning about their personal transition from academia to professional practice. This program allows for architects and civil engineers to pursue a British chartership while balancing work. It is opportunities like these that help people grow and become more accomplished in their field."
The experiences with the CEOs varied. Touqa Beltagui, majoring in computer engineering, was paired with the CEO of Dyson and attended a machine launch event at Dubai Opera. “I got to know my CEO and how he handles his operations and how he deals with his clients and employees. I encourage my peers to apply for this competition because you have so much to gain from it and you will network with so many people from different fields.”
Paired with the CEO of Alabbar, English literature major Rubaiya Chowdhury summed up her experience by saying:
“A great leader is not just someone who can lead well but someone who is empathetic and encourages their employees to lead along with them. It wasn’t how he ran his business that intrigued me but how endearing and emotionally connected he was with his colleagues.”
The initiative works both ways, with students learning from the top leaders about the workings inside an office environment, especially at the higher executive level, and the CEOs gaining insight into the perspective of future generations.
Students from AUS who were selected for the program included:
· Touqa Beltagui, computer engineering major, paired with Dyson
· Muaaz Adra, industrial engineering major with a minor in engineering management, paired with JLR
· Hadeeqa Latif, finance major, paired with Zurich
· Mohammed Abdelbary, marketing major, paired with Serco
· Nidal Sherif, mechanical engineering major, paired with Averda
· Ibtisam Abeid, management information systems major, paired with Aster Healthcare
· Rubaiya Chowdhury, English literature major, paired with Alabbar
· Hudaa Roshan, architecture major, paired with Atkins
· Iman Siddiqui, marketing/supply chain management major, paired with Nestle
Known throughout the region for paying great attention to corporate and industrial needs and requirements, AUS is committed to ensuring that its programs reflect current national and regional challenges. This commitment is reflected in the curriculum changes it periodically makes in it some of its programs. This, along with its emphasis on hands-on work experience, is one of the reasons why AUS graduates tend to find success in the job market after graduation.