Edinburgh Napier student to shadow business leader after making final of national competition

Date posted

2 May 2019


An Edinburgh Napier student will become the CEO of the UK’s leading network of independent girls’ schools – for a day. 

Thomas Clark has been shortlisted for leading recruitment consultancy Odgers Berndston’s CEO for a Day programme and will link-up with the Girls’ Day School Trust later this month. 

The 21-year-old – who is in his second year of a Social Sciences degree at Edinburgh Napier – will shadow the organisation’s CEO Cheryl Giovanni in London as he gains an insight into the organisation and its activities. Student Thomas Clark

Odgers Berndston’s CEOx1Day programme is designed to uncover some of the UK’s most promising future leaders and give them the chance to walk in the shoes of a senior executive. 

The scheme gives undergraduate students the opportunity to learn about the responsibility and complexities required to lead some of Britain’s leading businesses. 

For Thomas, the chance to gain such an insight at an early stage of his career is one that he can’t wait to grasp with both hands. 

He said: “I’m always looking for ways to gain experience and learn from business leaders so I thought this competition would be a good fit. 

“I really enjoyed the one day recruitment process in London – it was great to meet other like-minded students and I’m thrilled to have made it through to the shortlist stage. I can’t wait to meet Cheryl and her team and spend a day learning all about her organisation and how it works.

“I’m interested in learning more about the balance between third sector organisations and business, as well as hearing Cheryl’s thoughts on the importance of diversity in business and giving the younger generation a voice to be heard. I’m sure it will be incredibly beneficial to me – especially at this stage of my career – and I can’t wait to get started.”

Although still an undergraduate student, Thomas is already making inroads into the corporate world and currently sits on the board of both ENSA – Edinburgh Napier’s Student Association – and the Alec Dickson Trust – a charity that supports young people through volunteering and community service to enhance the lives of others. 

Giving younger people a voice in business is something that he feels passionately about and he’s hoping that having younger representation on the Boards of businesses becomes a regular occurrence in the near future. 

He added: “One of the strengths of the CEO for a Day programme is that it’s not one-way communication. We truly feel like we are being given a fantastic chance to enter into two-way conversation with some of the country’s most successful business leaders – a chance that not many people our age get. 

“I truly believe that young people can offer a varied perspective that can enhance a businesses’ strategic planning. I’ve found my time on the Board of ENSA and Alec Dickson Trust extremely worthwhile already. 

“Diversity on boards can have a positive impact on an organisation and I’m hopeful we’ll see more and more businesses welcoming individuals – of all ages and backgrounds – onto them in the near future.”

More details on Odgers Berndston’s CEOx1Day programme can be found here.