Competition win sees student experience the life of Wyevale’s CEO for a day

BSc Business Management student, Tom Harris, won the School of Management ‘Shadow a CEO’ competition giving him the opportunity to shadow the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wyevale and gain valuable management experience from an expert in his field.

Tom Harris and Wyevale CEO Roger MclaughlinThe School of Management’s in-house Careers Team offer continuous employability support to students, from one-to-one mentoring sessions and CV/interview advice to hosting business networking events and sourcing work experience placements. Tom has taken full advantage of the support on offer in his four-years at Swansea University and when he heard about the Careers Team’s ‘Shadow a CEO’ competition, jumped at the chance to apply. Wyevale CEO Roger Mclaughlin judged the entries, which involved students creating and uploading their own video CVs, and Tom secured the one position on offer, getting to spend a day at their centre in Syon Park, Brentford. Shadowing Mclaughlin on a core-trading day in early March, the opportunity offered Tom invaluable work experience to add to his CV, immersing him in a fast-paced work environment and providing first-hand experience of the roles and responsibilities of a CEO.

It was a perfect opportunity for Tom, who is a keen gardener, to spend time at the UK’s biggest garden centre retailer. With 147 garden centres nationwide, Tom was not only interested in experiencing an organisation of interest to him but also in learning how a CEO effectively manages their responsibilities and makes decisions that impact the whole organisation commercially.

Taking stock of the busy day, Tom said: “I literally spent the whole day shadowing Roger, so everything Roger saw and heard I did as well.

“I think the most amazing part was being involved in the morning executive meeting … listening to the dynamic team discuss different business areas. What an opportunity!”

Tom also said: It was really applicable to my university course, as I’m studying a module on leadership this term. It gave me insight into what a CEO expects from his team and how leadership style can help achieve this.”

Further highlighting how beneficial the experience was for him and why other students should get involved in activities like this, Tom shared:

It was really useful for the CV. Most importantly for the graduate and placement market. Interviewers really look for extra bits of experience when you are applying for a job and the Careers Team offer many opportunities that help you get that experience.

They supported me when applying for a placement year, practice interviews and placement opportunities sourcing - they’re a constant support team who will help focus your mind as well.

“My recommendation... take advantage of the amazing opportunities offered to you!” 

Jess Loomba, School of Management Careers Consultant and organiser of the competition said:

“Within the Careers Team we are always looking for practical ways in which students can enhance their skills and professionally develop. Tom’s visit to Wyevale is an excellent example of this and we are grateful to the company for offering this opportunity to School of Management students.

“As Tom has made an initial great impression, the ‘Shadow a CEO’ competition will be held on a regular basis allowing more students to enhance their skills and experience a day in the life of a CEO.”

See Wyvale's website for more information about the company.

For more information regarding employability support in the School of Management, contact the School of Management Careers Team.