Shadow a Leader

The Shadow a Leader programme invites New Zealand’s organisation leaders to provide an opportunity for an AUT business and law student and an Auckland secondary school student to ‘shadow’ them.

It's an innovative, industry-focused and educational initiative to support the development of future leaders of New Zealand.

Benefits of the Shadow a Leader programme

  • For organisation leaders: an opportunity to share stories and insights into their organisations
  • For students: an invaluable experience to spend a day in the professional world, exposing them to the skills and attributes to navigate a successful career in their chosen field

Download a Shadow a Leader brochure

How it works

Teams of three

Each team consists of:

  • An organisation leader
  • An AUT Faculty of Business, Economics and Law student
  • A secondary school student

AUT students studying business and law are invited to apply for a placement, taking into consideration their GPA, their final year of study in either undergraduate or postgraduate programmes, participation or being in leadership roles in student clubs, and recommendations by academics.

For the secondary school students, each student is nominated by their teachers or career advisor for showcasing leadership capability in conjunction with academic ability. These may include those students managing successful Young Enterprise Scheme initiatives.

What happens on the day

Shadow a Leader is offered for one week only with organisations locking in only one day in this week that suits their flexible working environment and availability. The agenda for the day is arranged by the organisation leader and may include strategy meetings, sales meetings, site visits, factory tours, HR consultation, product manufacturing, board meetings and senior staff meetings.

The student teams are given full independence to navigate their way to the location, present themselves to the leader and connect with their ‘buddy’. All participating students will be advised of which day they're attending their ‘Shadow a Leader’ day, details of the location (building floor and address), meet up time, contact information and any special requirements.

Feedback from participants

Between 27 June and 1 July 2022, 84 student teams joined 65 organisations across Auckland for a one-day experience. See feedback from some of the participants below.

AUT students

Rinesh Sean Rattan
Bachelor of Business in Information Systems and Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences conjoint programme

Shadowed NZ Small Medium Corporate Lead, Chief Marketing & Operations Officer and Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand

The highlight of Shadow a Leader with Microsoft was being able to understand the day-to-day life of a large organisation and how they operate, and seeing how our university courses transfer to the real-world work industry.

Wairua Taru Grant Puketi
Postgraduate Certificate in Law

Shadowed Head of Centre and Shared Services Manager at the Centre of Social Impact

The biggest highlight of the day for me was the care and aroha that each person I interacted with showed not only to myself but to the work they do on a daily basis where you can tell that they are authentic in everything they do! I would most certainly recommend that Foundation North continue to be used in future Shadow a Leader events with AUT.

Elodie d’anglejan-Chatillon
Bachelor of Business in Accounting and Bachelor of International Hospitality Management in Event Management

Shadowed General Manager of Ingredients, New Zealand for Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited

The highlight of my day was speaking to multiple employees within the organisation and asking them questions regarding their work. It was insightful to gain their perspective on different issues happening currently, and how COVID affected them and their teams.

Lani Fairburn
Bachelor of Business in Finance

Shadowed Chief Investment Officer of NZ Funds

I enjoyed having a great Year 13 student who made the day great with fun company and liked being able to see what life after uni could potentially be like. It’s given me extra motivation that I need to do my own extra study to get that 'edge' as the level of expertise that these leaders had was incredible to see. This type of learning can't be replicated in a classroom and is definitely something I will be recommending to any student at AUT. I emailed my Secondary School student ‘buddy’ beforehand and asked if he wanted to grab a quick coffee before so we could head into the firm together. I think suggesting this idea to future students is great. It made the day less daunting and the Year 13 thanked me for emailing him, which is great.

Secondary school students

Sharliz Ang
Sancta Maria College

Shadowed Group Chief Executive Officer of TPT Group Holdings (NZ) Ltd

My highlight was definitely hearing about the experiences that led Mike to where he is now and important concepts regarding leaderships, as well asgetting to know other employees’ journeys and advice in the business world. I also enjoyed hearing what meetings for TPT Group Holdings are like and walking through their business room - the technology area.

Deiza Talreja
Avondale College

Shadowed Managing Director of Orbit World Travel

Honestly, I enjoyed everything! I guess the most exciting part was sitting through some job interviews, because I got to see things from the interviewers' perspective, and it was overall pretty amazing.

Oshyn Mulipola
Auckland Girls' Grammar School

Shadowed Chief Executive Officer of Minter Ellison Rudd Watts (Law Firm)

My highlight was visiting the High Court and listening to real-life court hearings, it was awesome because it was my first time. Meeting the interns and summer clerks was also a highlight because they were relatable and open to the many questions I had. Because of them, I had a better and fair idea in terms of what I would like to study.

Matthew Lay
Henderson High School

Shadowed Executive Team and Chief Executive Officer of Spark New Zealand

The highlight of my day was being able to meet new people from across different backgrounds. This would include the students I met across different schools and the Spark leaders I was able to get to know more. The biggest highlight overall was being able to talk with the CEO of Spark New Zealand. I definitely learned a lot from her and her goals, which opened up insights as to what I would like to learn in future.

Organisation leaders

Dom Pringle
NZ Small Medium Corporate Lead, Microsoft New Zealand

I liked the amazing questions the students asked. They were highly engaged, and the questions demonstrated a genuine curiosity.

Teina Teariki Mana
Manager, Community Engagement, Vector

This was my first Shadow a Leader assignment with AUT, so my highlight was the shared learning experience between us both. My student was fantastic, really great to engage with.  We shared life experiences, family, challenges through learning/working remotely, and all types of opportunities.  Whilst her major differed to my role fundamentally, our roles were interconnected as we were in the business of relationships, creating new and nurturing existing connections, communicating clearly, and listening, which is the most important skill to have and in turn builds trust.  I'm honoured to be able to support and spend a day with a young rangatahi who is in the early stages of navigating her professional career.

Karinia Lee
Kaihautu, Centre of Social Impact

I enjoyed not only sharing the mahi of the Centre of Social Impact but also being able to seek input from both Holly and Temima on two projects that I am currently reviewing/providing feedback. I felt it was very insightful to get the rangatahi viewpoint.

Richard Catherall
Innovation Investment Manager, Auckland Council

I enjoyed the feedback and candour of the participants e.g. 'I have never been part of a conversation like that'.  The impact on my team. We learned more about each other through the shared experience, and really, we should have known more already.
Shadow a leader - Kainga Ora
Shadow a Leader day at Kainga Ora Homes and Communities with AUT Alumni, Joanne Johnson – Hobsonville, 28th June 2022 (Student Participants: Sarah Dukes – Bachelor of Business, Ben Wells – Westlake Boys High School)
Shadow a leader - Tower
Shadow a Leader day at Tower Insurance with Chief Executive Officer Blair Turnbull - Auckland CBD, 29th June 2022 (Student Participants: Matthew Darrah – Bachelor of Business, Zoe Fischer – St Cuthbert’s College)
Shadow a leader - Just Water
Shadow a Leader day at Just Water Group with Founder and Chief Executive Officer Tony Falkenstein with Pure SEO Chief Operating Officer Kyle Marr – Penrose, 27th June 2022 (Student Participants: Kylan Waters – Bachelor of Business, Abby Buckthought – Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Communication Studies Conjoint, Mahi Desai – Macleans College)
Shadow a leader - WDHB
Shadow a Leader day at Waitemata District Health Board (WDHB) with Executive Director of Innovation and Improvement, Penny Andrew – North Shore Hospital, 30th June 2022 (Student Participants: Sam Harding – Bachelor of Business, Simran Punwani – Botany Downs Secondary College)

Contact us

For more information on how to get involved, contact:

Nirisha Niranjan
Partnerships Manager
Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 5809
Mobile: +64 21 07 00 901

Melanie Barr
Director Student, Business and Community Partnerships
Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 9336

Website search