Shadow a Leader

The aim of Shadow a Leader is to give Auckland secondary school students and AUT Faculty of Business, Economics and Law students the opportunity to follow a business leader and to understand what it takes to succeed in the leader’s field of endeavour.

Download a Shadow a Leader brochure

Teams of three

Each team consists of a business leader, one secondary school student, and one AUT Faculty of Business, Economics and Law Student. 

Students are selected based on their leadership capabilities, potential and overall achievement. Secondary school business teachers and Heads of Department nominate their business students deserving of this initiative. AUT students bring their experience as tertiary students and expertise of their chosen areas of study to Shadow a Leader teams. They are charged with guiding their younger student team members.

The day

Responding to flexible working environments, Shadow a Leader is now delivered across an entire week, allowing for business leaders to choose a day in the designated week that suits their schedule and onsite activities.

The day begins directly at the organisation. The students are given the responsibility and independence to meet their business leader at the organisation.

Shadow a Leader team activities may include:

  • Strategy planning, sales, finance, or marketing meeting
  • Client meeting
  • Board meeting
  • Videoconferencing
  • Product manufacture or factory tour
  • HR consultation
  • Team building

Feedback from participants

On 4 July 2019, 164 students from 40 schools across Auckland and AUT’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law were exposed to the day-to-day workings of leadership in action. A number of students and business leaders shared their feedback with us afterwards.

High school students

Ethan Dillon, Albany Senior High School

Shadowed Rob Berrill, Agile Tribe Lead - Physical Infrastructure, Spark

"I just wanted to say thanks for taking time out of your day to show me around and thoroughly explain the ins and outs of Spark. It was amazing seeing the infrastructure and hearing how the different technologies worked and why. I also loved seeing the different teams at work at Spark HQ. You've given me a lot to think about where I want to take my business career and how I want to apply it. I really appreciate what you did, it was an amazing experience."

AUT students

Noor Yaikoob

Shadowed Jeremy O’Brien, Regional General Manager Direct and Market Development, Air New Zealand

"I wanted to extend my sincerest thanks to the both of you and wider Air New Zealand team for the time and effort you invested to make my Shadow a Leader day so memorable. Witnessing firsthand how my degree and the teachings behind it are considered and implemented in a real business setting is something I definitely do not take for granted. It has inspired me to look farther than the limits of my textbooks, and take a holistic approach to the teachings from both my Marketing and Finance majors. Having met with people of your calibre, I'd like to make a point of keeping the lines of communication open and stay in touch. I hope to cross paths with you again and continue the relationship we have created."

Business leaders

Don Aue, Associate Director - Audit, RSM Audit

"We live in a great place here in Aotearoa and it is important that we continue to support programmes such as Shadow a Leader. I am happy that our discussion on leadership resonated with the students. I believe we all have natural characteristics of great leaders, our challenge however is to nurture and develop this through practice."

Brendan Drury

Managing Director, Orbit World Travel

"Thank you so much, Annie – really appreciate the enthusiasm. This is a fantastic programme."

Sinead Boucher

Chief Executive Officer, Stuff

"We really loved having you yesterday and several of my executive team remarked how lovely it was to have two bright young women join us. It gave everyone a boost for the day."

Rowena Brice

Head of People Operations, Systems and Reporting, ASB

"The students are very lucky with AUT; Annie did a great job too, reaching out and connecting us. I was very impressed with the team. The students were attentive, curious and eager to learn."

Shadow a Leader is proudly supported by:


Contact us

For more information on how to get involved, contact:

Nirisha Niranjan
Partnerships Coordinator
Phone: +64 9 921 9999 ext 5809

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

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