It usually takes many years and a wealth of experience to attain the rank of CEO. But the path to power, or at least a taste of it, was a lot quicker for Sammi Mak. The City University of Hong Kong (CityU) student had a rare opportunity to work directly with senior leadership at Adecco Group, a Fortune 500 company, when she was selected for their “Hong Kong CEO for One Month” scheme. During her month-long CEO experience, she worked alongside Audrey Low, Adecco’s managing director, Hong Kong and Macau. Low taught her about the nuances of finance and marketing, and brought her to board meetings which allowed her to gain insight onto the broader concepts of management. She also received valuable mentorship from company executives, and improved her presentation skills by taking a public speaking course. “It was amazing to see how Audrey could quickly analyze data and provide feedback during department meetings,” says Mak, who is about to begin her third year of banking and financial services studies at CityU. “The experience far exceeded my expectations, and I think the CEO internship will add a ‘wow’ factor to my CV,” notes Mak, who believes more companies and university students would benefit from similar programmes. “Employers often say they are looking for people with experience, but how can undergraduates gain experience if they are not offered internships or work placements?” she notes. “University graduates may not have experience, but we have enthusiasm and new ideas,” Mak adds. “We understand technology, and we know how to implement digitalisation into the workplace.” As part of her CEO experience, Mak initiated a social media project to help the Hong Kong Adecco Group form relationships with students who had the potential to become employees. She also formulated the first steps of a five-year plan to use digitalisation to strengthen Adecco Group’s global employee retention initiative. “It was inspiring to work on these projects within such a large organisation,” says Mak, who has been attracted to the banking industry ever since she started watching films featuring Wall Street. Once she completes her studies, Mak intends to pursue a career in investment banking, as the industry’s connection to cross-border, international markets appeals to her. Mak also coordinated with colleagues from different departments at Adecco to organise events. She worked with the marketing team to help host the 30th Anniversary Dreams Come True Charity Event, and helped with team-building activities like a staff run for the Adecco “Win4Youth” initiative. “I helped organise events at school and university, but this time it was on a completely different level,” says Mak, who advises young people to boost their capabilities and confidence by stepping outside their comfort zones. Mak won the CEO role after joining shortlisted candidates for group discussions and workshops. She also gave a presentation which explained why she would make a good CEO, and what she would do if she won the position. “I just stayed true to myself, and approached each stage calmly, but with enthusiasm,’’ she says. Low says Mak’s exemplary performance shows just how much talent young people can bring to the workplace. “There is a lot that can be learned from young people, even for those who have been in the workplace for some time,” she says. “This includes new ways of doing things, and how to make better use of technology.” Low adds that it was clear during the group and individual interview stages that Mak’s natural enthusiasm and leadership skills matched the company’s core values of team spirit, customer focus, passion, responsibility and entrepreneurship. Mak’s CEO experience is part of a wider global scheme run by Adecco Group. Every year, the company selects talented young people from 50 difference countries to have the chance of becoming “CEO for One Month”. The most promising 10 proceed to Adecco’s boot camp in Europe. After this, one candidate is chosen to travel around the world with Adecco Group CEO Alain Dehaze for a month. Dehaze will share the knowledge and experience gained from running a company of 32,000 employees with the lucky youngster.