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News@Ivey · Communications

A Seat in the C-Suite for two Ivey students

Mar 3, 2014


Neck ties and blazers may be proper business attire for HBA students, but it’s not often that they get to step into the shoes of Canada’s top CEOs.

However, Michael Delplavignano, HBA 2014, and Kaiz Alarakyia, HBA & BESc 2015, suited up for the very task this winter.

Finalists in the Odgers Berndtston CEO X 1 Day, these two undergraduate students travelled to Toronto to spend a day job-shadowing two of Canada’s top CEOs. Delplavignano was paired with Saad Rafi, CEO for the 2015 Pan Am Games, while Alarakyia spent the day with Nitin Kawale, CEO of Cisco Canada. Both students were selected from hundreds of applicants and made it to the final round based on their combination of academic integrity, extracurricular involvement, and leadership potential.

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Here’s what they had to say:

“The highlight of the day for me was getting to have a one on one lunch with Saad. I was able to learn a lot about how Saad got to where he is today and how he learned to become a leader. From the roles he had early on to the techniques he currently employs as a leader I found his insights very valuable and something I hope to keep in mind as I accept leadership roles that continually require more responsibility in the future.” - Michael Delplavignano

“One of the biggest lessons I took away was how important ‘the people factor’ is in leadership and businesses. Almost all leaders don’t understand that they need to care about what happens when employees go home at the end of the day. I need to lead in a way that respects the individual, and often this comes down to the little things. Another lesson is how to lead a company that is already performing tremendously. Nitin refuses to coast on the success but places emphasis on pushing Cisco to develop even further. This refusal really speaks to me and I am inspired by his dedication to this goal.” - Kaiz Alarakyia

Perhaps a decade or two down the line these two keen business students will be mentoring members of the HBA class of 2030 from their director’s chairs. Until then, they’ve gotten a firsthand experience of life in the C-Suites of Cisco Canada and the 2015 Pan Am Games.