Edinburgh Napier student to shadow Sainsbury’s chief after making Odgers Berndston’s CEO for a Day final
An Edinburgh Napier student is set to become head of one of the UK’s largest chain of supermarkets for a day.
Audrey Opdycke-Barnes has been selected for recruitment consultancy Odgers Berndston’s CEO for a Day scheme and will take the top job with Sainsbury’s next month.
The 28-year-old, who is currently studying a Masters in Intercultural Business Communication at Edinburgh Napier, will spend a day shadowing current Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe at the leading retailer’s HQ in London in November.
The programme – which Opdycke-Barnes is one of only two students from Scottish universities to make the final of – is designed to forge closer links between CEOs and emerging talent. It offers students an opportunity to gain first-hand experience of senior management at an early stage in their own careers.
Opdycke-Barnes said: “I received an email regarding the programme from the careers team at Edinburgh Napier. To be honest, I have never aspired to be a CEO but I was intrigued by the scheme and decided to enter.
“I popped in an initial application, worked my way through the stages and after a group interview in London, I’ve made the final 24 – I’m both surprised and delighted to officially have been selected onto the initiative!
“I wanted to challenge myself and was happy just going through the assessment process with a consultancy firm but now I’m looking forward to spending a day with the team at Sainsbury’s. It’ll be an invaluable insight into the workings of one of the UK’s biggest organisations and I’m really looking forward to it.”
For Opdycke-Barnes, who moved to Edinburgh from San Diego, California when she was just four-years-old, the CEO for a Day selection is another impressive addition to her CV.
She won a scholarship to attend space camp with NASA when she was just 15. She’s already studied Aerospace Engineering at University of Glasgow, she graduated with a degree in International Business from Edinburgh Napier earlier this year and has previously held roles with leading retailer H&M and within footwear brand Hunter’s international sales team.
She added: “Although my career is still very much in its infancy, I’ve always been keen to show that there is a pathway for young women to progress in their chosen field. There are not enough female CEOs in the world so it is important, through programmes like the CEO for a Day scheme, to show that it is possible to make it to the top.
“In the future I’d love to work in management within the arts and culture sector – a role within the inner workings of an organisation such as the BBC or Channel 4 is the dream.”