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Bright Future For Shadowing Students

Bright Future For Shadowing Students

Eight top Victoria University accounting and commercial law students will each spend a day in the office with a senior public sector finance executive following an initiative by global accounting body CPA Australia.

CPA Australia’s New Zealand Country Manager David Jenkins said the Shadow a CFO initiative is all about introducing top talent to prospective employers.

“Shadow a CFO gives these students the unique experience of spending one-on-one time with a leading Chief Financial Officer. It will expose them to the real world of business and help open up internship and possibly longer term career opportunities within the public sector, and elsewhere.”

The Shadow a CFO initiative saw students making a ‘dragon’s den’-style presentation to a panel of high powered Chief Financial Officers from across the public sector.

“Standing in front of a group of CFOs was both daunting and inspiring,” said final year B.Com student Robert Whitefield, 20, of Upper Hutt. “It was a unique opportunity and you just had to get over your fear and make the most of it.”

“What I’ll take away from the experience is that if you’re ambitious and you put in the effort, you can make it. The CFO I will be shadowing for a day is Thor Gudjonsson from the Ministry of Justice. He’s made it to CFO level and he’s only 32!”

“The other key learning is the importance of being able to back up your statements with evidence, and the need to anticipate tough questions. These are things I expect to encounter in the workplace.”

Paul Helm, CFO of the New Zealand Transport Agency, was impressed with the quality of the students.

“Given these are top students, the CFO panel had pretty high expectations. I’m pleased to say they all performed well under some fairly intense scrutiny, and all have a bright future in finance. From a public sector perspective it was encouraging to see the sector is seen by students as an attractive path for top-flight finance careers, particularly here in Wellington.”

The participating CFOs are:

· Sara Brownlie, CFO, Central Agencies Shared Services, Treasury

· Giles Southwell, CFO, Inland Revenue

· Matthew Needham, CFO, Department of Internal Affairs

· Thor Gudjonsson, CFO, Ministry of Justice;

· Paul Helm, CFO, New Zealand Transport Agency

· Tony Murray, CFO, Ministry of Primary Industries;

· John Gill, CFO, Datacom New Zealand;

· Kevin Martin, CFO, NZ Customs;


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