One of the most common questions for students coming to the end of their final year seems to be ‘What’s next?’… I know that is exactly what I asked myself when I finished my exams in January, knowing I had only four months to go until graduation. It can be hard to truly decide what you want to do when you’ve only been doing theoretical work for the past couple of years. For that reason, I decided to widen my horizons and apply to more than just law firms. After looking over the weekly opportunities update list sent out by the School of Law Employability Office, I came across the role of a Legal and Compliance Intern. It sparked my interest since it seemed like it would be a great combination of legal work but also policy work which would give me a variety of tasks within different departments. The role was being offered by General Electric Company (GE), which engaged my interest that much more. I knew that working at a place like GE would provide me with the experience I needed while being able to live through what it is like to work at such a global and renowned multinational conglomerate. Throughout the application process I realized that my experiences at Leeds and the opportunities I was privileged to be a part of were what led me to secure the internship.
The University of Leeds offers many avenues to find out about different opportunities and available job postings. The School of Law Student Employability Office offers a lot of information regarding law firms, positions within the School itself, as well as volunteering opportunities with different organizations. Through things like weekly updates, career talks and fairs, and international focus groups, there are many ways of finding out exclusive opportunities for Leeds students. Likewise, the Career Centre offers application advice, interview practice and assessment day preparations for any type of job applications. The Careers Centre also offers a huge database where it posts national and international job opportunities and graduate internships. This is exactly how I got involved with the Forgotten Heroes Charity when I applied through the MyCareer page, and looked for a charity of my interest where I could volunteer during my studies. I was lucky enough to be a part of the team as an Executive Supervisor overseeing other volunteers and working alongside the Chairman.
Through the part-time positions offered at the University, I was able to work as a Link to Leeds Ambassador and a Student Engagement Ambassador for the School of Law. I represented the University when doing campus tours for potential students, speaking about my experiences at Open Days and participating as a student representative on an interview panel. I was also selected to be a part of an exclusive Leeds University student work placement at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer where I work-shadowed different solicitors and completed a bribery case study. The School of Law’s award-winning pro bono opportunities were one of my highlights of my last year. As a StreetLaw workshop volunteer, I organized a 40-minute workshop with two other students on the Gender Pay Gap and presented it to Year 12 students. I was also a part of the Welfare Appeals and Tribunal Clinic project with the Chapeltown Citizens Advice Bureau. I worked alongside a Welfare Rights Appeals Worker to prepare her clients for tribunal hearings and assisted with completing their appeals forms. Best of all, I was able to represent the University at a UK-wide Sports Negotiation Competition organized by Gateley Plc. Not only was this a stimulating experience, but it helped me improve my on-the-spot negotiations skills when my partner and I had only 30 minutes to prepare our case for our client before each negotiation stage.
I would not have had the ability to hone all my skills, whether its researching, time-management, diligence or negotiation skills, without having the chance to be a part of all the different opportunities organized by the School of Law and the University of Leeds. I realized this when, during my interviews, I kept being asked by employers about the positions that I was a part of at my time at Leeds. They were genuinely interested about what the position was about and what I was able to contribute during it.
During my first four weeks at GE Capital, I’ve learned many new skills of research and analysis with a whole new level of responsibility. Yet I’ve been able to incorporate all those skills from my academics and volunteer experiences much more than I ever thought I would. Through the online application process, to the assessment test and video interview, to completing the final interview, I can safely say that the University of Leeds offered me a great foundation to build upon. My experience at GE so far has been outstanding, from the training and support of the team to the high degree of ownership I’m entrusted with. I was lucky to be assigned to the Financial Crime and Compliance team within GE Capital as an analyst, to ensure compliance with financial regulations and policies. It’s definitely not one of those typical ‘intern’ positions, even though I’m more than happy to get a coffee for my manager anytime.
I’m glad that I’m able to develop and progress in such a renowned company with over 125 years of experience investing in the future of industry and sticking to the core beliefs of customers determining success. Following the words of the Head of the Law School, Alastair Mullis, ‘your degree gives you 1,000 days to make a difference’, I’m thrilled that I can work alongside GE during my internship to make that difference.