Meet the finalist with job offers from three magic circle law firms
‘I’m confident but also nervous about the future – more excited than anything else though’
Before reading any further, make sure you’re sitting comfortably and are prepared to feel very inadequate about what you are doing with your life.
Selina, a third year PPE finalist at the University of York, is the student that we all wish we could be. Academically excellent, involved with a host of student societies, founding a maths tutor group for struggling students AND gaining three job offers from the very prestigious group of the five magic circle law firms.
We caught up with Selina to learn the secrets behind creating a stellar CV, tips on how to network your way to into an industry, and just generally setting yourself up to win at life as a graduate.
Hey Selina, firstly, what job have you got lined up for next year? Are you excited to start it?
I have accepted a training contract with a commercial law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. I’m really excited but won’t be starting for a while – 2018 – as I’ll have to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) before I can start.
Is it annoying that you won’t be able to start until 2018, or have you accepted it as part of what the career entails?
Not at all! Like you mention already, I accepted quite early on that as part of becoming a lawyer I would have to continue studying for at least a year and a half before starting the job. In a way I’m actually very grateful for it because the prospect of coming straight out of university into a full-time job is quite a scary thought for me. I think doing the GDL and LPC will be a really good way to ease me into the commercial world and the world of work in general.
Did you have any other job offers or opportunities to consider before deciding to take what you did?
Before accepting the training contract with Freshfields, I also had to decide between offers at Slaughter & May and Clifford Chance. I did Vacation Schemes at these three firms so it was a really hard choice for me – I really enjoyed my time at all three, but ultimately, Freshfields felt like the right ‘fit’ for me.
That’s very impressive. How does that make you feel? Are you confident for the future?
It was really humbling to be offered these jobs and to know that these firms wanted me to work for them. I know I put in a lot of work throughout the year with regards to applications and interviews so, more than anything, I was just really relieved it had all paid off in the end. I’m confident but also nervous about the future – more excited than anything else though.
Did having a great job lined up take the pressure off with your final exams?
Definitely. If anything, the fact that I didn’t have to go through any more gruelling applications or interviews, which are both time-consuming and involve a lot of pressure, gave me a lot more time to plan for, and think about, exams. I do still have to get a 2:1 for the job, though, so exams weren’t completely stress-free.
What do you think is the underlying reason behind your drive, pushing yourself towards exceptional achievement?
It might sound a bit clichéd but I would say my Dad. He was the most hard-working, driven person I’ve ever known. Growing up, he supported me in everything I did and instilled in me the confidence to pursue anything I wanted to achieve.
How are you feeling about moving to London?
Very excited but slightly nervous. London is a completely different place from anywhere I’ve ever lived before but most of my close friends at university are moving there too, so I won’t be alone in making the move.
What will you miss about being a student/in full time education?
I’ll still be in full-time education for another year and a half (GDL and LPC) but the main thing I’ll miss when I start work is, without a doubt, the long holidays we get as students and the sense of community there is at university on nights out and on campus. I don’t’ think there will be anything quite like that at work.
It seems like you’ve set your goals high, worked really hard, and achieved them. What advice would you give to people who also want to dream big and go out there and achieve something big?
My best advice would be to break down your ‘big’ goal into smaller ones. So, if your overall goal is to get a graduate job at Goldman Sachs by the end of university, break that down into smaller, more short-term goals to help you get there. That way a goal that seems initially difficult to achieve, can become more tangible and achievable. You might also want to do something to set yourself apart from other candidates, for instance learn a new language, start up your own university society, business or initiative, or even do a charity project. It’s really important to use your contacts and be a contact to others too. In turn though, I’d say it’s important to reciprocate and help others wherever possible – you’d be surprised how many people will return the favour wherever they can.