What’s your job about?
For my Corporate/M&A seat, it involved work relating to mergers and acquisitions of companies from the initial contact all the way to the finalisation of the transaction.
My day starts with checking emails and seeing if there are any updates overnight and responding accordingly. We are often involved in cross-border transactions so it is usual to get emails overnight from the US or Europe. I will also draft a checklist of “to-dos” for the day so that I have a general idea of what my day will look like. Depending on the transaction, my main job is to assist the associate or counsel in charge of the matter throughout the day. More often than not, I am assisting a few associates at a time, so the type of work varies throughout the day. A common task in Corporate/M&A is conducting due diligence on a target company, where we assist our clients to carefully assess associated costs and risks prior to completing the purchase of a target company.
What’s your background?
I grew up in Australia, but for certain periods of time in middle school and high school, I studied in China.
I think one of the most important stages of my life would be my school education. Due to my parents’ business, I moved around quite a bit (six cities, nine different schools) and learned very quickly from a young age the importance of learning and adapting very quickly for each new environment that I was placed in. The ability to liaise and deal with people from different cultures was important growing up in international schools where students came from different backgrounds and prioritised different things. My friends that I made in an international school and the experiences I had (whether good or bad) shaped me into the person I am today.
I have been working as a trainee for one-and-a-half years. As an Australian university student, I randomly applied for an internship opportunity in Hong Kong, without actually thinking much about settling in Hong Kong. I just wanted more work experience at the time. However, after interning at White & Case Hong Kong for three weeks, I fell in love with the team, the work and was excited with the prospects of working in Hong Kong in the early stages of my career.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Any person, with any type of background, is able to do this job as long as they are hardworking and keen to learn.
Other characteristics would include being a team player, understanding the difficulty with work/ life balance and understanding that our work is client-driven—and being someone who is not afraid of making mistakes but learning from them.
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest thing about my job is that I am able to do an overseas secondment, which involves working for a different office in a different country. This allows me to travel a bit while working in a new environment.
What are the limitations of your job?
As a trainee, you work on various work streams and although there are always associates that monitor your work, you are still required to be responsible for the work you help out with. This may involve taking responsibility for certain workstreams of the transaction. Inevitably, working on weekends does happen and you do have to accept that this comes with the nature of the job. The biggest limitation is managing your time. You do not necessarily have control of your time, so there will be times where dinner plans or holidays are cancelled to meet deadlines set by the client.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
If I could go back in time, I would be kinder to myself and not stress out so much about university deadlines. I would try not to care so much about what other people think; and push myself out of my comfort zone because that is how you grow as a person.