16 Feb It’s all about adaptation
I’ll be honest….I have not used any of the information I have learnt at university while at my internship in Shanghai. I feel that all the theory I have learnt has not been relevant to the field of law I am working in at my law firm, i.e. international and corporate law. Although I have touched on these areas at university, I have not learnt the specifics. For example, as part of my internship I had to write a couple of reports on ‘EB-5 Projects’. I had not heard of these while at university, even though they are a part of international and business law. So most of the content I have been referring to, in reports written during my internship, is new to me.
Working as an intern is quite different in a way to learning theory at university. I feel that there is less pressure to learn large amounts of information, as you are dealing with specific topics/jobs. Whereas, at university you are required to learn many topics within one field of law. So you get a more general overview of subjects at university. Therefore you are learning more detailed information in the work place, as you are working ‘up close and personal’ with a job. This is because it is important to know as much as you can about a job in order to best serve the client.
However there were times when I did have to draw upon skills learnt at university. For example, remembering how to write a report. It is not everyday that an arts student has to write a report. Fortunately, I have taken some biology units that required me to write a report, thus I knew the structure. This allowed me to ensure the work I submitted to my internship supervisor was professional and structured correctly.
One similarity, which I did not expect, was the ‘assignment feeling’. At my internship I am given certain jobs to do and so far they have all been research, reports and proof reading. Sounds familiar hey? This is the typical process I go through when writing one of my many law research essays at university. I did not expect to have to use the same process in the ‘real world’. I always thought ‘what is the point of these boring, ridiculously time-consuming essays?’ Turns out, they actually have a purpose! So actually put effort into those assignments kids, because they aren’t all pointless!
Overall, I believe you learn as you go in an internship or in any job. You learn how the company wants to be presented to clients, how to impress your boss, and you learn as much information as you can about the topic related to your current task. It’s all about adaptation.
One really fantastic part about the Absolute Internship program is the career events. Tomorrow we are lucky enough to receive a talk from the creator of Sherpa’s! He will discuss with us how he started the business, how he managed to turn his company’s failing around and how the company is currently going. I am so excited for this! I have had a few speeches from entrepreneurs at university before and they have all been so inspirational. So I am really looking forward to hearing his speech. Plus, it’s Sherpa’s! Everything about Sherpa’s is great!
In terms of networking, I was invited to a networking dinner by my internship supervisor Jessie. She invited Emma and I to a dinner with potential clients of our law firm. This was a fantastic experience! Most of the people at our dinner table were CEO’s of law firms in places such as New York and Hong Kong. They initiated the exchanging of business cards with Emma and I. It was a good thing we listened when the Absolute Internship Program Director explained how to give and receive business cards, because that is exactly how they did it. They really do study the card after receiving it. The dinner required no thinking. Our supervisor’s assistant actually said to us that all we have to worry about while at dinner was eating. This was made easier by the facts the food was delicious, the restaurant was very fancy, and none of the dinner guests spoke English. So Emma and I just smiled and ate the whole time – no complaints.
Therefore Absolute Internship has provided me with the practical experience of working in a real law firm, with business knowledge and inspiration, and given me the opportunity to network with CEO’s of very successful companies. It truly has been an amazing experience, both in terms of business and culture.