Kerry graduated from Deakin last year with a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws degree, majoring in Economics, and is now a consultant in Ernst and Young’s (EY) Reward team, within EY’s People Advisory Services – the HR consulting arm of EY.
Unlike many, he didn’t choose the “traditional” law school path of applying for clerkships and then working in a law firm.
“I was working for EY in their Global Mobility Tax team during my penultimate year, and having enjoyed the work and culture, I decided to try EY’s Reward team. I am so glad I did. Now, I am a consultant within the team, which helps organisations design and implement reward strategies to attract, engage and retain their people. The team has individuals with diverse skill sets, including legal, HR, organisational psychology, data analytics and even creative writing! Working here, I am able to put to use all my legal skills, as well as the skills I gained from my commerce degree.”
Kerry’s career shows that students studying a double degree don’t have to make a choice between working in the field of only one of their degrees, instead there are avenues to put both your degrees to use if you choose: “For students studying a law degree in combination with an arts, commerce or science degree, the Big 4 Consulting firms are an excellent avenue to apply your combined skills,” Kerry says.
How have the skills you gained during your law degree helped you at work?
“I use all the skills I gained from my law degree, including the problem solving and critical thinking skills I gained from solving fact-based law questions; the written communication skills from my law assignments and exams; and the time management skills I gained from having all my assessments due in the same week! Communication and teamwork are two essential work skills I gained from university. Learning how to work with others and how to communicate with my peers has been integral to my career. While I gained some of these skills from class presentations and group assignments, it was the non-core subjects like the study tours, legal internships and Law Clinics that helped me immensely in developing these skills. I’ve had some fantastic experiences at Deakin, including leading a team of four students while undertaking a business internship in Malaysia, and volunteering at the Kimberley Community Legal Services Centre in Kununurra, Western Australia.”
Kerry during his volunteer stint in Kununurra
Have you studied abroad? What did you gain?
“Yes, I undertook the Chinese Commercial Law Study Tour in 2014, the US Criminal Justice Study Tour in 2015 and the Malaysia Team Internship in 2016. These were all short-term programs which I was able to complete over the trimester breaks, which meant I didn’t have to extend my degree to do them. Short term programs are a fantastic way to see a new country, learn about new cultures, and make lifelong friends. The experiences you gain from these programs can’t be replaced in the classroom. Importantly, programs like this help you develop ‘Global Citizenship Skills’ which are really important if you want to work for a global firm like EY, which employs and works with clients from many different cultures and backgrounds.”
Kerry attending a Ramadan Iftar feast while in Malaysia
What advice would you give to current students?
“My advice is to make the most of your time at university – make friends, travel, and get involved. But remember, university is the best time to start developing the skills that will make you successful in the workplace; so do as many study tours, internships and law clinics as you can, as these experiences will develop your skills the most.
Start thinking about the kind of workplaces you might like to work in, and start applying for their entry programs. EY, for example, runs a Game Changers Club for students in their pre-penultimate year, which is an introduction to the firm. Many law firms run similar programs as well. These programs will give you a better understanding of what work life looks like and can even increase your chances of securing a job in the future! Careers fairs are also a great way to meet potential employers.
When drafting your CV, try to demonstrate all the work relatable skills you possess. Even if you’ve only had, for example, retail experience, you can still demonstrate transferable skills such as customer service, teamwork and problem solving, all of which are essential in the workplace. Remember, all of your experiences can help you land your dream job.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. University can be stressful so find time to exercise, see friends and have fun. If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Best of luck!”