Features - Alum of the Month
New York Program
January 2004 Intake
What and where did you study before your Mountbatten internship?
BA in History and Geography at the University of Leeds.
What made you apply for the Mountbatten programme?
My undergraduate degree did not lead me down a specific career path and so I went travelling for a year after graduation (the well worn STA Travel route of Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the US/Canada).
I found out about the Mountbatten programme through a friend I met in New York on the last day of my travels whilst I was contemplating what I was going to do when I returned to the UK. Hollie was on the Mountbatten programme and sold me on the idea of working abroad. I felt it was a fantastic way to gain valuable work experience whilst experiencing a different culture.
Describe your sponsor company and your role within it.
Having expressed an interest in law at my interview in London I was placed with a small immigration law firm near Times Square. I was thrown in at the deep end with numerous files being given to me from an early stage. I was greatly indebted to the Mountbatten interns there from earlier intakes who were invaluable in building my knowledge.
I was a paralegal at the firm which meant that following the attorney's initial meeting with the client I would prepare and submit immigration applications, liaising with the client when required. It was a brilliant experience and gave me a great insight into the workings of a law firm.
What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your working experience during this year?
The most memorable moment was succeeding with an application for a person of extraordinary ability. The threshold for this type of visa was extremely high and it required creativity to highlight the strengths of the individual. The final application was over 40 pages long and was enough to get the visa despite the individual not meeting all of the requisite criteria for such visas.
I also remember being sworn in by a judge at the downtown family court so that I could be a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care. This was the culmination of rigorous training and enabled me to work in the legal sphere as a volunteer for children in foster care for 8 months.
What was the social highlight/most memorable moment during this year?
It is very difficult to pinpoint one specific highlight as the whole year was so great, however having Christmas dinner with champagne at the Plaza Hotel is probably the day that sticks out. We were leaving New York a few weeks later so it was the last hurrah with the amazing friends I had made that year.
Other highlights include our various trips out of NYC and generally going out around the city with friends.
Please share a little wisdom/philosophy that you acquired during your internship
Live for the moment; sleep when you get old.
If you could change anything about your internship, what would it be?
Twelve months did not seem long enough when there was so much to do and as with many returning interns I left New York with the feeling that I had not fully explored the city.
Whilst I have made many friends for life, my biggest regret was I undervalued the importance of networking. Looking back on the year I would have liked to have made and retained more business contacts whilst I was on the internship, both with other interns and people I met in New York.
What happened after completing the year - what did you do next?
My experience during my year in New York made me realise I wanted to work in the legal sector. When I returned from New York in January 2005 I applied for a vacation scheme and training contract at TLT LLP which at that time was a rapidly growing dynamic law firm in Bristol. It was clear from my interview that having Mountbatten on my CV was something that differentiated me from other candidates and a significant proportion of my interview was spent discussing my internship and what I learnt from it.
I was offered a training contract starting in March 2008 and completed the one year law conversion and the Legal Practice Course at the University of the West of England.
After completing the academic stage of my legal studies I had a few months before I was to start my training contract and went to study Mandarin at Beijing Language and Culture University. I did not know any Mandarin before I arrived in Beijing (courtesy of the Trans-Mongolian railway which I highly recommend) but believe the Chinese market will be a vital part of business in the UK during my generation.
Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
I qualified as a solicitor in March 2010 and work in the Real Estate team at national law firm, TLT. The firm is growing rapidly and has recently announced that it is launching operations in Northern Ireland and Scotland so that it can offer clients legal services across all three UK legal jurisdictions.
I am advising clients such as EDF Energy, British Waterways Board, Covent Garden Market Authority and TUI Travel on some major projects which have national significance. For example, I am currently assisting on a multi-billion pound project which is the largest infrastructure project in Europe.
Do you have any future plans that you would like to realise & what are they (career & social)?
I am getting married next year which is the thing I am most excited about in the future. I also want to see more of my friends, especially those from the Mountbatten Programme.
I am still in the early stages of my legal career and I am keen to meet with as many Mountbatten Alumni as possible and hear about their career path after their internship. TLT continues to grow and I look forward to continuing to work on significant real estate projects as the firm expands. Perhaps I will run the New York office one day…!
The Alumni events have been a fantastic forum to meet fellow alumni, however due to the time constraints of those events I am keen to meet alumni for coffee or drinks after work. No matter where you did your internship (or when), please do get in touch: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/david-hobbs/b/b79/9ba