A Day in the Life of / Life / Life after law school

A Day in the Life of … a Heineken Asia Pacific Graduate

Name: Emily Franco
Job title: Heineken Asia Pacific Graduate – rotations in HR, Legal, and Corporate Affairs
Employer, city/country: DB Breweries Limited, Auckland, New Zealand
Length of time in current role: Since mid-March 2017
Where and when you studied law: University of Auckland, 2011 – 2015, as part of a BCom (marketing and management)/LLB conjoint degree


Describe a typical day in your job?

At the moment, I’m working on developing and executing an internal communications plan for the launch of DB’s new and improved intranet. Every day is different. On most days, I take part in one or two meetings with project teams, managers and sometimes other graduates. Around these commitments, there’s flexibility to plan your work as you need. My work consists of researching best practice, liaising with internal teams to understand their needs and learn from them, and engaging external agencies to design our web, print and video content. My typical day will change with each rotation as I progress through the HR, Legal and Corporate Affairs teams.

How did you get into this job?

My first full time job out of university was as a Tax Consultant with Deloitte. This position was a great way to utilise both my law and commerce degrees. However, I soon realised that tax law was not my career and I revisited the job market with the support of my managers. DB offered me rotations through three teams and assignments in two other Heineken companies in Asia Pacific over two years. This was my opportunity to try my hand at different disciplines in a variety of contexts and understand where best to take my career, before making a choice.

Are there particular study subjects or working experience you would recommend to prepare for a similar role to yours?

Sign up for papers, university clubs/associations and jobs which are hands-on and let you take responsibility, even if you aren’t sure what exactly interests you. Regardless of the level of responsibility in your first role out of university, you’ll be advantaged if you already understand how you work independently and in teams, and what kind of work you enjoy. For example, I signed up for extra moots, volunteered as a student advocate for the University of Auckland Students’ Association and held a variety of hospitality, office and promotional jobs. I’ve drawn from all these experiences at work since finishing university. In my opinion, it’s completely okay if you haven’t figured out what you want to do, as long as you have an open mind and keep learning how to learn.

What are the highlights of the job?

The biggest highlight is the people. My co-workers are passionate about what we do as a company, switched on and friendly; everyone makes time to get to know you and give you a helping hand. Even as a graduate, I’m trusted and supported to work on projects that make a difference to the company. Regardless of what role you apply for, it’s so important to do your research on a company’s culture before applying to see how you’ll fit in. Visit their company website, Facebook etc., chat to them during recruitment events and ask the difficult questions come interview time.
Another highlight is the opportunity to connect with the global network and understand how the industry operates outside of New Zealand.

What are the challenges of the job?

During my time in Auckland, the most significant challenge will be adapting to how each team functions each time I rotate through the different areas of the business.

Since most of the programme is overseas, it’ll be challenging navigating a different culture personally and professionally, and understanding how to develop from what I learn once I’m back in Auckland.

What kind of personal qualities are suited to this job?

Openness, flexibility and curiosity. As with most graduate positions, not every day will relate directly to where you see yourself in several years’ time. If you get stuck-in anyway, you’ll open yourself to exciting opportunities through meeting more people and learning about different areas of the business.

What one thing do you wish someone had told you at law school?

By studying law, your default career path doesn’t have to be that of a lawyer. Plenty of us at law school felt that it would look like failure to pursue other careers, but that isn’t the case! I understand that law schools are becoming better at raising students’ awareness of other career options and how to use the skills gained through your studies.

If the idea of being a lawyer doesn’t fully appeal to you, why not test the waters by attending other university departments’ career events as well as your own. If possible, intern/clerk at several companies across different industries, including law, to get a practical understanding of what you’d prefer to commit to as a graduate.

Any other advice for law students wanting to get into a similar role?

Jump at mentor programmes on offer through the university or find your own. When you’re busy balancing university, work and personal commitments, it’s easy to forget the ‘why’ behind your actions. A mentor can be the reality check you need to keep you confident and motivated.