How can an international experience boost your career ?

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On 29 June, Careers-in- Law and the MBA of Assas University organised a round-table to gather legal and recruitment professionals in order to provide an answer to the question : “how to go abroad in order to gain valuable work experience?” Students and young professionals are more and more eager to find ways to strengthen their resumes with an experience abroad.

Emphasising this experience for recruiters


An international experience remains a real lever to boost careers. Recruiters are more and more attracted by international profiles: “On top of linguistic qualities an experience abroad provides, it also demonstrates open-mindedness and an ability to adapt, explains Reine Kouvinga, head-hunter at Shilton Sharpe Quarry, the candidate shows he is able to get out of his comfort zone and to adapt to the country in which he moved. With globalisation, language skills have become commonplace and an experience abroad, crucial”.


For her part, Bénédicte Wautelet, ex-lawyer and now general legal counsel for the Figaro group underlines the fact jurists often remain on the national territory due to their studies. However, an experience abroad in an English-speaking country is both a good add to a CV but also opens doors to international mobility.


Volunteering, an LL.M. or expatriation?


Now you know you want to leave, you have to figure out how and in which framework. Adrien Perrot, now partner, was eager to enter working life and chose to look towards French law firms offering volunteering experience in their firms abroad. This is how he ended up joining Gide Loyrette Nouel’s team made up of 20 associates in Shanghai.


For his part, Grégoire Miot tells us how he decided to go to Mexico on a whim speaking very little Spanish. He joined Goodrich Riquelme &  Associados, unhindered, as a partner: “It was very interesting to work with associates from a different culture and for the firm it was an asset to have an expatriate associate. I was able to bring a different vision with more methodology and group reflection.”


For LL.M. programs, Elise Moron, a King’s College London graduate, adds that an experience abroad brings a lot both professionally and personally: “Humanly, there are lots of new encounters with people from different cultural backgrounds, the atmosphere is very cosmopolitan. We can also discover a new legal cultural system. The way courses are run diverges from our university ways. Before each course, students are aware of which subject will be covered in the next course. The modules take place only for students to ask questions on areas they do not understand. The proximity with professors also surprised me. They are very open and close to their students. I even went out for a drink once with one of my professors to talk about his module.


But an LL.M. is also a real opportunity to create your own international network which can be a real goldmine in the future for professional projects, underlines Rania Soppelsa of the International Law School Sorbonne-Assas in Singapour. Especially with selective programs, in England or in the U.S. for instance, it will be all the more recognised on a CV. An experience abroad must be coherent with your professional ambitions.


Is it preferable to do volunteering work or an LL.M.? According to Reine Kouvinga, there is no privileged experience: “the importance is to have an international experience and the way that a candidate will talk and sell his experience. As a whole, spending time abroad demonstrates that a candidate is ambitious, autonomous and can adapt with ease.”


To read the full transcript of the conference, click here.