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Carol Chai: Preparing for a Career in Commerce and Law

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“I wanted to keep my options open so I got exposure from the law side of things and the commerce side of things which is why I am doing internships in both fields.”

Carol went into her undergraduate pursuing two different fields of study, commerce and law. Interested in both fields, she wanted to keep her options open while figuring out what her future looked like. As Carol’s second year at university came to a close, she began looking into jobs in her field, and notes “I could have started a bit earlier and that could have given me more time to experience more roles.” 

Starting off her professional work mostly in the legal field, Carol references how she’s determined to get commerce experience, “not wanting to confine myself to one area and taking advantage of the double degree.” Heading in that direction, she’s preparing for a work experience with KPMG this summer.

“I’d always known that Forage does virtual internships and I found them helpful to just get anhttp://theforage.com/blog/basics/virtual-work-experience idea of what this team does.”

Originally finding Forage in preparation for her clerkships, Carol completed a few law virtual experience programs, including KWM, MinterEllison, and Baker & McKenzie which she recalls, “really do simulate the type of work you do during your clerkship.” She even used one of the email structures in her actual clerkship work!

Wanting to feel more prepared for commerce work, Carol enrolled and completed the KPMG Tax virtual experience program. As she was applying for the position, she wanted to “learn a bit more about the firm in comparison to the other Big Four.”

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“It is a really worthwhile program and you don’t have to prepare a lot before you go into it, you can walk into it with an open mind and you might discover or clarify where your interests and strengths lie.”

The program made her realize how transferable the skills from her law experiences are to the tax field. She felt more comfortable knowing there were so many similarities between the law and commerce worlds. She reflects, “so in the sense it made me less stressed about going to a completely strange field that I haven’t worked in and that affirmed that maybe I should apply for those roles just because they aren’t as scary as I thought.”

When discussing her future experiences about commerce, she feels more confident that “I wouldn’t walk in feeling like I know nothing.”

Advice to First Years

Besides Forage, Carol advises those just beginning their university studies “to start thinking about your future plans early so you have more time for trial and error and you have more time to play around with different options before settling into what you are really passionate about.”

Connect with Carol on Linkedin here.

Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.

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