It is part of our mission to support our Business students outside the classroom and our new Business Advisory Board offers students the opportunity to learn from the best in the business world. Board member, Nicholas Conway, Director in Deloitte’s Forensic Technology department in London, offers his insight into the business world and provides our students with some key advice.
Nicholas brings with him a wealth of knowledge in the legal technology field, along with a common-sense approach to business. He is also a ULaw Alumni completing his BVC (BPTC) in 1998 at our Moorgate campus.
I qualified at the Bar in 1998 and have spent the last 20+ years in both the UK and Australia implementing technology solutions to simplify traditionally complex legal problems. Solutions have included developing electronic courtrooms, online subscription services for legal judgments and eDiscovery and communications monitoring services. I have had the great fortune of working on some iconic engagements with some great people and this has provided me with vast knowledge that I can take to every new engagement I work on.
Forensic Technology uses advanced technological solutions to retrieve, search and analyse large and complex data sets. This enables our clients to gather information that can be used to address litigation issues, investigations, regulatory and financial crime requirements.
My role is rich and varied, combining running a business with delivering innovative solutions to clients. I work with clients in multiple industries across jurisdictions and it is this variety that keeps my role interesting and engaging.
The most important skills I’ve developed in my role is listening and mutual respect. This applies whether you are speaking with clients or colleagues. No matter what career you choose, you need the help and support of others in order to achieve personal goals. I have never forgotten those clients and colleagues who have helped me and in recent years, I now find myself being able to play that role for the next generation of aspiring business leaders.
The most relevant and interesting area of my studies at ULaw allowed me to focus on the truly vocational part of qualifying as a barrister – and that related to developing my negotiation, client conference and advocacy skills. Nothing helps you develop better than watching yourself back on video trying to have a client conversation with an (actor playing an) angry client who’s threatening to sack you.
I really love coaching and mentoring people – whether it is at home for my teenage sons or at work for my team. Joining the Business School’s Advisory Board is a great way for me to help shape both the support and education that ULaw’s undergraduates should receive and also enables me to meet with individuals who could really use some practical advice from those who have once stood in their shoes.
Providing students with access to people who have so much experience to share, is the most fantastic initiative. I wish I could have had such a resource available to me when I was a student. These days, there are so many great opportunities and avenues available for people to choose from that even knowing where to begin can be a daunting task in itself.
I hope to bring hope to bring experience, innovation and fun to the Business Advisory Board.
I have a very open style and encourage contributions from everyone in my team. I heard a very famous businesswoman talking recently about this very point. She summed this up perfectly and I completely agree with her. She said that an effective leader is one who empowers those that are working with you because without them you are nothing. It is really important to surround yourself with a team whose opinions that you trust and who are not in any way frightened of disagreeing with you. Most importantly, you have to listen to those opinions.
So many business commentators discuss the ‘rapid rate of change’ and how ‘doing business will look so different in the next five years’. A chosen career in one profession 20 odd years ago requires a very different set of skills and attributes for the equivalent career today and this is only going to continue to rapidly evolve year-on-year. Business leaders need to ensure they can offer or influence the shape of training that individuals receive prior to entering the workforce in order to ensure that the future generation is as prepared as it can be to transition from student to staff member. Additionally, many businesses will need to re-visit the concept of what being an employee at their business looks like. The way we work and the demand for agility is only going one way so organisations will need to adapt to attract the best talent.
Choose carefully and think about what it is that is attracting you to your chosen career. Mainly because you will be doing it for a long time so you might as well do something that you really enjoy. If you find that thing that you love, it won’t even feel like work.
The most important thing business students should be doing outside the classroom, is gaining exposure to as many different relevant experiences as possible. That experience might simply be going to a networking event or it might be watching a TED talk. The key is relevance; there’s no point going to a networking event on Equity and Trusts in the hope of meeting a bunch of lawyers with whom you have nothing in common if your interest is in technology innovation. Try and plan out a diary of activities ahead of time – while you might not attend all of them, you can prioritise the top five and thereafter, who knows what might happen off the back of a chance meeting or conversation.
Discover more about the members of our Business Advisory Board now.