‘A law degree can open doors’ – law graduate shares her post-LLM journey into corporate governance

My name is Grâce Bogba and I completed my LLM in Banking and Finance Law from Bristol Law School in September 2019 and have been working at Nestor advisors, a London-based advisory firm focused exclusively on corporate governance, ever since. The firm advises European and emerging market financial institutions, States and corporates as well as charities, family-owned and private-equity-backed companies.

I initially joined Nestor advisors as an intern and have been working as a junior analyst since April 2020.

What does a corporate governance analyst do?

Before getting into the specifics of my role, I would like to first define corporate governance because if you are anything like me at the time I applied for the position, you probably do not know much about corporate governance.

According to the Chartered Governance InstituteCorporate Governance refers to the way in which companies are governed and to what purpose. It identifies who has power and accountability, and who makes decisions. It is, in essence, a toolkit that enables management and the board to deal more effectively with the challenges of running a company. Corporate governance ensures that businesses have appropriate decision-making processes and controls in place so that the interests of all stakeholders (shareholders, employees, suppliers, customers and the community) are balanced.”

As a corporate governance analyst, my role includes completing basic and advanced analytical governance research, conducting benchmarking and gap analysis exercises against national and international best practices and writing client-specific reports and documentation (i.e. internal terms of reference, regulations and charters). I am also involved in the preparation of business proposals, presentations and workshops as well as interviews of clients’ key personnel. Since joining the firm in September 2019, I have worked on a variety of projects ranging from the review of the performances of boards of financial institutions to the update and development of national corporate governance codes.

What skills are required to work as a corporate governance analyst?

There is a legal aspect to corporate governance, albeit a limited one, as many of the requirements regarding the formation and activities of companies are dictated by law or regulation. In that sense, my legal knowledge as well as the analytical and problem-solving skills acquired during my studies were of great help to me both during the recruitment process and afterwards. As a matter of fact,  the team at Nestor advisors is multidisciplinary with backgrounds in law, economics, finance, management, and social sciences, and interestingly enough the founding director himself is a lawyer.

Moreover, given the diversity of the firm’s clients, most of whom are based in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, fluency in one or more foreign languages is an asset.

More importantly, creativity, the will and the ability to learn quickly as well as a “can-do attitude” are, in my opinion, the main skills needed to evolve in this fast-paced environment. Consultancy work can be demanding at times and involves long hours so flexibility is a must.

“Since working in this field I have developed new skills and competencies – such as data collection and analysis skills – while also putting to use my legal skills.”

Getting started as a corporate governance analyst

As mentioned earlier I started working at Nestor Advisors right after completing my LLM program. At the time, I was not looking for a career beyond traditional law firms and was actually scrolling through the Careers Service website in search of a training contract opportunity when I stumbled across Nestor advisors’ 6-month internship offer.

Back then, I did not think I met the criteria since I had no knowledge of corporate governance but went ahead and booked an appointment with a careers support officer who gave me invaluable advice on how to tailor my resume and cover letter to that specific offer.

At intern level, the recruitment process itself comprised of 3 steps:

  • Review of the applicants’ resume and cover letter;
  • Short-listed applicants are sent a practical case to complete in a set timeframe; and
  • Successful applicants are invited to an interview with a senior analyst.

The whole process, especially the practical case, seemed quite daunting at the time but in retrospect, it was a good learning opportunity as conducting the necessary research allowed me to get an understanding of corporate governance as well as its implications and challenges, which obviously came in handy during the interview.

Key advice

My advice for law students researching a career is:

  • Make use of all the resources that Bristol Law School and the Careers service has to offer It is worth giving it a try whether you are looking for interview tips, help with your resume or simply would like feedback on your cover letter.
  • Don’t limit your job search. (Big) law firms are not your only options. A law degree can open doors in banking, consulting, lobbying etc so I strongly recommend keeping an open mind.
  • Be audacious. Apply to positions even when they are not exactly law-related or you don’t meet all the required qualifications.
  • Put an emphasis on transferable skills. By studying law, you acquire much more than just a degree, you develop strong analytical, problem-solving and time-management skills to name a few. Make sure to highlight them on your resume.
  • Make use of your social connections. I would suggest considering setting a LinkedIn profile. Longer than a resume and more representative of who you are, it can be a big help in finding a job.

Further information

For more information on exploring specific career options, current law students can access tailored careers advice through our regular Employability Bulletin and a wealth of resources on our Blackboard page here. See our full Careers and Employability webpages here.

If you are interested in studying one of our postgraduate law courses, such as the LLM in Banking and Finance, you can join our next virtual open event on 4 March 2021. Sign up to the event via our virtual events webpage.

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