In this case, secondment means that my firm is loaning me out to one of our clients for a year. I will remain an employee of the firm (I still receive my salary and benefits from the firm), but I report every day to the client's office where I work alongside the in house team and am supervised by their manager. I've been seconded before: I covered for one of our domestic clients while an Asst. GC was out on maternity leave for three months. This secondment is different in that it's focused on relationship building.
I have a lot to gain from this. There's no faster way to learn what the client wants and needs than by putting yourself in the clients' shoes. If I go back to the firm next year, this will make me a better associate. If I want to apply for in house jobs instead, this experience will round out my M&A and Capital Markets experience significantly while differentiating me from other candidates. (I think this will be particularly true if I apply to in house positions in the American divisions of Japanese companies.)
On another note, because the company I'm working at is a traditional Japanese company, I'm getting immersed in Japanese business culture in a way I never thought possible for someone who isn't a Japanese speaker. This is interesting to me because my favorite moments in b-school revolved around learning about management of cross-cultural teams. In a dream world, I would love to be a professor in a MBA program teaching legal environment of business classes. I am optimistic that the experiences I'll collect this year will bring me one step closer to making that dream job a possibility.
The last year in Japan was tough, but I'm hopeful this year will be easier because (i) I'll be working more reasonable hours (more on this in a future post); and (ii) I feel like I'm doing something that will help me progress, if not accelerate, my career possibilities outside of the firm.
|Fall color in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo|