Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What's a Secondment?

This post started out as a reply to CP's comment, but seemed long enough to be a post of its own.  So here it is!
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

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