9 Jan 2015

From Bern to Brussels: a MILE student on the road to success

"It is important to engage with people from different professional, social, economic, political and cultural backgrounds."

Lester-Jon Naidoo, who completed the MILE 14 programme, went straight from Bern to Brussels, where he works as a legal advisor for EU Regulatory and Trade Law Specialists, Grayston & Company law firm. After studying in South Africa and England he gained work experience in both countries and has a global perspective. Lester is currently visiting at the WTI, before commencing his legal practice examinations in London in June.

How did the MILE programme prepare you for your current position?
The boutique law firm Grayston & Company practises cross-border work in International Trade Law. This is a perfect fit with the MILE programme, which is premised essentially on what I’m doing. Transposing what I had done on the MILE programme into practice made the assimilation much easier. The class on International Negotiations was pivotal from a professional view point.

The professional pressure on the MILE course, and the professional environment in practice, to perform at your optimum and deliver to deadlines is one and the same thing.

The MILE programme not only provides a platform for academic advancement, importantly it provides an insight into the corporate world, the legal world and the business world. The MILE equips you with the tools to effectively engage in those environments in a constructive manner.

The MILE programme is very intensive. What helped you to get through it?
I think, what’s very unique about MILE is the support structure, which is at all students' disposal. People within and associated with the programme are very cognisant of what the students are experiencing academically and therefore provide the professional, academic support and resources for students to deal with the programme effectively.

In addition, there is a very good sense of camaraderie among the students.

When you started out you knew where you wanted to go. Do you think it helps to know where you want to end up?
In the MILE programme  you ought to have an idea what your end goal is, apart from acquiring a degree. I knew I wanted to work in a law firm and be in private practice on completion of my studies.

I dedicated a considerable amount of time to networking. Apart from the academic tuition, the networking is part and parcel of the programme. I think it is rather important to engage with people from different professional, social, economic, political and cultural backgrounds; it makes for a richer learning experience at the World Trade Institute.

Do you have any advice to give to current or potential MILE students?
It’s important to recognise that when you are reading a degree your primary purpose is to apply yourself to the task at hand.  I would suggest coupled with studying, create a network and make professional associations; it will stand you in good stead.