By the SMU Digital Marketing Team
The business landscape is rapidly transforming in recent years. Increasingly, organisations look for candidates with multi-disciplinary experience when hiring, and this is the case even in specialised fields such as law.
SMU provides many opportunities for students to pick up such cross-disciplinary knowledge, says SMU Yong Pung How School of Law final year student Juhi Agrawal. In her time at SMU, she has experienced for herself the strengths of the university’s pedagogy, as well as the opportunities it creates for students.
She cites her participation in the 2022 SMU Legal Innovation Tech (LIT) annual Hackathon, which Juhi says has led her to better understand business problems and contribute to practical solutions during her law internships.
At the same time, the development of soft skills such as leadership and communication has helped her create plenty of chances for collaboration.
Hi Juhi, please tell us about the modules that have left a great impact on you.
First, the SMU-X courses that involved mooting. In particular, the Asia Cup International Law Moot in Japan, and the Oxford Intellectual Property Moot Competition. It was a great opportunity for cultural exchange, and I got to meet many international teams and learn from them.
Second, the State Courts Clerkship Programme. I strongly encourage students to actively work towards this opportunity. I got to sit in courtrooms that most people will never see, witness litigants in action, and it really helped me to see where I could step up and make a difference.
Juhi (centre) and her team mates after winning a moot competition
What would you say are some uniquely SMU experiences?
I don’t think that you can expect continuous engagement with professors for up to 15 hours a week anywhere else. Because of the interactive pedagogy here, we get a lot of facetime with our professors as we discuss questions that you might not find in books and papers. Also, when you offer answers within the SMU classroom environment, you can get immediate feedback from peers and professors alike, which I find really elevates the learning process.
How has SMU challenged you both personally and academically?
SMU has helped me to better understand people and their different backgrounds, especially during my participation in the LIT Hackathon. I feel that I’ve become a more empathetic individual who can calibrate my communication and solutions for the person I am speaking to.
SMU has also put me in motion to critically analyse events against a bigger picture continuously. I’m constantly learning from my peers, and I don’t just mean my seniors. I love to discuss different topics, analysing them myself and finding out other students’ ideas and opinions on the same topic.
Juhi (first from right) and her teammates winning an award at the Oxford Intellectual Property International Moot Competition 2022 in England
You have interned at various law firms. How has your time at SMU helped you in your internships?
I can confidently vocalise my opinions thanks to what I have learnt at SMU. I am comfortable taking the initiative to talk to partners so I can better understand the problem, rather than feeling limited to just checking in with my line manager.
SMU has also taught me how to network, and I have become a vocal individual who can voice my opinion, even if I’m “just an intern”.
If you could go back in time, what is the one piece of advice you would have given your freshman self?
Grab every opportunity that you can find. The only limit should be what you have the time to manage. Don’t let self-doubt stop you because you will be able to learn along the way.
Try also to be a pillar of support for others, and let yourself rely on others. It will help you fit into the collaborative learning environment that SMU offers, where you can learn from those around you, and make a difference with what you say as well.