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Emmanuel shares his experiences of developing commercial awareness through undertaking a client secondment

After completing the 2017 Summer Internship with DLA Piper, I was offered the opportunity to go on a client secondment with a FTSE 100 company, before starting my Graduate Programme. During my secondment, I was able to develop my commercial awareness in a number of ways. 

Balancing stakeholder interests 

Within the projects I was involved in, there were there were a number of different targets which needed to be met by various stakeholders. Through working with the fund managers within the UK, Singapore and the US I was able to develop an insight into the commercial pressures faced by the business to meet deliverables, whilst also observing the need to mitigate risk from the legal and compliance team. Through managing the various stakeholder requirements,  I was able to develop an insight as a business advisor by understanding the risk appetite whilst finding ways to meet the client demands.

Socio-economic influences 

During the secondment I was also able to gain an insight into the effect socio-economic influences had on the business. For example, how the crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia led to a change in the level of due diligence required on an entity in the same jurisdiction or how the attitude of the business towards a country's tax status affected the structure of a deal. This allowed me to gain an understanding into the reasoning behind commercial decisions made and the level of importance given to socio-economic influences. 

Client relationship 

In addition, working with client relationship managers allowed me to see how the business aimed to develop and maintain client relationships. I also became aware of the importance placed on client outcomes when discussing the strategic goals of the business, and the amount of detail given in ensuring a smooth experience for the client. This approach allowed me to develop my commercial awareness as I was able to gain an insight into what considerations a business makes when determining their strategy whilst observing  key performance indicators which can be employed to determine whether deliverables are met.

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