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Michelle
Abbott

United Kingdom
When faced with setbacks and/or failure, it’s ok to feel annoyed or upset by it, but what works for me is to process it, evaluate it, and move forward from it as quickly as you can.

More about Michelle

Michelle studied LLB (Hons) Law with Criminology and graduated in 2014. Michelle is Head of Estate Planning at CTT Group in Leamington Spa. Achieving her career goal of Head of Department at the age of 28, Michelle shares her experience of studying at NTU.

Why did you choose to study at NTU?

The course was the first factor that attracted me to NTU as a joint subject degree was a relatively new thing back then, followed by the location; 90 minutes from home, it would offer me both flexibility and independence. I then attended the open day. People are right when they say you will just know which university is right for you. I was amazed by the location, the library and the courtrooms, and the opportunities. Being there just made me feel excited for my future – I can still remember the moment today – a feeling impossible to forget.

What did you learn – both inside and outside of lectures?

In lectures and seminars, I learned the law, an interesting subject alone, however, paired with the passion and enthusiasm of my lecturers and tutors, they made learning enjoyable. You don’t just learn in lectures and seminars. Outside of the degree, you learn patience in living with a number of strangers who all have their own quirks who then soon become like family to you, quirks and all.

I learned about the ups and downs of independence, and the importance of self-motivation; it can be heavy-going at times, and you need to be committed to reaching your goals to keep going.

Finally, I learned how to budget – I had to. All of a sudden, you’d have significant sums of money (your student loan etc) placed into your bank account every term. I thought it was great at the time, heading straight to the Victoria Centre to Topshop, but the trick was making it last. Budgeting took me a while to grasp but the key was seeking guidance from friends and family and talking openly about it.

Looking back, a time that still makes me smile is while I lived in Norton Court in my first year. The people I met there were just brilliant. We had so much fun together pranking each other, cooking together and of course, plenty of nights out.

What extra-curricular activities did you take part in? What impact did this have on you?

I was in the Chamber Choir and the NTU Choir which meant that I was able to pursue my other passion of music and meet and sing with students, lecturers, and the local community. With the Chamber Choir, we performed all over Europe: Spain, Belgium, Prague, to name a few, allowing us to showcase our talent – what an amazing opportunity!  The Director of Music awarded me a music scholarship which enabled me to access other education, and through the scholarship I was able to further complete my grades in singing, piano, and music theory. For all the above reasons, I would encourage all students to continue hobbies/passions outside of their degree, if anything, a change is as good as a break.

What does your current day involve?

There is certainly no “typical” day in my role, however, that is exactly what attracted me to the role – variety! Most days I start working through my priority tasks which include supporting my team, the wider business, our business partners or clients with complex technical queries. Meetings with the leadership team across the business to analyse and strategise business improvements follow.

Operational efficiency is often a key consideration, therefore, software development plays a significant part of my role. Through collaborating with the Software Team, we have built and continue to develop bespoke estate planning software.

What attracted you to this field of work?

Trusts particularly is a niche area. I received my best mark in my Equity & Trusts module while studying for my degree and evidently it is the area of law in which I seem to be more of a natural at. I always wanted to pursue a career that would have some form of positive impact to people. By specialising in Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts, I’m able to directly advise people and support them through significant life and financial events.

What challenges have you faced?

When you make the decision to work in the legal industry, studying doesn’t stop once you complete your degree. I’m currently studying for a STEP Diploma which is a widely recognised and respected qualification in the legal industry. Studying while working full time is a challenge in itself and it requires significant self-motivation and sacrifice at times.

These four exams are not easy, and this was further made evident to me when I received my result in December 2021 for exam three – Fail. I was gutted. I very easily could have let the feeling of self-pity consume me, however, I don’t give up easily so after a day of wallowing, I enrolled to re-take the exam and I felt more determined than ever to pass it. I took the exam again in May 2022 and passed – wahoo!

When faced with setbacks and/or failure, it’s ok to feel annoyed or upset by it, but what works for me is to process it, evaluate it, and move forward from it as quickly as you can.

What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?

Highlight of my career is achieving my career goal of Head of Department at the age of 28.

Biggest challenge: public speaking. In the lead up to a presentation, I am a bag of nerves, however, a couple of minutes and I’m in the flow of it and soon start to enjoy it. I always find I’m beaming after a presentation because it’s a challenge to push myself out of my comfort zone but I did it, and it’s so rewarding.

What are your plans for the future?

My immediate plan is to pass my final STEP exam and then I have a few things in mind. The great thing about the law is that the skills you learn while studying and practicing law are transferrable across many industries, so who knows what the future holds, all I know is that I’m excited!

If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at university?

Trust the process. Keep going and you’ll keep growing.

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