By Jake Schogger, Warwick Law and Business Alumnus
I’m a qualified lawyer, entrepreneur, author, copywriter and consultant. I studied Law & Business at the University of Warwick, then the Legal Practice Course at BPP University in Holborn, London. After a brief stint travelling, I trained as a lawyer at City firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, before leaving the City to focus on advising start-ups and scale-ups on a range of commercial, employment and fundraising matters. I also now run a consultancy called Fresh Perspective (through which I work closely with high growth enterprises on a range of creative and commercial projects) and a luxury bespoke cake business called Whisk & Drizzle.
I really enjoyed my degree, from the social aspects and my involvement with societies, to the broad mix of modules that I was able to study. I was heavily involved in extra-curricular activities, but more because I was interested in getting involved, rather than specifically to boost my CV. You should use your time at university to at least have a go at all the things that interest you, as many of these opportunities won’t be so readily (and cheaply) available once you leave. I played football and tennis (I once even attended an American football training session, but the less said about that the better!). I played drums in the big band and a smaller jazz band. I ran a commercial law society and a finance society. I attended government-funded study programmes in China and India. And I worked part-time as a drum kit teacher throughout my degree so that I could afford to travel during my summers. On that note, enjoy the long summers whilst you can. Once you start work, you won’t quite believe in retrospect how much time you have off as a student!
If you hit a barrier, try to find a way around it. I was rejected when trying out for the men’s football team, so I set up my own casual 5-a-side team and played weekly throughout university. I was rejected when running in an election to join the law society executive committee, so I co-founded a society focused on commercial law, which meant that I could still enjoy the experience of running and building something. Running a society turned out to be much like running a business, from developing, branding and marketing an offering, to recruiting a team, raising funding and carefully budgeting. In this sense, my extra-curricular experiences helped immensely when it came to setting up my first business.
More particularly, whilst still at law school, I founded City Career Series, a publishing company that has sold approximately 50,000 handbooks designed to help students secure City careers. My inspiration for writing the handbooks came from my experiences hosting mock interview workshops whilst running the student “commercial law” society. Students were clearly concerned about the commercial awareness elements of interviews, so I put together a guide based on all the notes I had taken during countless open days, firm presentations and commercial awareness-related events. I gave this out for free to members of a society I had co-founded, and the positive feedback I received encouraged me to develop a far more comprehensive version, based on all the commercial topics that came up throughout my own interviews. And so, the first proper edition of the Commercial Law Handbook was born.