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Playing to your strengths

Studying business and law is more than a perfect match for law/commerce student Reid Hadaway: it has also delivered life-changing experiences.

There’s one simple reason that Reid Hadaway chose to study at Deakin – the people.

While he had his sights set on law and liked the idea of being able to combine it with business studies, Reid’s priority for choosing where to study was about feeling welcomed and comfortable.

‘From the moment I walked through the doors at Deakin Waterfront [Geelong] I felt a wonderful energy. The students were driven by a genuine friendliness which I simply didn’t feel at other places. As it turns out, my feelings were spot on. The enthusiasm which permeates the Deakin student cohort is a very significant contributor to my success,’ he says.

In 2020, Reid will complete the fifth and final year of his double degree Bachelor of Laws (Hons)/Bachelor of Commerce which has seen him travel the world, participate in real-world learning, and play a leading role in DLSS Geelong.

He’s just completed a year-long term as 2019 president and says being involved with DLSS has been one of the pinnacles of his Deakin experience.

Reid Hadaway

‘I’ve relished every moment of being able to contribute to improving the experience of Deakin law students and watch my committee peers grow professionally. Being president has been one of the most humbling, challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.’

As president, Reid has led a team of 26 who’ve worked towards the goal of helping law students get the most out of their time at Deakin through a calendar of professional, educational and social events.

And while leading a large committee hasn’t been without challenges, Reid says it’s been a highly-valuable experience.

‘Most rewarding for me has been working with a team of highly competent and dedicated law students who share goals and ideals, while also getting to know the junior committee members who will one day lead the society.’

International and industry learning are a common thread of Reid’s Deakin journey.

He completed a legal internship with a Melbourne-based legal service (that’s led to a permanent volunteer role), participated in two overseas programs, and also represented the Faculty of Business and Law at an international leadership conference.

His first study sojourn abroad was undertaking International Law and Human Rights at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, where he was taught by leading legal practitioners.

‘This included a Judge on the Czech Supreme Court. I also made some amazing friends from both across Australia and the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It was an incredible experience,’ he recalls.

Reid then participated in the prestigious Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot where he teamed up with four other students for seven months on an international commercial arbitration issue.

‘We had to work with our coaches to construct our arguments, express them in two 30-page written memoranda and present the arguments orally in Hong Kong and Vienna. Through seven months of gruelling work I developed skills which will benefit me immensely once I enter the legal industry. I also developed life-long friends and extremely valuable relationships with my coaches one of whom I’m pleased to now work for as a research assistant.’

In mid-2019, he travelled to Malaysia with fellow Deakin student Joshua Ball, (then president of the Deakin Commerce Students’ Society) to represent the Faculty of Business and Law at the 2019 University Scholars Leadership Symposium.

‘The symposium consisted of three days of speakers who represented various walks of life and social causes. We also had a ‘service day’ where we engaged with refugee children living in Malaysia as a means of better understanding their plight.’

He says one of the key takeaways was learning about capacity of young leaders to pursue their world-changing goals but he was also impressed by the number of Australians in attendance.

‘It was encouraging to see the wealth of leadership that Australia possesses. It demonstrates that our generation has the capacity to enact future change.’

Reid reflects on the USLS experience as a remarkable opportunity to learn from examples across the world and his own approach to leadership.

‘The concept of servant leadership has always driven me; serving others is a paramount duty,’ he says.

Now in the final stretch of his studies, his advice to others is to make the most of every opportunity.

‘When I started university, I was determined to be involved and spend my five years at Deakin making friends and forging a great experience. The key to getting the most out of study and leadership opportunities is to find what you enjoy and are good at – then play to your strengths and be recognised professionally and socially for your commitment.’