Mandy Zhou

Mandy Zhou

Student spotlight

Bachelor of Commerce/Laws (Fourth Year)

What led you to study at UNSW Law & Justice and why did you choose your particular degree?

Whilst I was had always considered becoming a lawyer, I believed that even if I ended up pursuing a different career, a law degree would still put me in good stead in terms of communication skills, thinking critically, and being exposed to a wide range of fields, since our society is built on laws. UNSW Law & Justice’s global reputation, ranking in top 20 worldwide, was an additional draw, known for providing a well-rounded education beyond just knowing the black-letter law.

My choice to pursue a Commerce degree was an intuitive one due to my upbringing, witnessing my parents start their own businesses. I learnt from a young age that commerce forms a significant role in society, and I wanted to study how businesses interact with the broader economy. However, there are many great and interesting double degrees that can be paired with law, so I would recommend finding one that aligns best with your interests.

What’s the most valuable thing you've learnt at UNSW Law & Justice?

Beyond legal knowledge, UNSW Law & Justice has taught me the importance of seeking opportunities. Looking back, there are so many puzzle pieces that would not have fallen into place if I had not said yes to things or even actively gone out and sought them myself. Don't be afraid of putting yourself out there, whether it's through club involvement, leadership roles, competitions, or seeking feedback for improvement. You'll be met with a lot of great opportunities, experiences, and meaningful connections that will shape your journey through law school and beyond.

What is a highlight or most meaningful experience in your time at UNSW?

The people you meet at university are a definite highlight. UNSW has a strong community feel with very approachable faculty staff and numerous great societies and clubs you can join to meet new people. I have made lasting memories through road trips, camps, and even recently went overseas with friends I met at university. I am also planning on finishing my degree on exchange to Europe and linking up with uni friends there, which will be exciting!

Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities at UNSW?

I have been involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities which I highly recommend to all students. Students can join societies and clubs, mentoring programs, and skill competitions. These are great ways to bring depth to the university experience and I would encourage trying something in all three areas.

My roles have included being a director within the private law careers portfolio at UNSW Law Society and I was also involved in non-law societies including being a director at the Finance & Banking Society, volunteer consultant at GCG, and coordinator at AIESEC. I’ve also been involved in several interest-based clubs, including CBS, Boxing Club, and this year, I learnt how to glide with GlideSoc. These are great ways to make friends from other degrees whilst learning something new. Also, I have taken up mentoring program opportunities as both a mentor and mentee and I’ve also participated in several law skills competitions and case competitions, which are great ways to hone legal and transferable soft skills.

How has your time at UNSW influenced your career and ambitions for the future?

UNSW has broadened my perspective on just how much you can do with a top-quality law degree. Many of my peers have ventured into diverse roles in law, consulting, banking, and the public sector. A UNSW law degree is highly regarded both within the legal profession and outside of it.

Personally, I want to pursue commercial law based on what I enjoyed from my education, conversations with faculty staff, and engagement in university events and programs. With UNSW’s reputation and the quality of education in both commercial and legal spheres, I am confident about the career prospects in this field and am excited about contributing to the field. However, I have learnt that your career might not just end there. Many commercial lawyers end up working in-house, in legal tech, public policy, professional services, or became barristers. The legal industry is more flexible than you might think!

What advice do you have for students thinking about studying at UNSW Law & Justice?

Law school can open many doors for you if YOU make the most of it. You only get out whatever you put in. Take opportunities!

You will be in a cohort of other very bright students who will go on to do great things and will be taught by some of the best teachers who are passionate about giving you the best possible education. You be able to attend events and connect with people who are keen to meet and mentor university students, have opportunities to develop many practical skills through skills competitions and broaden your horizons in many different clubs and initiatives. Take advantage of all of these as they will set you up well for life beyond university.