The objective of our initiative ‘Where are they now?’ is to create a forum or a bridge for German alumni to share their career stories with current students, and for students to ask alumni questions about careers. We kicked off the project in June 2017, by emailing German alumni, asking them if they would be willing to share their career stories with current students of German studies. Response was very positive, with over 15 alumni from a wide variety of careers, inside and outside of academia, indicating their interest in participating.
This project was led by Joan Andersen, as part of her volunteer position as Alumni Ambassador and Executive in Residence. Joan is a German alumna of the University of Toronto, and moved into a career outside of German studies after graduating with a Master’s Degree. Joan conducted a telephone or email interview with each participant with the objective or drafting a 5-8 minute long article profiling his/her career.
We will publish one or two ‘Career Profile’ articles every month which we hope our readers will find informative and maybe even inspirational. We welcome your feedback on this initiative by sending Joan an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our fifth article profiles the career of Elliott Haller.
Welcome to this edition of ‘Where are they now’? In this article, we profile Elliott Haller – UofT 2009. I hope you find this article interesting and maybe even inspirational.
Elliott graduated from the University of Toronto (Trinity College) in 2009, with a major in Philosophy and a double minor in History and German Business. After graduating, he worked for a year in the corporate world as a middle manager for a company which bought and sold wine, including wines from Germany. Elliott worked with German wine makers and wines a lot and so was able to use his German language skills. He subsequently decided to go to law school because he had always wanted to work in the area of law. He obtained his degree from Mississippi College and studied mostly corporate law. He still indulges his passion for wine – he owns a small company that imports and distributes wine.
We caught up with Elliott at his office at MaxeyWann PLLC, in Jackson, Mississippi.
1. What made you decide to pursue German studies at the U of T?
I wanted to branch out and study abroad so I could experience different cultures. I did a lot of research and identified that the University of Toronto was the best fit for me. I am German on my father’s side so I wanted to learn more about German culture and history so I could learn about my heritage. I did study German a little before attending University and my father spoke German.
2. Describe your current position and job responsibilities.
I am an attorney at MaxeyWann PLLC in Jackson, Mississippi. I handle civil litigation, corporate transactional matters and regulatory compliance. I also own a small wine company.
3. How did you come to select this position as your career?
As mentioned previously, I have always been interested in law as a career.
4. What does a typical day at work for you look like?
My day varies a lot which is characteristic of working in a smaller law firm, and I really like this aspect of my work. I go to court, attend many meetings, do research, draft advisory memorandums and prepare written documents for discovery, litigation, and briefs for court cases.
5. What do you like most about your job?
I like the people I work with and the diversity of projects that I work on.
6. What are some of the challenges that you face on a day-to-day basis?
The nature of my work as a lawyer is that I often find myself working in adversarial situations. The regulatory compliance work that I do can be very complex. Sometimes, dealing with (or negotiating with) other lawyers is challenging.
7. What skills do you possess that make you a good fit for your current job?
I would say skills such as critical thinking, retaining facts, written communications, making presentations, analytical skills and negotiating skills.
8. How have your German studies equipped you with the skills you need to do your job?
In my experience, employers appreciate liberal arts degrees, but like seeing a more directly applicable or practical field of study. My German Business minor therefore stood out on my resume. It gave me a skill set that others did not have, and had a direct impact on my ability to obtain my first job. I did end up using my German language and business skills on my first job, and continue to use it in my wine business.
9. What are your ultimate career goals?
I would like to keep doing what I am currently doing, but at a more senior level, progressing to be a partner in a law firm. I definitely want to keep pursuing my passion for wine by growing my wine business.
10. What do you do in your spare time?
I exercise and travel, and of course pursue my business ‘hobby’ of running my wine business.
11. What advice do you have for German students who are pursuing their studies with the goal of securing meaningful employment post-graduation?
Get as much work experience as you can. Do not wait for the perfect job because a job could lead to other things and ultimately to your ‘dream’ job. Apply your skills and studies whenever you can – you will be surprised how many ways they can be applied in the business world.
12. For those readers who want to learn more, how can they contact you?
By email at: email@example.com
By telephone at: 601-355-8855