Master of Laws (2020) alum Edward Liu is passionate about how the University shaped his life and career. “Some part of me is made by this city and also this university,” he shared.
Edward maintains a strong connection to the University of Melbourne while living in Shenzhen, China – from attending alumni events and keeping in touch with former lecturers to volunteering as a mentor.
“Mentoring is very worthwhile. It's time that you can spend inspiring and encouraging others,” he said.
Beyond volunteering, Edward also feels the alumni community is a unique platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing across industries.
“Alumni events are a great chance to unite as a community, and because of the group identity we share, we can work together smoothly,” he said.
When Edward first moved to Melbourne, a seemingly small detail in the law building made all the difference in helping him feel at home.
“I played the piano since I was a child, and when I saw the piano on the ground floor, it gave me an opportunity to make a lot of friends from other schools,” said Edward.
“I still connect with some of those friends when they come back to China. That's one of the best memories of my Melbourne student life.”
Since leaving the University and returning to China, Edward has continued to apply the life skills and lessons he learned in Melbourne to get through some difficult times.
Edward having lunch with his friends on campus during his time studying at the University.
A few years ago, Edward was pressured to resign from his job. He believes his employer wanted to restructure the organisation without compensating Edward appropriately.
“They said, ‘if you don't resign, you will be blocked in the legal circle under our social power and influence’,” explained Edward.
A Melbourne Law School (MLS) staff member who Edward was still in touch with encouraged him to take action.
“I made the decision to file a dispute to the labour court and complained to the Department of Justice, and eventually won the case,” he said.
Edward texted the professor that had supported him with the good news – he would be fairly compensated for his dismissal.
“My professor said, ‘Edward, you will certainly make a wonderful lawyer. I'm so proud of you.’
“I think there's some character that the University of Melbourne has educated and empowered in me – to be brave in facing risks and challenges.”
Taking pride in mentoring
Although Edward continues to receive guidance from his University connections today, he first started receiving support not long after arriving in Melbourne as a mentee.
“The first time I went to MLS, I had no information about how to do my academic research, how to make the most of my classes, or how to access the University’s useful resources,” shared Edward.
“I was assigned a mentor who is a Singapore lawyer and associate. We were connected and he gave me a lot of help.”
This critical support helped Edward find his footing in Melbourne and inspired him to make a difference in the lives of other students.
Today, Edward volunteers through the MLS Mentor Program. It’s a role that gives him great purpose and joy.
“The responsibility of a mentor is to encourage and enlighten students to explore and not just complete research in the library, because life is colourful and will surprise you in ways you can never expect.”
Edward volunteering at the University’s Shenzhen Information Day in March.
Currently, Edward is mentoring two international students who are from China. He is enthusiastic about sharing how he made the most of his Melbourne experience with them.
“To broaden your mind, you can talk with people from different backgrounds – with Australian locals and people from other countries,” he said.
Having earned some wisdom through his own experiences, Edward is proud to be able to help his mentees navigate their early careers back in China.
“One of my mentees is planning to go back to China to practice as a lawyer. Last time we spoke, she mentioned that she may need some job information, such as which law firms and associates she could follow,” said Edward.
“If I know that the working atmosphere of a particular organisation is quite amicable, then I can refer her, and she can consider it as an option and a great opportunity for her career path.”
For Edward, mentoring isn’t just about giving out information and advice, he receives benefits too.
“Always, I can gain something different, something I do not have, such as a new perspective on their career path or lifestyle.”
Seizing opportunities to connect
Edward grasps any opportunity to connect with the University. In March, he volunteered at the Shenzhen Information Day where those who are considering studying at the University can connect with staff and alumni to learn more.
“I met other alumni volunteers from the business and finance school. We had a great chance to talk and share information about our industries,” he shared.
“Although we’d never met before, as alumni, the feeling was like meeting old friends.”
Again, Edward took the opportunity to connect with his community through the alumni receptions hosted in both Beijing and Shanghai in July. The events were an opportunity for University representatives and China-based alumni and partners to reconnect post-pandemic.
Hearing the Vice-Chancellor’s speech and having the opportunity to speak with him directly was very inspiring for Edward.
“I told the Vice-Chancellor that the words he used to describe the alumni community in his speech, ‘you people are incredibly brave and entrepreneurial’, are not normal words we use in our Chinese culture and that it was a huge encouragement to us all.”
Edward met with the Vice Chancellor Duncan Maskell at the Shanghai alumni reception in July.
Edward also views the alumni receptions as a unique networking opportunity.
“There are alumni and students in over 150 countries, so it's a global networking opportunity,” said Edward. “They are excellent professionals across industries besides law, and it's a great chance to talk with them.”
Having gained so much personally from staying connected, Edward has some words of advice for recent graduates.
“You need more information and insights to help you make better judgements for your future career and life choices, so don’t just eat alone, take pictures and leave early. Stay there until the end and talk to people.”
Inspiring the next generation
With only four years of experience in the legal industry, Edward is looking forward to continuing his career as a lawyer and achieving new professional milestones.
As his career progresses, Edward is excited to continue mentoring University of Melbourne students so he can impart his knowledge, experiences and enthusiasm.
“I will go on with mentoring and try my hardest to enlighten and encourage the next generation.”