Studied: Law and Business at ECU
Because She’s Worth It
Maeva Heim began university thinking she’d be a a lawyer, but her pathway has taken her across the world and into the corridors of some of the biggest companies on the globe, including ASOS and Proctor and Gamble. Now a full-time marketing manager at L’Oreal in Sydney, she fills us in on how to know what you want, and how to make it happen.
What made you decide to study a Law and Business double degree?
I’ve always had a fascination with the law. Growing up, my favourite TV shows weren’t Friends or Dawson’s Creek – they were Law & Order, Judge Judy, and Boston Legal. In high school I was captain of the mock trial team, and then through in university I participated in the Innocence Project and undertook work experience on the defense teams of various criminal trials. However, there was always part of me that had a strong curiosity for business, which most likely developed from watching and helping my mum operate her own business for many years. To me, the world of business was a creative outlet from the sometimes dry content of the law, so I decided to study business too. Though I intended to work in law, eventually I figured out that my creative potential, and passion for branding and innovation, would be best served in the world of business and marketing.
When you look back at your time at ECU, what memories spring most to mind?
In 2011 I went on exchange in Ottawa, Canada, which has to be one of my most treasured experiences with ECU. I had always planned to go on exchange, but couldn’t have anticipated how much it would change my perspective and my life. I made lifelong friends and developed a global mindset that I haven’t since been able to shake. Spending time with people who have grown up in a different economic climate, with different career prospects and options really forces you to broaden your horizons; I believe this is what set me on the path to where I am now.
You secured a 12-month internship at L’Oreal in Melbourne and you’re now employed there. Is it glamorous?
It’s not the kind of glamour that I’m sure many would imagine! Hours can often be long, and you’re expected to invest your time and energy into the brands you work on as if they were your own. In exchange, you’re given opportunities to develop your skill set, network, and gain general business knowledge must faster than anywhere else I can imagine. Plus, you work with so many like-minded, intelligent and charismatic people, who become very close friends. There are definitely perks, like attending special events, travel, product allowances, and sometimes meeting celebrities. However, the most important thing having the opportunity to own business decisions that entry level employees are rarely trusted with elsewhere. For me, there’s nothing more glamorous than that.
Was moving east something you had to do to further your career?
Absolutely. For me, my career decisions dictate where I need to live, and not the other way around. However, there really is no hard and fast rule. I think it’s important to assess what kind of career or life you want, and then determine what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to get it. There will always be someone willing to sacrifice more than you, or work harder than you, which is why it’s important to really figure out what you want, and more importantly, the values that underpin why you want it.
Give us an overview of 2014 for you?
I spent the first two months of the year living and working in Singapore as part of an internship with Procter & Gamble, working in marketing for Oral-B. This was such a wonderful experience that is only usually offered to two successful applicants per year. My time with Procter & Gamble allowed me to experience business culture in an Asian country for the first time– something I’ve been longing to do.
After this, I headed back to Perth to finish off Semester 1, and worked as a Campaign Marketer for ASOS, bringing ASOS events and competitions to the students of Perth. I then completed European Summer School in Italy, and a Leadership Program called LEAP at UCLA in Los Angeles, before accepting a full time product management and marketing role with L’Oreal and moving to Melbourne in August. It’s been a whirlwind year, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What advice do you have for those considering on embarking on a similar path?
It’s a cliché, but one I truly believe in – ‘Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans’. You don’t have to have your entire life or career planned out to a tee. Having goals is incredibly important, but so is being flexible. If you’re looking to take the plunge into your dream career, but your experience doesn’t match up, look for opportunities to gain experience wherever you can, or think about how the experience you already have can translate into the skills required for the career you want. I was able to secure a marketing role with the biggest cosmetics company in the world with nothing but a resume full of ‘legal’ experience and a truck load of determination- sometimes, that’s all it takes.