Shelly Wu LL.M.
I am a jack of all trades within the master of Financial Law.
An unexpected connection between Law and Economics
“Being born and raised in Rotterdam, it just made sense to study at the Erasmus University, so that is what I did. I found Economics very interesting, but eventually, I decided to study Law. After graduating in 2002, I worked at the Training Centre for Law & Practice (Dutch: ORP) of Erasmus School of Law as a student assistant. There, I focused on the organisation of postgraduate legal courses. Also, I started working part-time as a course coordinator for the Department of Business Economics (Dutch: Bedrijfseconomie) of Erasmus School of Law. Together with ORP, we organised financial-economic courses for lawyers working in the field of Insolvency Law. We have been organising these courses with great success for over 20 years now.
In the past, the Department of Business Economics consisted mostly of economic scholars; therefore, even though I did not choose to study Economics, it still crossed my path. Whilst working for ORP, the department of Business Economics was developing a master’s in Financial Law. We were the first university in the Netherlands to develop this master. I was asked whether I would be interested in helping with the development of the master’s programme; that is how I became the first programme coordinator within Erasmus School of Law. The position provided a great opportunity and challenge to develop an interdisciplinary and innovative master together with several passionate colleagues. Since then, I have been dividing my time between ORP and the Department of Business Economics to enhance and enrich the master. Several years ago, the department merged with two different departments forming the current Commercial and Corporate Law & Financial Law department.”
Juggling multiple jobs at the same time
“For a considerable part of my career, I have had two -and shortly, even three- part-time jobs at the same time, all within Erasmus School of Law. New opportunities arose frequently, and I have always had very diverse tasks; thus, my job never got boring. For example, I have worked as board secretary and coordinator of the Social Security Research School, I was coordinator of the Erasmus Institute Monitoring & Compliance and I was secretary to the Faculty Council. The vast majority of these positions was focussed on activities or programmes needing a (fresh) start. It was quite challenging as there was no orientation period possible or transfer of work by a predecessor. However, it also gave me much freedom to develop activities and ideas in my own way. A few years ago, I did start to focus more on my work for the Financial Law master, but the diversity of my responsibilities and tasks has only increased since then.”
Jack of all trades
“You could say I am a jack of all trades and that I am interested in almost every subject. I try to stay informed about everything, including, for example, the methodology of teaching. Having worked on the development of our master for a long time, I became the first point of contact for information about the programme. Also, I support my colleagues wherever necessary, solicited, and unsolicited.
My schedule never looks the same, and it changes rapidly due to the number of different projects. It depends on which projects require attention or what is urgent at that time. For example, one week, my focus will be on the organisation of a symposium, and the next week will be filled with the revision of the master or even my task of thesis coordinator. Now, I use most of my time to support our teachers, wherever I can with the challenges and impact of COVID-19.”
“As a student assistant at the ORP, I realised that I enjoy organising and having a variety of tasks. My organisational skills were put to good use whilst developing the master. Professor Auke de Bos and Han Donker – the founding father of the master’s in Financial Law – of course had a vision and master plan. However, I was responsible for the organisation and to support the teachers wherever necessary. I was given a lot of freedom, the space to grow, and they placed their trust in me, for which I am still very grateful to this day.
I have come across many different departments in- and outside of Erasmus School of Law in my career. I have met many new people along the way, and I was offered several new career opportunities. However, I was never able to step away from the Business Economics department and our ever-growing master’s programme.”
The biggest challenge of all
“I get much fulfilment out of my work due to the great variety of tasks. However, there are also times when there are too many things needing my attention simultaneously. Juggling those proved to be a great challenge, especially as I always strive to complete my tasks properly. A different challenge I encountered at the very beginning of my career. My workplace was dominated by experienced academia, who ‘definitely knew more than me’ being a recent graduate. I was afraid to make mistakes, but I soon realised that they are all humans just like you and me and sometimes even quite clumsy when it comes to organizational matters.
At this time, my biggest challenges are the implementation of the revision of our master and the transition to online education. I try to support the teachers as much as I can, and I am convinced that the changes made for the digitalisation of our courses will remain beneficial once the pandemic is over.
The current students are part of a generation, who have grown up in a digital society and, therefore, learn differently. In that, I see many opportunities I would like to brainstorm about with colleagues. The current digitalisation was born out of a necessity, but online education will remain an added value to on-campus education in the future.”
“My student-life was filled with challenges and unexplored paths. I was a so-called first-generation student as I was the first in my family to attend a university. The journey of being a student was unknown territory, and it was hard for my parents to support me actively during my studies.
I did not have a set plan for my life after graduation. Perhaps that was due to not having any role models in my environment. I quickly realized through office visits that I did not aspire becoming a lawyer. I recommend joining the (career-related) activities of Erasmus School of Law and the study associations. It could help you determine what interest you. In particular, I hope that current first-generation students succeed in figuring out what the world of academia could mean for them and in what field they feel most at home.”
“The appreciation I receive from colleagues is something that gives me great satisfaction. I feel proud that people appreciate my presence and work. It is encouraging to see that my contribution helps others. That is what makes my job so enjoyable and why I feel at home at Erasmus School of Law. I am not interested in my position or my rightful place in the hierarchy, as long as my work is challenging, and I am satisfied with the things I do.”
Most beautiful memory?
The birth of my children.
What is your hobby?
I enjoy travelling and reading, but since the birth of my children, I hardly have time to read. I have recently started learning myself to play the piano as that has always been one of my dreams.
What is your favourite book?
I read all genres, but I still remember the book series ‘The Chronicles of Belgarion’. It is an epic fantasy, in which I could fully immerse myself as a child.
What is your favourite movie?
I watch many movies, but enjoy thrillers the most.
What is your favourite food?
Asian, but only the real Japanese cuisine (not the European style).
What is your favourite travel destination? New Zealand. After graduating, I travelled around with three friends. I enjoyed the astonishing beauty of the nature’s roughness and the history and kindness of the indigenous people. What did you want to be when you were young? Tourguide. How would others describe you in three words?
Perfectionist, helpful and humble.
Do you have tips for students? Many students feel that they should (be able to) do a lot next to their studies and at the same time. To them I would say: do not forget to enjoy your time of being a student and not to lose yourself along the way.