We had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Saeed Ahmad (Harvard '24) about his career and his pursuit of law, social justice, and business.
Saeed Ahmad is a rising 2L at Harvard Law School and is currently working as a summer associate at Waymaker LLP in Los Angeles. His involvements at HLS include the Harvard Association for Law and Business, Committee on Sports & Entertainment Law, and Student Government.
Saeed's important words:
"Remember that while networking gets your foot in the door, it is your substance that enables you to thrive and continue to succeed."
A goal without a plan is just a wish! Make sure you go into college or grad school with a set plan and find mentors that have gone in similar academic pathways as you and/or are in professions you would like to be in.
Q: You’ve studied and worked at the intersection between law, social justice, and business. What do you think has drawn you to these areas?
A: I believe that both the fields of law and business can be utilized to further social justice initiatives.
If you note the financial situations of various public interest firms and non profits, a lack of capital resources can often be the impediment to greater impact. A lack of funding also leads to employees being overworked and underpaid, thereby resulting in high turnover rates and less overall talent. While large business and corporations have often been fairly jided for their misconduct and contribution to injustice, I believe that they can be utilized to further positive change as well. With capital being properly allocated to support those in need, the possibilities for long term social justice initiatives are infinite with the good faith backing of ethical corporations. As for the power of a legal degree, one only needs to look at the prevalence of lawyers in the 3 branches of government and across private practice to note the doors that it can open.
In noting our nation's history, we can also see how the law has been used to both subjugate and uplift! I hope to be part of history where law is used as a tool for social justice and the promotion of equality.
Q: As president, how did you lead the Pre-Law Transfer Society at UCLA to become the leading pre-law organization at UCLA?
A: To develop a successful organization, the most important trait is to have a mission statement and concrete goals that you are held accountable to.
In addition, a like-minded and strong team is a necessary component for the organization to run as a well oiled machine. This “machine” includes “parts” such as marketing, event planning, public relations, etc. that must be evaluated and maintained throughout the process.
A strong bond is not something that is immediately achieved; rather, it is achieved through creating a sense of derived value in being involved in the respective student organization. If students are able to see that a pre-law organization is providing students with resources and consists of alumni that are being admitted to top schools, it only encourages more people to join and greater involvement. By curating events that were both fun and informative, PLTS leadership and I were able to create this effect that has been carried on in successive years even after graduation! Ultimately, a successful student organization requires passion and concrete short and long term goals that exemplify ambition.
Q: You were a former Client Advisor at Louis Vuitton. Could you briefly describe your role?
A: As a Client Advisor, my responsibilities encompassed building personal long term relationships with clients that enabled them to tailor luxury purchases for their specific needs. Whether their purposes were related to business or leisure, the overarching goal was to tailor a memorable client experience! This also encompassed being aware of the brand’s history and romanticizing the experience.
Q: You became one of the highest ranked Client Advisors in the country. What traits or skills do you think led to your success? How do you think high school students can start building some of these skills?
A: I was one of the highest ranked in the realms of customer service rating and believe this can be attributed to building genuine relationships with clients and looking for shared experiences or interest. This could include similarities in academic background, travel, sports, or any general life experience! By continuously asking questions and listening to people, it becomes a lot easier to find similarities and carry on a conversation. By immersing yourselves in diverse communities and experiences, it becomes a lot easier to create rapport with others based on these shared experience. Students can curate these skills by asking questions, genuinely being interested in what the other person has to say, and letting go of the fear of rejection or starting conversation with others.
Q: I think many students may be wondering: how did you find this opportunity to work with one of the top fashion brands in the world?
A: Networking! The key is putting yourself out there and realizing that it does not matter how many times you get rejected. All it takes is one “Yes!” or someone believing in you for you to achieve your goals. Also remember that while networking gets your foot in the door, it is your substance that enables you to thrive and continue to succeed. Combining your abilities with effective networking skills gives you a 1-2 punch and an advantage over any competition.
Q: With so much going on in your life, how do you manage to maintain your mental health, and what is one final piece of advice you would give to all students looking to take the law/business path as prestigious as yours?
A: I think gratitude and prayer go hand in hand and leaving time for yourself during the day to meditate and reflect are necessary to maintain good health. A goal without a plan is just a wish! Make sure you go into college or grad school with a set plan and find mentors that have gone in similar academic pathways as you and/or are in professions you would like to be in. Be fearless and do not be afraid to ask others for advice or opportunities. You miss 100% of the shots you do not take.
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While you’re here, connect and learn more about Saeed on his LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/saeedahmad-/
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