From rookies to quarter-finalists: ANU Law students’ make their mark in International Deal Negotiation Competition
Aislinn D’Arcy and Jesika Cane

Aislinn D’Arcy and Jesika Cane strongly encourage fellow ANU law students to sign up for the International Deal Negotiation Competition.

Our favourite part of the experience was definitely learning about the different corporate and cultural experiences in India.

By Aislinn D’Arcy and Jesika Cane

Earlier this year, we competed at the inaugural International Deal Negotiation Competition jointly hosted by Allen & Overy and the National Law University, Jodhpur, in India.

We were honoured to be placed as quarter-finalists and receive multiple prizes for our efforts, including Runner-Up Best Negotiating Pair, Runner-Up Best Negotiating Plan and the Distinction for Public Speaking.

We had an absolutely incredible time and made so many friends from universities around the world. The competition was interspersed with networking events and student-organised outings, and everyone staying in the same hotel made it so much fun.

Although we were all competing against one another, we loved the atmosphere and camaraderie that came along with all the teams preparing for each round under the same roof.

We had never studied anything relating to mergers and acquisitions in the past, so pre-competition preparation involved a lot of research into the commercial and legal realities of such deals.

This meant we were extremely excited to learn we had been awarded a prize for our negotiation plans, which were submitted weeks before the competition, despite accruing annoying penalties for rookie errors in anonymising document metadata!

It was an intense three days! After landing in Delhi and taking an overnight train to Jodhpur, we arrived at the hotel the morning before the competition was due to start.

On this first day, we were lucky enough to hear two industry experts speak about the practicalities of international merger and acquisition deal negotiation, and learnt an incredible amount about the practical goings-on of contemporary deal-making.

The opening ceremony was followed by a beautiful networking event held on the grounds of the National Law University, Jodhpur, featuring local food and live music.

After three rounds of competition on the second day, we were extremely excited to learn that we were the highest scoring team in the preliminary rounds. However, this meant we were in for a very late night researching and preparing for the three knockout rounds on the following day.

We were joined in the hotel lobby by the other teams who had progressed to the quarter-finals. This competition was unique, as we did not know which party in the negotiation we would be acting as until 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the round, when we received our client’s confidential information.

This meant our preparation consisted of researching and strategising for both sides of each negotiation. The day was wrapped up with a formal evening dinner at the stunning Ummed Hotel.

Our loss on the final morning after a tough quarter-final round against the competition-winning team meant we got the afternoon off, so all the unsuccessful teams went for lunch, where we sampled a rajasthani thali, which is the best way to try all the different dishes.

We returned in the evening to watch the grand final and attend the award ceremony, where we received our prizes.

Our favourite part of the experience was definitely learning about the different corporate and cultural experiences in India. Overall, it was incredibly rewarding, and definitely a trial-by-fire for our international competition careers.

It has acted as a springboard for other opportunities, including competitions in Sri Lanka and Japan. We are also hoping to arrange training and travel for an ANU team to competitions in Paris and Vienna by 2025.

We are so grateful for the generosity and hospitality of our hosts in Jodhpur. Their help and care for our experience made the whole competition unparalleled. We also were extremely lucky to spend a few days travelling afterwards – we saw the Taj Mahal and other iconic Indian tourist destinations.

We would strongly encourage fellow ANU law students with an interest in negotiation, international competition or mergers and acquisitions law to sign up for this competition.

If you are interested in representing ANU at the International Deal Negotiation Competition in 2024, find out more here.

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