First Person Accounts (FPA’s) are meant to provide a first-hand account of law graduates who have pursued, or are pursuing, a post-graduate course (LL.M. or otherwise) from different universities across the world.
In this edition, Abhimanyu Verma talks about the Masters of Business, Competition and Regulatory Laws (MBL) at the Freie Universität Berlin. A graduate of the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (Class of ’16), Abhimanyu worked as a litigation professional for close to two years before signing up for the MBL course.
After graduating in law, you chose to work as a litigation professional. What made you decide to study outside the country, and when did you start the preparations?
After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in law, I decided that a varied litigation practice would assist me in finding specific interest areas to focus on. While working, I had the opportunity to assist my senior in Competition Law matters representing the Competition Commission of India at the Appellate Body and the Apex Court levels. I had no prior experience or knowledge in Competition Law.
However, after working on a few matters, the significance and the breadth of its application was the principal motivation for me applying for a master’s degree abroad. I was aware that the US, EU and Australia had expanded on global competition law for many decades. From June of 2017 onwards, I decided focus on schools in these regions as a precursor to my application process.
“I was aware that the US, EU and Australia had expanded on global competition law for many decades. From June of 2017 onwards, I decided focus on schools in these regions as a precursor to my application process.”
How did you go about selecting where to apply, what were the schools that you applied to, and what got you to narrow down on Freie Universitat Berlin?
At the outset, I narrowed my choice to Europe as the parallels in Competition Law and Policy between the EU and India are numerous. I had offers from the University of Melbourne, King’s College, London and Queen Mary University of London in addition to Freie Universitat.
My decision to choose Freie Universitat was based on the assessment of the course and the wealth of experience that the lecturers that taught the course brought to the table.
An important factor that determined my choice was advice from my senior, Mr. Naveen R. Nath, AOR. He advised me that the course is not just aimed at competition law students but also students that wish to learn about regulatory law, telecommunications law, energy and intellectual property rights.
Could you shed some light on the application process for the MBL? Any advice for prospective applicants?
The MBL programme selects 35 students for its class each year. The applications commence from January to May every year. The process to apply is relatively straightforward as they require all documents to be uploaded on their portal itself. The MBL programme requires a minimum of one year of relevant work experience in the relevant fields of the course, i.e. Competition, Energy or Telecommunications.
The most important part of the application process is the Statement of Motivation. It is the pivot for a prospective applicant to highlight how their previous work experience would align with and contribute to the learning from the programme.
“The most important part of the application process is the Statement of Motivation. It is the pivot for a prospective applicant to highlight how their previous work experience would align with and contribute to the learning from the programme.”
How has the MBL experience been thus far? Any highlights along the way? The curriculum looks fairly demanding with 8-hour classroom sessions – was this difficult to cope with?
The MBL programme has been an enriching course. It has given me a good insight into regulatory laws of not just Germany and the EU but of the US as well. The 8-hour classes do get a little exhausting! But they’re peppered with breaks so there is some respite.
The course has been structured in this manner leaving the rest of the week free to study and prepare for the oncoming lectures or to enhance one’s own knowledge in EU law.
What are your plans after the MBL? What is your reading of the recruitment chances of international graduates in Germany?
I intend to return to India and work in the field of Competition Law as well as regulated sectors such as Telecommunications and Energy. Germany looks at highly skilled individuals to employ and in most cases, the pre-requisite to work requires a comprehensive grasp of the language.
While the European Union is an integrated structure, knowledge of one or more of the EU’s official languages is an important asset for a job seeker.
“While the European Union is an integrated structure, knowledge of one or more of the EU’s official languages is an important asset for a job seeker.”
International graduates, specifically in law, have a chance of recruitment provided they have experience in M&A, Arbitration, Competition Law etc. for a minimum of 3-4 years. It is possible to garner experience through internships and subsequently build upon work experience in the EU as well.
Lastly, any advice for Indian law graduates who are looking to do a master’s abroad?
One important skill to constantly work on assess is the ability to research and write research papers. It has been an important part of my course and from an educational standpoint, it is the most rewarding process to hone one’s skill.
Freie Universitat also constantly reminds me of how important it is, to reflect originality of thought in one’s work. This is something every prospective master’s degree applicant will have to keep in mind while applying to law schools abroad.