First Person Accounts (FPA’s) are meant to provide a first-hand account of Indian graduates who have pursued, or are pursuing, a post-graduate course (LL.M. or otherwise) from different universities across the world.
Sreedevi Jayachandran is a 2019 graduate of the International Commercial Arbitration Law LLM at Stockholm University. In this FPA, the Kerala University law graduate (’16) shares her reasons for opting for the ICAL programme, the ICAL experience itself, and how to go about the application process.
Were you ever planning to enrol for a master’s right after your undergrad? Or was the plan to always work for a bit and then apply?
I had no plans of pursuing my Masters right after undergrad as I was still making up my mind as to which area of law I wanted to specialize and build a career. I worked for about two years as an in-house legal counsel for a business consultancy firm in Dubai before deciding to do my Masters.
I suppose the internships I did during my undergrad along with working in a field where we were posed with in-house and client disputes gave me a clarity as to choose Arbitration as an area of interest.
What were some of the schools you shortlisted? And what got you to narrow down on the ICAL programme?
I had three main options narrowed down while considering doing my Masters which were ICAL (Stockholm University), MIDS (Geneva) and NUS. The ICAL programme has its reputation in the arbitration world which was one of the main reason to consider the program.
The location just added to its charm.
The cost of program was also considerably less for the reputation it held and that definitely contributed to finalizing on ICAL. The entire program was structured to give both theoretical and practical experience to its students which was a very attractive feature of the program.
“The entire program was structured to give both theoretical and practical experience to its students which was a very attractive feature.”
Any advice on how to go about the application process itself? More specifically, the personal statement and letters of recommendation?
This is one of the questions I receive from many who wish to apply to the ICAL program. In all its honesty, the application process is quite straightforward and is applied through a unified platform for all the Universities in Sweden.
With regards to the personal statement, definitely give a thought as to why you want to do the Masters. I think the key is to do your research and understand why you want to specialize in the field, be it arbitration or any other area. Once you have that clarity, personal statements becomes a way you express your ideas. Do not overthink and make it complicated.
Keep it simple and just convey your thoughts.
I provided one recommendation from my professor and another from my employer. They were kind enough to recommend me to the program.
Did you apply for/receive financial aid?
I neither received any financial aid nor applied for one. I think the options were also quite limited if I remember correctly.
When it came to the LLM itself, how useful was your prior work experience? And what were some of the highlights of the programme?
Since I’ve had very limited experience in the field itself, I went with a clean mind with no pre conceptions and that worked to my benefit as I was able to absorb everything I could get out of the program.
However, I had some knowledge about the arbitration law in Dubai which helped me to contribute during lectures and learn more about other jurisdictions.
What was your reading of the employment opportunities that the ICAL programme offers to international graduates?
To be completely honest, it depends on where you want to work. I could see a significant rise in employment opportunities in India and I could see that recognition was given to the ICAL title in Dubai as well.
However, I would say it would be unreal to expect employment opportunity to escalate only because you have a Masters especially since it is very common to find people with masters degree these days. It is definitely a great start to get a better understanding of the field and also to network with people who has left a mark in the field. Opportunities will follow with the experience.
“It is definitely a great start to get a better understanding of the field and also to network with people who has left a mark in the field.”
Lastly, any advice for the Indian law graduate who may be considering a master’s abroad?
My only advice is to choose wisely what you want to specialize in before starting your application process. I’ve lately received messages from law students who wanted to understand the application process in Stockholm which gives me nothing but pleasure to help.
However, most of the times when I ask them why they wanted to do the program, I’ve received replies that they have heard its a good university. It is very important to not start with the University rather start with the area you want to specialize in and then short list the universities.
“It is very important to not start with the University rather start with the area you want to specialize in and then short list the universities.”
You could start from your Law school by doing internships whenever you can, participate in competitions, attend seminars and so on. The resources are plenty as compared to what was available five years ago. Use them wisely and understand what interests you.
If you would like Amicus Partners to provide some personalised advice on your LLM applications, please fill in this form and we shall get back to you as soon as possible.