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.

Roshni Menon is an incoming LL.M. candidate at King’s College London, as well as a Chevening Scholar. In this interview, the Christ University law graduate (’18) discusses how one ought to go about applying for the scholarship, her decision to not defer the LL.M., applying to KCL, and a whole lot more.

Roshni Menon is an incoming LL.M. candidate at King's College London, as well as a Chevening Scholar.
Roshni Menon (Chevening Scholar, LL.M. ’21 at King’s College London)

When did you start planning for an LL.M.? Was it something you wanted to do right after your undergrad?

After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I was certain that I wanted a career in corporate and commercial laws. However, a bachelor’s degree in India doesn’t allow you to specialise in a particular field. Therefore, to enhance my understanding of the corporate legal industry, I knew that I had to obtain a higher education. At this juncture, I decided to put my master’s on hold and enter the legal profession instead.

The benefit of having real work experience is that you learn certain things that simply cannot be taught in a classroom. By working on real corporate law matters, I was able to find my area of interest in which I wanted to specialise and this urged me to go after a master’s degree in International Financial Laws. I did not want to do a master’s degree for the sake of doing one. Because to my mind, it is more than just a career milestone – rather, it needs to serve some predefined purpose.

I told myself I would pursue a master’s degree only if I felt that my career requires me to broaden my depth of knowledge in that subject. After two years, the answer to this question is ‘yes’. I feel that my career would significantly benefit from the knowledge and world exposure of pursuing an LLM in the UK.

How did you go about selecting just where to apply? And what got you to narrow down on Kings College London?

My selection criteria were primarily based on legal jurisdiction, quality/reputation of academics, and the research facilities available. However, I also wanted the university to have a healthy mix of extracurriculars, external events, and fun student life! For this reason, Queen Mary University of London, Oxford, Cambridge, and King’s College London were my choices.

I’ve decided to go to King’s College London mainly because my course allows me to choose unique modules that I am interested in, which is taught by a highly acclaimed professor who is at the top of his field. Secondly, because King’s is situated in London, I will have access to several networking events conducted by prestigious law firms and groups.

Also, I am very interested in holding editorial positions and the King’s Student Law Review is a highly acclaimed journal that I hope to be a part of!

When it comes to applying for the Chevening Scholarship – what would you say is the most important bit that prospective applicants ought to keep in mind? When should they start the application process? 

Applying for scholarships is an important experience to undergo in my opinion. The questions asked in a scholarship application may seem fairly straightforward but you’ll need to really think about your life and indulge in deep reflection.

The questions asked in a Chevening Scholarship revolve around leadership, networking, career goals, and the course you wish to study. The best way to approach the Chevening application is to find a common theme in your life or something that has been a recurring force or reason for doing what you do. For me, it was to become an authority figure on corporate laws.

Before sitting down to write your answers, I highly recommend that applicants talk to Chevening alumni. You should connect with them and ask them about their experience. This will help you get a sense of what life is like as a Chevening scholar. Soon you’ll find yourself drawn to the programme and envisioning all the possibilities it can give you and your career.

This will clue you in on what your dreams or goals are!

The Chevening application is open from August to November each year. I would suggest that students start the application process at least 2 months before the deadline. This will give them ample time to understand what Chevening is all about, how it can add value to their life, and why they are deserving of it.

This post has dealt with the Chevening essay. When it comes to the interview stage, any advice for future applicants?

While preparing for the Chevening interview, the main thing you should do is read and study your application essays. This is because applicants have been shortlisted based on the essays submitted and at the interview stage, you are most likely going to be asked questions about it.

It is important to remember the examples you’ve given in your essays on leadership and networking, and you must be prepared to elaborate on these topics.

During the interview, you must also demonstrate your personal and professional aspirations, and how Chevening can facilitate your achievement of these goals. After finishing your basic preparation, I highly recommend that you take part in mock-interviews with your family and friends. The best way to beat nerves in an interview is to know your content and know it well.

What are your expectations from the Chevening scholarship? Apart from the financial aid aspect of it, what do you think is the most valuable bit about this scholarship? 

Chevening is the UK government’s international awards programme aimed at developing global leaders. Unlike other scholarships, it is far more than just financial aid to pursue higher studies. It offers a unique opportunity to become and meet future leaders from all over the world, to develop professionally and academically, to network extensively, to experience the UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.

Personally, I am very excited by the networking events and opportunities it presents. It will allow me to create a global network of friends and engage in cultural and cross-disciplinary activities!

I plan on collaborating within this community to launch social and legal projects in India in the context of financial development.

Lastly, you have decided not to defer the LL.M. – what made you take this decision? And will it change if classes are completely online for the first semester? 

Unlike several universities, King’s College London has decided to open its doors to students this year. I have decided not to defer the LL.M because the classes will be a blend of online and face-to-face teaching, only for a part of the first semester, with social and spatial distancing maintained and good access to the university library.

Also, pursuing a master’s degree for me is more than just about the classroom experience; it’s also about undertaking research projects with professors and peers, editing articles for the law review, visiting museums of a historic city, and making friends from all over the world.

As of now, these activities are within reach because of the positive steps taken by the UK government to open up London through a structured plan.