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Seattle U Graduates Share Their Stories

by | Nov 22, 2021

When three recent graduates gathered in a webinar to discuss their experience with the Seattle U Law online Master of Legal Studies in Compliance and Risk Management program, it didn’t take long for them to establish what they have in common: All received significant raises and promotions, even before graduating from the program.

  • “This program led to a promotion straight away,” said Anne Bayerkohler, BA, MLS ’21. “I had worked for the same company for about five years with no movement. After I started the program, I was promoted!” Anne is senior director of corporate compliance at a cybersecurity consulting firm. She also received professional recognition during her first year of the program, being named among the 2020 women leaders in technology by Consulting Magazine.
  • Thijs Jacobson, BS, MLS ‘21, said that “during the program, I got three promotions and my salary increased 40 percent.” Thijs works in the maritime industry as a supply chain and category manager. His role managing risk and compliance in the supply chain and for over 100 vessels, he told us, is extremely applicable to the MLS program.
  • Cynthia Scott, BS, MLS ‘21, is a senior VP and internal audit manager for a Seattle bank. “A job opportunity opened up when I was one year into the program,” she said. “The position was a bit of a stretch, a C-suite role, and the MLS degree program was instrumental in me getting the job. I would not have applied for or received this position without being in the program.”

“I’ve been there over a year now and am doing great,” Cynthia told us. “With every class I took, I could apply it immediately to my job. It was almost scary how something would come up in my job and I was in a class getting answers—and that was awesome.”

Compliance and Risk Management ProgramAnne’s Goal: Establishing ‘Street Cred’

The webinar conversation began with a review of the goals each student brought to the program. Anne is a long-time cybersecurity professional and was formerly an English teacher. “I’m very proud of my teaching service,” she said. “But in an industry dominated by men, it has been hard to get traction in my career. I needed some ‘street cred.’” 

Anne pursued a master’s degree in law to meet her goal of establishing her professional credibility beyond the certifications she has earned and her years of experience in the industry. “I needed just a bit more beyond the certifications and experience I had,” she said, “and this degree did it.” “I met my goal.” 

Because of the knowledge and skills, Anne gained in the program, the general counsel at Anne’s employer partners with Anne on certain issues and seeks Anne’s advice. “Because I can now walk into a boardroom with an understanding of the laws that must be understood to manage risk and compliance,” Anne told us, “I bring something else to the table that I didn’t have before.” 

Thijs’s Goal: A Law Degree

Thijs said he got a late start to his dream of pursuing a professional degree. After a number of years in the workforce, he considered getting a master’s degree in business, but an offhand remark from his father set him on a different course. 

“My dad made a comment that maybe I should go to law school, but I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m going to law school.’ I didn’t think I was the type of person who could get into law school.”

Despite his hesitancy, Thijs inquired about the online MLS program. When he reached out to the MLS program director, Thijs was surprised to learn that she knew about the maritime industry and Thijs’s employer. 

“She knew about my employer from her time working in Alaska, and she knew about the maritime industry,” Thijs said. “She helped me see how relevant my experience is to the program.” With this insight and upon further reflection, Thijs decided to apply to the program. “I thought I could be one of a bunch of people with a master’s degree in business and do just fine—or I could have a master’s degree in law.”

Thijs says that learning about precedent in the law and how to research and present issues gave him confidence. He values knowing the legal research techniques that lawyers use to establish whether a company can take certain actions. “That’s what appealed to me about the program. I’m really glad I did it.” 

Cynthia’s Goal: Industry-Specific Expertise 

Cynthia, who works in banking, knew wanted to develop expertise in financial compliance. She had worked in the banking and mortgage industry for over 30 years, but lacked a graduate credential and a focus in a specific area.

“I was at a career impasse,” she said. “I knew I needed to expand my compliance knowledge in order to get career traction. Also, I researched Seattle U’s MLS program and found it supplied everything I needed. It was the best decision I ever made.”

Program Excellence and More

The webinar conversation expanded to address Seattle U’s reputation for rigor and excellence, their choice of an online program, and study tips. Anne, Thijs, and Cynthia spoke about the respect they receive from their professors, who regard students as professional colleagues and welcome the useful and relevant knowledge they bring to the classroom. The alumni also discussed the strong connections and professional networks that form between students. To hear more, listen to the webinar recording

You can also read more student profiles in the student stories section of our blog

Master of Legal Studies in Compliance and Risk Management Program

Seattle U Law’s online Master of Legal Studies in Compliance and Risk Management program helps individuals who want to advance their careers and learn from respected leaders in ethics, compliance, and risk management. 

Depending on professional goals and interests, students in the fully online program can optionally choose to focus on financial compliance, healthcare compliance, corporate compliance, or data & cybersecurity compliance. 

The MLS program provides opportunities to solve problems through a legal lens and gain foundational knowledge of the law, but without a JD. It prepares graduates to lead compliance efforts in any organization, regardless of industry. Students graduate with a commanding knowledge of law, legal analysis, and the frameworks used to identify, assess, and respond to risk. The program’s values-based approach moves beyond a narrow sense of compliance and helps establish a sense of equity, justice, and inclusion.

For more information, contact us at lawgraduateonline@seattleu.edu.