Thursday, November 9, 2017
GPLLM graduates entering Convocation Hall on November 9th 2017

They have backgrounds from across the spectrum—law, technology, finance, risk management, energy, education and more—and were interested in expanding their knowledge, skills and networks. Forty-seven professionals from the Class of 2017, have now graduated with their Global Professional LLM degrees.  After 12-months of weekends and nights, after putting in full days of work and balancing family life, Satyma Mongia, an eligibility adjudicator at the WSIB, and an internationally trained lawyer, says she knows exactly how she feels:

“Accomplished. The GPLLM was challenging and demanding, especially with full-time employment and a toddler to care for. Therefore, mastering the skill of time management was a non-negotiable requirement in order to successfully complete the program. I feel more confident about my abilities than ever before, and I am proud to have finally reached this beautiful moment in my life.”

That’s exactly how her classmate, Michael Owen, an associate vice president at Manulife Financial, feels.

“I had a lot of fear when I started the program, but gained confidence over time. At my age (mid 50s) not everyone would make the commitment to take an advanced graduate degree. I’m glad that I did, and proud that I finished.” Owen stresses the program flexibility and location were key determinants, and he was drawn to the wide range of subject matter.

I can now contribute more insights and value in integrative thinking and legal thinking to my teams. 

Tara Lee, an in-house immigration advisor at Royal Bank of Canada, says she audited some GPLLM classes last year which helped her decide to apply to the program.

“I knew right away that both the University of Toronto and the GPLLM were the right fit. I loved absolutely everything: overall energy, classes, teachers and the ability to work during the day and study in the evenings.”

Lee says after several years in her type of career, “legal processes can get pretty mechanical at some point, and many professionals lose their ability to find creative solutions. This program has enhanced my ability to think clearly and critically, as well as boosted my interest in Canadian law. The GPLLM has reminded me that law has many facets and is a form of art, not just a profession.”

For David Cheung, a senior consultant at CIBC, this degree was in addition to his MBA, and added a new way of thinking: “an extra set of lenses from the risk and legal point of view…including compliance, risk, policies, law and regulation. The GPLLM can definitely complement the MBA or other graduate degrees. I can now contribute more insights and value in integrative thinking and legal thinking to my teams.”

Satyma Mongia goes further to stress this unique degree “represents a mosaic of subjects that are applicable to any career, and relevant to our everyday social and economic transactions.”

The dynamics of her classmates, instructors and administrators really stood out for her in this career journey. “Anyone can listen, read, memorize and just get by in order to obtain a degree. Further, any instructor can lecture for an hour or two, and put up a few slides…My experience in the Global Professional LLM program was much more that. Rather than competing with one another, my peers and I worked together to discuss the learning material and our lectures, and shared our ideas.”

Owen agrees and says he appreciated the academic strength of his cohort.  “It was great to meet so many motivated and like-minded professionals; seeing them every week became a real treat. Being able to work with my classmates and collaborate on issues was quite stimulating. The classroom discussions were well facilitated, and I was constantly interested in everyone's view point.”

And he was pleased to be able to put his new knowledge to work right away. “Understanding how to break up an issue into its component parts, and deal with each individually allowed me to better describe specific regulatory and contract issues in my day to day work.”

Reflecting on a year gone by, Tara Lee says: “I am full of pride and excited about new horizons. It was a ‘through hardships to the stars’ kind of year for me, but now being here means everything is possible.”

Cheung says words cannot describe what it means to graduate. “The feeling is so awesome!  Leveraging on the elite GPLLM alumni circle, I look forward to enjoying the long-term alumni support, and the very positive effects.” 

The celebrations continued after the ceremony at Convocation Hall, with a reception with family and friends at the Faculty of Law.


For further information about the Global Professional LLM program and its four unique streams, view its website here. Applications for September 2018 are being accepted now.