Scholar - Olayinka Oladeji
Undergraduate Course and Grades - Law, Second Class Upper Division
Undergraduate University - Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
Graduate Course and University- Masters in International Law, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
I started my journey early. I was the student who was always helping senior colleagues obtain transcripts and follow up with lecturers for their reference letters. So as far back as my third year, I knew the basics about Cambridge, Harvard, Toronto LLM applications.
Several years later, after law school was done, I was working in a law firm with a huge litigation and admiralty practice, but I knew I wanted more and decided it was time for the career in International Law. My bosses mostly dissuaded me from applying and encouraged me to focus on my practice. Lesson: People will discourage you, you must know why you want a foreign degree, what it will translate into and the sacrifices you are ready to make for it.
One day, a colleague at work was researching and found the Graduate Institute Geneva. Prior to that, I had never thought about Geneva and I wanted to do a Masters in International Law. Identifying the hub of your programme may help you narrow your choices. It may even determine job prospects afterwards.
Amidst my busy life, I turned in the application on time (early bird). This was a major determinant because aside the quality of my application and my prospects, it influenced my chances of a fully funded scholarship.
How I got funded:
The Financial Aid Application is part of the admission application. If your application is very convincing and reflects dire need, you get recommended for additional funding aside the basic funding which covers both tuition and living expenses. In all, you may get as much as 28,000 CHF per year) Job prospects was a determinant for my application. International Geneva is the hub of international law and affairs.
Things that made me stand out:
My grades, my past publications and research, experience from international competitions, early submission of my application and excellent references from my lecturers; above all, the Grace of God. I wasn’t expecting it.
Challenges: It was tough combining work and the masters application.
Mistakes I made:
Say no to random sampling: I was busy and mostly stressed to start the Harvard or Ivy League applications (get a consultant to help you, it makes life easy). So I did a random application and got into a fully sponsored LLM in South Africa but I had to turn it down because it wasn’t the best for me (don’t go abroad for going sake. Is the programme the best for you?)
Do your research well and ask questions:
The Institute has both a Masters and LLM Programme in International Law but I wasn’t quite aware of the LLM programme. Even though my choice of programme suits me because I wanted an interdisciplinary Masters that has a core legal concentration, your case may be different so do your research well. Call the admission office. This goes a long way.