Studying at Melbourne Law School inspired Abhimanyu to pursue a new career path, while also equipping him with the tools and confidence to make a successful transition.
Why did you choose to study at Melbourne Law School?
The course had the right specialty, the field that I wanted to specialise in, and the course was based in Melbourne, which is a great city to live in. Melbourne Law School is also, as I discovered later, very highly rated, and that adds to its many advantages.
However the main reason was that the university has structured the course in a very multidisciplinary fashion. I'm not a lawyer, so coming into legal studies, which can be quite technical, can be a challenging prospect. I think the university has recognised the importance of having multidisciplinary training in the professional world. And really, the Master of Energy and Resources Law, which is open to lawyers as well as non-lawyers, is quite a unique course that I did not find anywhere else while I was doing my research for my studies.
What’s your interest in energy and resource law?
One of the big reasons I chose to study the Master in Energy and Resources Law is because of the big sustainability transition that is coming our way. I consider it as the great big challenge of our generation. In fact, I think sustainability is going to define the character of this generation. That was my motivation. Sustainability is playing a major role in the energy transition that is coming. Moving from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy resources requires a substantial amount of finance and legal restructuring to be able to make this sustainable transition work. It is not a given that it will, and so it will require a substantial amount of expertise to do innovative things in fields like law, economics and finance to convert our unsustainable way of living into something that has more longevity.
Tell us about the scholarship you received.
I was lucky enough to receive the Alex Chernov Scholarship. It's a fully funded scholarship for Indian students given out competitively. The scholarship covers the entire tuition for my degree, plus some administrative assistance in moving to Melbourne. The scholarship has been an immense help in taking the mental pressure off relying on my savings when I was contemplating moving to a new country to study, and was a little uncertain about what I might get out of the degree.
I can say that, because the scholarship allowed me to come to the university and do this course, I'm now actually considering using my own savings to continue my studies here and possibly even acquire a full Melbourne Juris Doctor degree at the university. And it just opens up the opportunity to do that, which I would not have considered before.
Have you taken advantage of any of the student services offered by the University?
The one that has stood out for me during my course has been the Legal Academic Skill Centre. It basically trains you in legal writing, legal thinking and critical analysis. It is a very different skill set to what I had before as part of my previous education. My engagement with the centre has improved my writing and critical analysis not just in my studies, but in my professional career as well. Very recently, I was commended on a piece of writing at my workplace, and it's in no small part to the referencing and the way to present your arguments that I learned at the Legal Academic Skill Centre.
What has been the biggest take away from your studies so far?
I think the key benefit for me has been just learning the different way that lawyers think, and the different way of thinking that legal studies bring. I never considered it before, but I can see the amount of value that I was missing previously in my career. And this was appreciated in some of the latest products that I have been able to deliver for my employer and my clients of just a wider expanse of opinion that I'm now able to give on a project.
The biggest change from taking this course is that I'm more confident about my future. More confident that I will live a happier life, because I've put my career and my intellect in a good perspective. I also have the confidence that I can give somebody a quick briefing on what the energy market looks like, what sort of regulations you need to consider in it, what sort of legal opinion you need to seek from lawyers or from the legal system, and how you need to engage with the legal system within this industry.
How have you found living in Melbourne?
It's fantastic! I love the city. My favourite thing about Melbourne is the Australian Open, which I have attended every year for the last three years. The city is vibrant, it has so many events, art galleries, music concerts, where you can really unwind from your studies, and even places where you can critically engage with your course, but in a completely different environment.
For other international students thinking about moving here, in my experience, it's easy to find rentals, and everything's well regulated. There is a legal system that protects you. It can of course be challenging to come to a new city and establish yourself, but there is a lot of infrastructure here for students and a lot of services to help you.
Have you been involved in any extracurricular activities?
I'm big on extracurricular activities. It's one of the reasons why I came to Melbourne. I was really excited to join all the clubs, and I did!
I am part of the Melbourne University Squash Club, and I play independent league in Victoria. My first community network or friends were made at the Melbourne Squash Club. So that was amazing. I'm a regular at the gym. It's a fantastic gym; again, a very good community of people who come around there. And it's just really inspiring to see a lot of students practising their hobbies or their interests around sports with all the facilities that the university offers.
I’m also the treasurer for the Melbourne Law Master Student Association. Recently we were able to organise and end of semester get together for a lot of international students. It had a fantastic turnout, much more than what we were expecting. We had to recontract the bar twice to increase the capacity of the party that we were throwing.
What’s next for you?
My career goals have actually changed. I want to move away from public policy consulting and explore infrastructure financing and project financing internationally. This may require me starting perhaps at a slightly lower level than what I'm doing currently, but what the Melbourne Law School has done is give me a very good picture of what this industry looks like, and the confidence that I can be successful within the field. I was able to call upon the lecturers or the presenters that came to the classes, and they were very encouraging and went out of their way and meet me, even kind of mentor me through this transition. And I was just very, very encouraged by how inviting and how much time the professionals were able to give me, and to give the advice that they gave.
Despite the fact that I'm considering a massive change, I feel confident that, armed with the tools I’ve gained from my time at Melbourne Law School, I will be able to make this career pivot and be successful in the field that I've chosen.