With an undergraduate degree in computing, a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) and an extensive career in the IT industry, Elsa Sturma knew she needed a postgraduate law degree that was adaptable, accessible and also offered her strong professional pathways.
Enrolled in Deakin’s new Juris Doctor (JD) program, Elsa says that after completing her MBA degree she knew that law was next on her to-do list – but it had to be flexible.
‘I wanted a postgraduate course that could fit around my work schedule,’ she says. ‘The JD also appealed because it delivers options. At the end of the course you have the option of being able to practise law if you choose. The many legal courses that I looked into did not offer that option.’
With a long career in the IT industry, Elsa first started in an administration role before moving to large telecommunications company and progressing to senior management roles.
‘My career ambition was to then live and work overseas so I did that by moving to Asia. When I came back to Australia, I joined the consulting ranks,’ she says.
As a consultant to a broad range of organisations, Elsa says she needed a postgraduate law degree that fitted around her busy work schedule.
‘I discovered Deakin was the only university delivering a quality program in an online flexible manner. After previously completing both an undergraduate and postgraduate degree part-time and on-campus – which meant rushing to a lecture straight after work two nights a week and then sitting in a lecture room for three/four hours – I knew I could not do that again. It was just too exhausting,’ she explains.
Elsa adds that the other reason she chose to study a Juris Doctor at Deakin was the university’s highly-regarded law programs.
‘I have friends in the legal profession who spoke very highly of Deakin’s law courses and reputation so that also influenced me.’
Although Elsa is only in the early stages of her degree, she’s discovering the JD’s online delivery is already exceeding her expectations.
‘It’s brilliant! I was worried at first because I’d been used to sitting in a lecture room and seeing the lecturer but the fact that you can still have a chat with the lecturer each week at the lecture/tutorial is amazing. I never had that much interaction in my previous (on-campus) courses!’
While Elsa acknowledges it did take her a few weeks to get into the swing of the study again, she’s now found a manageable work and study routine.
‘I think initially, it was simply getting my brain back into study mode. But one of the advantages in going back to study later in life is that it comes with a great ability to decipher what is really important – and what is just nice to know!’ she says.
So far, one of Elsa’s key study strategies is to make sure there’s always time for the online lectures.
‘They’re really a very good way to set your schedule. The family and work can be juggled around that lecture. It is tough but it can be done,’ she says.
Planning to continue her career within the IT industry, Elsa is looking forward to the broader ventures and opportunities that a law degree will offer.
‘I have just started a Strata management company. Having a legal qualification will give me the additional skills to pursue this venture with confidence,’ she says.
Her advice for others who may be considering the JD program – or other postgraduate study – is simple.
‘Just do it. You spend so much time in life talking yourself out of things and before you know it you’ve lost a year or two just procrastinating. Just give it a go and see where it takes you!’