To celebrate the 10th year of the Master of Science in Law (MSL) program—where STEM, law, and business converge—Northwestern Pritzker Law is highlighting alumni of the program from each graduating class since its 2014 launch.
The Master of Science in Law was created at a moment of tremendous technological and workforce change, when professionals from diverse fields were being called upon to interact with increasingly complex issues involving regulation, product development, privacy, use of data, contracts, business development, entrepreneurship, and more. The Law School recognized that STEM professionals in particular were often in the thick of these intersectional legal and business issues, but few had the training to address and respond to these challenges.
The launch of the MSL addressed this gap in the market, and the program has grown dramatically over the years – there are now approximately 200 students enrolled in the program annually. With both a full-time and part-time option, and the addition five years ago of an online format that caters to mid-career professionals, the MSL has sent more than 600 well-trained, interdisciplinary professionals into the market.
Following the interests of its students, and always looking to be on the cutting edge, the MSL program now offers more than 80 classes focused at the intersection of law, business, and STEM – including foundational classes in contracts, regulation, business formation, securities, and intellectual property, and an interesting assortment of specialized electives in such areas as fintech, privacy, data security, biotech, food, AI, forensic science, environmental law, IP strategy and management, and many more.
This week we highlight Ejede Okogbo (MSL ‘16). He is currently the senior director of marketing analytics at Rescue, a marketing agency based in San Diego. We spoke with Okogbo about how he applies his MSL degree in his career and his advice for future MSL candidates.
What has changed for you since you graduated from the MSL program?
The MSL gave me a unique perspective on how to navigate technical careers. Prior to the MSL, I was a very functional employee within a company. Since I’ve completed the program, I have a deeper understanding of organization structures, business strategy, and client management. The MSL played a part in helping me get my MBA; I now have a successful tenure in consulting.
What is the best piece of advice you received in law school?
Lynn Cohn, clinical professor of law and co-director of the Center on Negotiation, Mediation, and Restorative Justice, encouraged me to keep thinking of all solutions to reach an agreement and not to be confined to the immediate constraints of the space in front of me. Dan Brown, clinical associate professor at the Segal Design Institute and visiting professor at Northwestern Pritzker Law at the time, also said something like, “Entrepreneurs are already imagining their first Ferrari, and they haven’t yet done something as basic as market research.”
How has the MSL program impacted your career trajectory?
Before the MSL, I only had experience as an individual contributor, and I wasn’t trending toward management. Now I lead the analytics department of a midsized company.
How are you currently applying your MSL studies in your profession?
I now have salaried and contract employees on my team, so Employment Law was very valuable for me, giving me a well-rounded scope of the difference between the two. When hiring one or the other, I now have a concrete understanding of how the company interprets both roles. I use that in my decision-making for the tasks I assign. I also took the statistics class, and while it wasn’t a technical class, I can communicate with PhD level researchers on their survey analysis techniques in domains outside of my knowledge.
What was innovative about the program during your time as a student?
It seemed unique that the MSL had a statistics class at the time. I don’t necessarily associate the legal field with statistics considering that statistics is a niche field in practice. But, considering the recent emergence of Artificial Intelligence to the general public and the fact that AI has many of the same foundations as traditional statistics, that class feels ahead of its time.
Do you have advice for future MSL applicants, students, and alumni?
Always take opportunities to learn. Growth is usually the outcome of humility. Never think you know it all. Use that mindset to navigate through the challenges of learning concepts that seem completely foreign and that fill you with stress and frustration.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.