Abdulrahman Al Jaabari is proof that ethics and compliance careers are in demand across the globe. From Abu Dhabi to Boulder, Al Jaabari took his decade-long business career to the next level with a Master of Studies in Law degree in Ethics and Compliance from the University of Colorado Law School.
Al Jaabari’s story is unique in that he came to the MSL program with nearly five years’ experience in the compliance industry and more than 10 in the business world. Then a senior assistant manager in compliance at Mubadala Development Company, a private equity company in Abu Dhabi, he wanted to expand his knowledge of ethics and compliance. His company sponsored his completion of the one-year MSL degree.
“A Master’s degree in Ethics and Compliance was a natural fit for me, and there aren’t many programs out there like the MSL degree at Colorado Law,” Al Jaabari said. “I like that it is not a generic MSL, but specific to exactly what I do—ethics and compliance.”
Taking classes alongside JD students also provided unique advantages, he said.
“Being in classes with JD students gave me a sense of being a law school student without the three-year commitment,” he said. “Half of the team I work with is comprised of lawyers, and so it was also extremely helpful to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the lawyers I work with.”
Following completion of the program, Al Jaabari returned to Abu Dhabi to continue work with Mubadala and grow in his role as a compliance professional. He is now the Compliance Counsel for the company.
“Earning a master’s degree was always on my radar, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do,” he said. “I considered an MBA, but that seemed too broad. When the MSL degree popped up on my radar, I was intrigued by the fact that it was just one year and thought that sounded feasible.”
Al Jaabari graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in political science. He went to work as an investment professional with First Gulf Bank. Later, he joined the aerospace division at Mubadala.
Five years into his role at Mubadala, he was asked to help implement regulatory measures in the company’s aerospace subsidiaries. He enjoyed the work, and increasingly became involved in internal investigations.
Al Jaabari said that the MSL degree helps him stand out in a growing field.
“The MSL degree reflects a level of expertise that provides a competitive advantage as the compliance field continues to grow. The degree adds to my professional credibility and instills deeper confidence in my expertise and capabilities.” Of his promotion to Compliance Counsel at Mubadala following his completion of the MSL degree, Al Jaabari says that “the MSL program gave me the opportunity to build on my knowledge and apply it in a different environment, which has helped me advance and evolve my skills and the application of them at work.”
Al Jaabari found tremendous camaraderie and support in both his classmates and the faculty at Colorado Law. He and his classmates in the MSL Class of 2017 were a supportive, tight-knit cohort, which Al Jaabari says served as an excellent support system. The guidance of the faculty was also immensely helpful, both in and out of the classroom. “The professors were integral in making it an excellent experience for all of us,” he said. “They regularly checked in to see how we were doing and to ask how they could help us and support us through any challenges.”
Questions for Abdul
What were your favorite classes in the MSL program?
The compliance capstone class, taught by Professor John Francis, gave us the opportunity to deliver on projects and present our work product to the class. For example, we developed a company code of conduct and presented it to a mock board of directors, which was the rest of the class. It was a simulation of what it’s like in the real world, and we all learned from each other as classmates.
The legal ethics class taught by Professor Melanie Kay allowed us to step back from what we do day-to-day as compliance professionals and focus on the larger moral obligation we face.
Additionally, Professor Amy Bauer’s Introduction to U.S. Law really prepared us for the classes we would be taking alongside JD students.
What do you enjoy about working in the ethics and compliance profession?
- You are helping people to do the right thing.
- It’s rewarding. You get the opportunity to fix a problem and steer them toward doing the right thing.
- The profession makes the world a better and safer place, both directly and indirectly.
What would you tell a prospective MSL student?
If you want a way to get your foot in the door in one of the fastest-growing job markets in the world, join this program and get on board. Ethics and compliance is an area where you can help others, your company, and have exposure into many areas. The MSL degree is a fast track into a position in this industry.