Published: April 20, 2017
Abdul Rahman Al Jaabari

Abdul Rahman Al Jaabari is proof that ethics and compliance careers are in demand across the globe. From Abu Dhabi to Boulder, Al Jaabari is taking 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 brings nearly five years’ experience in the compliance industry and more than 10 in the business world. As 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 is sponsoring his completion of the one-year MSL degree.

“There aren’t that many programs out there like the MSL degree at Colorado Law.”

“A Master’s degree in Ethics and Compliance is a natural fit for me, and there aren’t that many programs out there like the MSL degree at Colorado Law,” he 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 provides unique advantages, he said.

“Being in classes with JD students gives you 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’s also extremely helpful to gain a better appreciation and understanding of those lawyers I currently work with.”

Following completion of the program, he will return to Abu Dhabi to continue work with Mubadala and grow in his role as a compliance professional.

“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 he thinks that this degree will help him stand out in a growing field.

“There aren’t that many compliance professionals out there altogether. Having a degree in it is something fairly new,” he said. “The MSL degree aligns with my personal and professional development plans.”

When he’s not studying or in class, he is enjoying the fresh air, healthy lifestyle, and organic foods that Boulder offers. He and his classmates in the MSL Class of 2017 are a supportive, tight-knit cohort, which he says serves as an excellent support system. The guidance of the faculty has also been immensely helpful, both in and out of the classroom.

“The professors have been integral in making it an excellent experience for all of us,” he said. “They are constantly checking in to see how we’re doing and seeing how they can help us and support us through any challenges.”

Five Questions for Abdul

What have been your favorite classes?

The compliance capstone class, taught by Professor John Francis, gives 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’s a simulation of what it’s like in the real world, and we all learn from each other as classmates.

The legal ethics class taught by Professor Melanie Kay allows 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.

How will your MSL help you in your current job?

I have a much better understanding of laws and regulations. I’ve also expanded my knowledge base across different areas of compliance (such as health care law and information privacy, which I deal with indirectly in my job). The MSL is giving me a well-rounded foundation of the core of ethics and compliance.

What comes to mind when you think of a career in ethics and compliance?

  1. You are helping people to do the right thing.
  2. It’s rewarding. You get the opportunity to fix a problem and steer them toward doing the right thing.
  3. The profession makes the world a better and safer place, both directly and indirectly.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

My long-term goal is to eventually head a compliance program or a division of a compliance program, such as the head of investigations at a company.

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.

Colorado Law is now accepting applications for the MSL in Ethics and Compliance program for fall 2017. Learn more about our full- and part-time options and apply here.