Chris Brooks, Quality Manager for Air Astana
LLM graduate Chris Brooks knows all about the challenges of balancing masters-level study with a demanding professional and personal life. He moved home, job and even country during his work towards the LLM (International and Comparative Law).
Working in airline quality and compliance
His current role is Quality Manager Engineering and Continuing Airworthiness with Air Astana, based in Almaty, Kazakhstan. He is responsible for monitoring compliance with the vast range of regulations relating to the maintenance and airworthiness of the company’s fleet.
He manages a five-strong team of specialists and deals directly with five national aviation authorities plus the European Aviation Safety Agency.
While the working language is English, some knowledge of Russian and Kazakh has proved to be very useful in fostering good working relationships.
Choosing the LLM and choosing part-time
Chris chose the LLM because he needed to take another step forward in developing his career. He explains: “The job market is competitive and you have to keep learning or fall behind. I was frequently involved in paralegal work and wanted to formalise the skills I was acquiring.”
“Being able to learn and gain support at a distance fits in with a busy working and personal life,” he says. “There is also flexibility with aspects of the course such as the dissertation submission date, which is vital for a mature student.”
What I enjoyed most
Chris appreciated the extensive range of LLM modules available: “You can build a scheme of study that meets your particular needs – and this is the trick to finding the course interesting throughout. Although it was of no direct relevance to my career, a comparative analysis of two traditional religious legal systems was by far the most interesting element for me.”
Chris praises the affordability of the course, the quality of the library facilities and the availability of online resources. He also feels that some of the broader skills he developed on the LLM, such as research and report writing, have been valuable in the workplace.
Advice for new LLM students
Chris offers some key advice to LLM students following in his footsteps: “Start your research early, use many sources and then reduce them down to the essentials. Keep reading the question and keep an open mind regarding your conclusions. Your classmates are great sounding boards: ask for their feedback.
“Invest in learning how to master the UDO online resources and always remember that the University staff have many students to support – so plan ahead and use their time wisely!”