School of Law

Tim Masembe

LLM International Trade Law | 2015 - 16

Photo of Tim Masembe

Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?

I’m the first born of a single-parent family in Uganda. Growing up amidst poverty and social inequity gave me the motivation to seek an education that expands opportunities for others of my kind. 

Upon graduating top of my class at Makerere University I joined Stanbic Bank where I served in several Transaction Banking roles before being called to head e-Business at Bank of Africa.

My commitment to private-sector-led development was recognised by the government of Uganda, which nominated me for a scholarship from Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom.

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

The discovery of Oil and Gas resources in East Africa has made the region the latest frontier market. Uganda has championed regional integration under the East African Community to build a common market and explore trade and investment opportunities under the Customs Union.  It's against that background that I found the LLM International Trade Law appealing for it combines my banking career and the aspirations of my country.

Despite the long-held interest in Trade, I had skills gaps that needed covering and so I had no second thoughts about the applying for the LLM International Trade Law.

My choice of Leeds was inspired by its reputation and alumni who occupy corporate leadership positions in Uganda such as David Wandera, who initially Headed Derivatives Marketing at Citi bank Uganda and later joined Stanbic Bank as Head of Global Markets Sales. He gave me the assurance and confidence that a degree from the University of Leeds will open greater opportunities for my career.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

International Trade is the engine of economic development; it expands opportunities through creation and redistribution of wealth among nation states. The aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis has seen reorganisation of global economic order in the form of mega-regional trade and investment agreements like the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) among others whose impacts on frontier markets such as those in Africa –Uganda in particular are however less clear.

The LLM program explores legal analysis and practice of trade from both an International Law and Commercial Law perspective. I’m very excited about the knowledge and skills offered by modules. The international nature of the course has allowed a broader understanding of application and practice beyond borders.

What do you think of your course? What aspects have you enjoyed the most?

There’s variety of industry-driven elective modules across the Centre for Business Law and Practice giving me the chance to customise the Master’s program to my career aspirations.

I have the opportunity to socialise with International students from all over the world through events organised by the School of Law’s postgraduate tutor. I got a chance to visit the Supreme Court and the houses of parliament in Westminster, all paid for and arranged by the school. 

The Professors and staff are very helpful and supportive which helped me as an International student get up to speed with the study system and settle in. I am deeply honored to be supervised by Professor Surya P Subedi O.B.E, a renowned scholar of International Law and a faculty member at the Centre for Business Law and Practice.

What would you say about the learning facilities in the School and at the University in general?

The media facilities used to record each class help in revisiting discussions for clarity and deeper understanding. The number of students per class is usually under 20, providing opportunity for the learners to deeply engage with the professors and participate in an interactive manner.

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

Leeds is the biggest legal hub outside London and a beautiful icon of the north.  I’ve witnessed the hospitality of the Yorkshire people on several occasions, particuarly on public transport. After a few months in Leeds and its beautiful architecture, its no longer a home away from home, its part of my life.

As a person who loves Art, I frequent the free galleries including one in the Brotherton building on Campus and the City Museum during my free time.

What do you like to do outside of studying?

I am a serial entrepreneur and sustainability enthusiast. The School of Law’s entrepreneurial work with Chapeltown Development Trust has challenged my perspective on supporting social equity and sustainability in communities.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel to different parts of the UK, go Ice-skating, shared international cuisine prepared by my multinational housemates every week, attended events organised by the Students Union(fruity Friday), participated in Quiz nights at a Pub (however I don’t drink), among others.

I like going to ‘the edge’-the university gym facility. It's always nice engaging with fellow colleagues activities outside the classroom. 

What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?

In today’s globalised world, you need an education that cuts across borders to practically address the most pressing issues of our time. The International nature of the programme not only promises a global competitiveness but also gives us a variety of transferable skills cutting across several programs at the School of Law. Every module gives one confidence to take on a multitude of leadership responsibilities in business law and practice.

However, the program is very intense and requires a commitment in the form of participation in all lectures, seminars, individual/group presentations and course work. Being a graduate level program in a leading research university, one can expect to carry out a lot of self-studying in preparation for classes. Nevertheless, expect to get all the support needed from the friendly staff.

What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course?

I am pioneering a Sustainable Development Initiative and Knowledge Management organisation with a colleague from London School of Economics(LSE) to trigger informed discourse on scaling sustainability and opportunity for the poor through enterprise development, trade and Investment.

I’m considering applying for placements in the UK and the United States to get International business exposure prior to the end of my program.

With world class education from the University of Leeds, I hope that I will, later on, enrol for doctorate studies. I’m confident that I can now take on bigger leadership responsibilities with other  International organisations that have intentions of making the world a better place. 

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