The ANU edge

Stephanie Chu (LLMIntL '15)
16 Dec 2022

I did my Master of International Law as a mature age student at The Australian National University (ANU), while working full-time.

I was a few years into my Commonwealth public service career, and there was what was referred to as a recruitment freeze at the time. So promotions were difficult to come across, if possible at all. To prepare myself for when the floodgates opened back up, and everyone was going to be competing for the same promotions, I wanted to set myself apart from the competition. The best way I saw to give myself that edge was to increase my education with a degree from one of the best law schools in the country - ANU.
Working full-time and studying for your Masters can be a difficult balancing act. Which is why I didn't do it without help.
I was helped not just through my workplace, which granted me study leave, but by ANU as an institution. The way the course was designed encourages people working full-time to further their education. You could do your coursework in an intensive week, with exams and assignments done flexibly in your own time. And ANU flies in the best lecturers and professors from overseas. I even once had someone who had worked at the International Court of Justice teach one of my units.
That was how I was able to study and still work full-time: support from the workplace and support from ANU. It's the perfect environment for mature age, full-time workers. In fact, many of my fellow students were mature age too, and from other government departments. I even remember spotting a few familiar faces from my own department.
Having a Master of International Law under my belt meant that, for every job that I entered, I felt like my studies and my education at ANU really gave me an advantage compared to my peers. And that's not to say that they didn't bring anything else to the table, but I felt like I was much better equipped at being able to apply principles that I'd learned from my masters into the job. Upon completion, I have represented Australia as the sole delegate overseas at a multilateral organisation and am currently towards the end of a diplomatic posting.
So my advice to anyone who is thinking of becoming part of the ANU community is that if you want it, go for it, and do not give up. Even if you are working full-time, the experience and connections you develop are just so valuable. I wouldn't change it for anything.

You can follow Stephanie on LinkedIn at


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