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How the International Commercial Law LLM helped prepare me for my current career

Date:29 March 2022
Maximilian Kasten (image courtesy of M. Kasten)
Maximilian Kasten (image courtesy of M. Kasten)

Maximilian Kasten is a German graduate of the 2019/2020 LLM program in International Commercial Law. Prior to pursuing this LLM program, he completed an LLB in Business Law at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany, and had professional experience in German businesses as well as law firms in Germany and Estonia. After completing the International Commerical Law LLM, he started working for Siemens AG in his hometown Erlangen, Germany. We've asked him a few questions below about his experience studying in the International Commerical Law LLM and how it helped him prepare for his current career.

Where do you presently work, what is your job title, and what does your work involve?

Since September 2020, I have been working as a “Customs Professional” at Siemens AG in Erlangen, Germany. Basically, my department (“Customs Regulatory”) advises the business on all legal matters that arise regarding customs procedures and we are the contact point for the (main) customs offices. My current responsibilities include, for instance, the redesign of the Siemens' internal customs control program (valid for Germany and the EU) as well as managing all of Siemens’ customs authorizations. 

Why did you choose to study the International Commercial Law LLM here in Groningen?

I chose this degree program because of its interesting course selection. When I was looking for an LLM program, I wanted to either become a contract manager and/or work in a cross-border context after graduation. The International Commercial Law studies in Groningen covered both these areas in its curriculum. In particular, the course and seminar on (International) Contracts Law as well as the course on Cross-Border Commercial Transactions perfectly matched my search criteria.

In addition, Groningen is a beautiful, campus-like, and student-oriented city with the magnificent historic buildings of the University of Groningen at its center. Although the university and its representative buildings can look back on a long tradition, the international orientation as well as the additional modern buildings, such as the University Library and the Zernike Campus, give this university a welcoming and future-oriented atmosphere.

What specifically did you enjoy about studying this LLM?

I very much enjoyed the international approach of this LLM. Since my bachelor studies in Business Law were focused on German law, I found it very interesting to broaden my legal horizon, for example, by comparing different legal systems. Besides the international scope of the program, our LLM had students from all over the world, which allowed for interesting discussions about different approaches to legal issues. Furthermore, the professors and lecturers were interested in our personal growth and, therefore, took the time to thoroughly explain the course material to us and answer all questions in detail. 

Which courses (or lecturers) did you enjoy the most and why?

To be honest, I found all the courses highly interesting and I enjoyed every single one of them. However, as mentioned above, I wanted to work as a contract manager and/or in a cross-border context after graduation, which is why I was particularly interested in the International Contract Law course, the Contract Law seminar, and the Cross-Border Commercial Transactions course. These three parts of the programme curriculum were definitely my favorites. 

In addition, all the lecturers genuinely cared about us students and were dedicated to bringing out the best in us. However, I especially enjoyed the cooperation with my supervisor of the master thesis and lecturer for International Contracts Law, Prof. Dr. Cherednychenko, who motivated me to use my full potential. In addition, I am grateful for the professional advice I received from my lecturer in Comparative Tort Law, Prof. Dr. Weishaar, when I consulted with him about my future career.

How did this LLM prepare you for your current career?

This LLM provided me with a thorough understanding of the legal aspects related to international commercial transactions. As I am now working in the field of Customs Law, the cross-border aspects of the courses have given me an excellent background for my professional career. In addition, I have learned to work with various international and European regulations, such as the Principles of European Contract Law (PECL), which have helped me to more easily understand and interpret other European regulations, such as the Union Customs Code (UCC), on which my current area of expertise is based.

Who would I suggest this LLM to?

I would recommend this LLM degree to anyone interested in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the law relating to international commercial transactions and the underlying relationships between parties. This course covers property law, tort law, private international law and the various stages of a legal relationship between contracting parties, starting with the conclusion of a contract and its clauses, while also demonstrating the various ways in which potential commercial disputes can be settled. In addition, the lecturers and law faculty members were always committed to making this educational experience the best it could be and Groningen was a perfect student-oriented city to live in.

- Interview by: Dr. Chris Brennan, Marketing Advisor, Faculty of Law


Interested in more information about our International Commercial Law LLM programme? You can ask questions directly to the Faculty by filling out our  information request form.