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Student Spotlight: Mark Bond

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

An essential element of the USC Gould School of Law’s success is the supportive community fostered among its students around the world. These strong bonds which tie together the Gould Trojan Family fuel the impact and influence of the school’s programs online and on campus.

Meet Mark Bond (MSL '19). In the Q&A below, he shares what made him pursue a legal master's degree, transitioning to an online learning environment and how he connects with other online students and the Gould community.


Mark Bond MSL '19

What sparked your interest in learning about law?
Banking laws and regulations seem to be changing daily. Working In the banking industry my entire career, I felt that I needed to improve the depth of my legal knowledge to better understand these changes. Although I am a CPA with several years of banking and public accounting experience, I felt as though I needed to enhance my understanding of the law. Today's regulatory compliance requires more than a superficial knowledge of the law. I knew that I needed to find an academic program to help me understand regulatory compliance beyond the concepts I have obtained through work experience.

What made you pursue an MSL degree in particular, and why at USC Gould?
As I researched the various degrees that provided legal education, I noted the value of the MSL degree. It offered a curriculum that provided an in-depth legal education, but it did not require the time commitment required by other degree programs. I could receive the level of education that I was looking for, and still work full-time and spend time with my family. As I conducted further research, I found USC Gould’s program to match my requirements. I looked at on-line MSL programs offered by other top law schools; however, I found USC Gould’s curriculum offered the depth of information and quality of faculty I desired.

How has it been transitioning into the MSL program, and how has USC assisted you?
It had been several years since I obtained my degrees, so I had some trepidation about going back to school. In addition, I had not attended any on-line classes. I was also concerned about the time zone difference between my home in the eastern United States and “Trojan Time” on the Pacific Coast. USC was able to alleviate all of these concerns. The program advisors and technical staff did a great job of “checking in” with its students. They were always accessible, and seemed to proactively identify potential issues before they became problems. The program is truly global, so they have developed protocols/alternatives to relieve any difficulties caused by time differences.

What is the most memorable experience or learning from your USC studies so far?
Every class I attended throughout the program offered unique and memorable learning experiences. There were two experiences that really opened my eyes to the intimacy, and reach, of USC Gould’s MSL program. The first experience was from the initial Student Orientation class. During our introduction and interaction with the other students in my cohort, I mentioned that my wife and I were going to run in the Berlin Marathon. Another student read my post and indicated that she lived in Berlin, Germany. As we corresponded, she provided a great travel itinerary with the best things to do, best restaurants, and places to go during my visit. She even offered to meet my family for coffee and give a personal tour. Although our schedules did not allow us to meet, she checked to make sure we were safe throughout our travels.

Even though the program has a global reach, the small classes provide for an intimate academic and personal experience with the other students as well as instructors. Before and after many classes, I was able to have informal conversations with instructors. Not only did we discuss class content, we also discussed careers, college football, recent travel, and other diverse topics.

How will your MSL from USC Gould give you an advantage for your future career? What do you want to do next with your degree?
I believe that USC Gould’s MSL program will give me an advantage in my current and future career by providing me with a deeper understanding of the law. This greater understanding allows me to read, interpret, and discuss legal matters. With the current regulatory environment, I think these skills are invaluable. The program has also given me a better appreciation for legal education. 

What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path to yours?
I think the best advice I can give a student is to make the most of the program. You are entering a program offered by a Top 20 law school. You should come to each live session prepared, engaged, and open to what other students have to offer. I found great value in hearing global perspectives on such topics as the American Constitution and American legal system.