Student Finds Tax LLM Paves Way for Long-Term Path 

Yemi Akilo
Yemi Akilo '19

Yemi Akilo ’19 is the kind of guy who tends to take the long view. A former urban planning major who once helped design freeways for the state of California, Akilo is used to thinking in 30- and 60- year increments.

“I kind of correlate that with taxes,” says Akilo, a current Tax LLM student at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. “It’s not just about this year: When you advise a corporation or person, you’re giving them advice for the long term. It’s not just about how you solve the problems now, but what effect you’ll have down the line.”

When he honed in on Loyola’s Tax LLM program, Akilo already had a law degree. Impressed by the program’s pragmatism, its connection to the legal and tax scene in the heart of L.A., and the sense of support he got from Loyola Tax LLM Director Jennifer Kowal, Akilo quickly applied.

When he enrolled in the program last summer, Akilo quickly realized he’d made the right choice: The tax program held a brunch meeting during the first few weeks to help connect students with alumni in local firms, and he was struck by everyone’s willingness to help. “What I like about the professors is that everyone is a real working professional,” Akilo says, which makes them great sources of career advice. “I think everyone who went through the program wants to give back.”

And Professor Jennifer Kowal has lived up to his first impression. “She’s been right there every step of the way,” he says. “She definitely goes above and beyond.”

So far, Akilo says, the program has been rigorous, with lots of reading, but every bit as practical as he’d hoped. “In my first semester, I’d already worked on two projects I can show employers. It’s a lot of learning by doing.”

Akilo, now more than halfway through the one-year full-time program, will work for KPMG when he graduates this spring. “I like the fact that there’s a definite career track, and also flexibility in the work you do – international tax, mergers and acquisitions, or straight corporate tax. At a large accounting firm, everyone is a specialist in something.”

Having spent most of his life in California, Akilo is excited about his future and his new job in Silicon Valley. But he plans to stay connected to his alma mater.

“Loyola has so many resources,” he says.

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