Sakina Ibrahimova '10 speaks four languages including Azerbaijani, Russian, English and Turkish--make that five language if you count tax law.
"I enjoy practicing tax law because it allows you to think outside the box and to be creative," said Ibrahimova, a tax consultant for PriceWaterHouseCoopers in Azerbaijan who focuses on corporate and international tax law. "I also like the social aspect of being a consultant. I regularly communicate with clients and government officials." She serves clients mostly from the oil and gas industry.
While she had been practicing tax law for four years after earning her law degree in Azerbaijan, she sought the benefits of a comparative law degree from an American law school. "I wanted to study American local and international tax law, which would help me to develop legal analysis, research, and writing skills," said Ibrahimova. "Thus, I applied to the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship and obtained the full scholarship for the LL.M. program
at The Dickinson School of Law."
At Penn State Law, Ibrahimova enjoyed her classes with Professor Samuel Thompson
, including Corporate Tax, International Tax, and Business Planning for Mergers and Acquisitions. After earning her LL.M., Ibrahimova completed a three-month internship with the International Tax Services Group at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP at its McLean, Virginia location, where she focused on outbound transactions of U.S. companies overseas.
She found that her course work with Professor Thompson gave her a fresh perspective.
"The courses gave me an understanding of corporate taxation through M&A transactions and international taxation in the U.S., which prepared me for my summer internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers. I was able to work on a couple of very interesting projects at Pricewaterhouse and significantly develop my technical knowledge."
Ibrahimova has returned to Azerbaijan and to her promising career as a tax consultant. She offers this advice for law students: "It is never too late to take on new challenges; change whatever you want to change; listen to your heart and it will give you the best answer; work hard for your ambitions; and take what you can take now, you will get more later."
Ibrahimova is expanding her scholarship in addition to traveling and practicing law. She holds a master's degree in criminal law and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in financial law from Baku State University.