Student Spotlight

International Lawyer Turned Cybersecurity Expert Adds to Toolbox with Albany Law M.S.

Diego Arroxellas

By Shannon Ballard Gorman
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Diego Arroxellas M.S. ’22 had an international view from early on. In his home country of Brazil, he earned a Bachelor of Law LL.B.degree in International Business, Trade & Tax Law from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul. He opened a law firm with two partners and practiced business law for five years before immigrating to Montreal, Canada.

He worked as a business development associate at Lemay-Yates Associates Inc., global consultants in digital infrastructure, telecommunications, and media, then moved to PwC, where he performed IT audits and met compliance mandates for the multinational professional services giant. Arroxellas enrolled in the Management Information Systems program at Concordia University, earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree with honors in 2015. He then joined Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, an international integrated professional services and project management company, and worked for four years in the “third line of defense,” managing IT internal audits globally, then transferred to the “second line of defense” to support the CISO and lead the cybersecurity governance program and team.

While there, Arroxellas enrolled in Albany Law School’s Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy. In 2021, he relocated to San Francisco, California and joined First Republic Bank, a $25 billion market cap American bank and wealth management company, again managing IT internal audits. He completed his master’s with the highest distinction in May 2022 and attended Commencement virtually. We asked him to share his thoughts about the program.

Q: What drew you to Albany Law’s online M.S. program?

A: The long history of academic excellence was a key factor while looking for the best fit for my next academic milestone. Albany Law School was at the top of the list. The wide range of topics and hands-on courses offered as part of this program were important drivers. Furthermore, as a professional in the field for approximately a decade, this concentration was very promising in providing the practical and theoretical tools that I felt were missing in my toolbox.
Q: How did the program work with your schedule?

A: Flexibility was imperative for me as a full-time worker with a growing family. With that in mind, although initially living in Canada, the asynchronous programming offered by the online platform allowed me to adjust my schedule and dedicate the right amount of time to all areas of my life. After moving to the U.S., being in the Pacific time zone was not an issue once again given the great flexibility offered by the online program. Finally, by the end of the second semester at Albany, the world was hit by the pandemic, which shifted everything to virtual for everyone. The online program was ahead of the curve, so the pandemic barely impacted its students.
Q: How did you find the support from faculty and staff?

A: It is hard to single out a professor as most of them were amazing and became great mentors even after the courses were completed. And the college’s flexibility with regards to tuition payment was a great unexpected help, especially during uncertain times due to the pandemic.

Q: What content did you find particularly interesting or valuable?

A: In my opinion, the greatest plus of this program is the ability to be exposed to laws, regulations, frameworks, standards, and best practices concerning cybersecurity and data privacy beyond U.S. borders. We studied and reviewed cases and scenarios that recently took place or were taking place around the globe. The courses and materials expose students to contemporary and emerging situations and encourage us to reflect critically and propose solutions.

Q: How has the program helped you in your work?

A: Since the very first course, I have used the content studied, or applied the mindset developed throughout my professional projects. I hope the degree will help boost my career within audit and perhaps beyond it when the right time comes. There is plenty of room to grow, including towards a more advisory role within cybersecurity and data privacy as well as risk management.

Q: Would you recommend this program to other lawyers?

A: I would recommend this program to any professional with an appetite to learn and hone skills associated with widely accepted cybersecurity and data privacy requirements and best practices. The scope of the content covered is much larger than legal concepts. Moreover, the richness of colleagues with a variety of backgrounds and experiences also allows and enables meaningful exchanges and opportunities to learn above and beyond the initial baseline. This program can certainly be appreciated by professionals in audit, data privacy, compliance, legal, information security, human resources, and many other fields.



Interested in Cybersecurity and Data Privacy?

Our Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Program is designed to provide cybersecurity professionals with the skills and knowledge to navigate a rapidly changing legal, regulatory, and policy landscape. We offer a rigorous curriculum taught by faculty who are thought leaders in the fields of information security, data privacy, cybercrime, intellectual property law, and more.

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Diego Arroxellas