The Dual-Degree JD/MBA
Law and business graduate faculty would probably agree that this joint program is probably the most challenging in the educational community. And, from an employer’s perspective, this duality is probably the most commercially relevant.
This piece speaks to the prospective MBA candidate who is curious about law school, the time/energy commitment, and the benefits of this joint degree, the most marketable dual degree now being offered at many graduate schools across the country. Want a four-year adventure? Then embark upon the most challenging and rigorous graduate program available.
Typically, the first and fourth year of the program consist solely of law courses while the second and third year are an integration of law and business. (However, the Kellogg School and Northwestern University’s School of Law tout a three-year, fully integrated, joint program.)
Strong rankings included the well-recognized, familiar-name schools.
Harvard—business school (1) Law school (3)
Stanford—business school (2) Law school (4)
Wharton (Penn)—business school (3) Law school (8)
Chicago—business school (4) Law school (10)
Columbia—business school (5) Law school (12)
NYU—business school (6) Law school (15)
UC Berkeley—business school (7) Law school (11)
Is it worth the extra time and money, especially in this economy? The average salary for the JD/MBA in today’s job market is less than $100K but the prospects after five years in practice are much better than with either single-graduate degree.
The dual-degree graduates may also enjoy a wider spectrum of job opportunities, often finding work in the general counsel’s office of a large corporation or in the business litigation division of a large law firm.
From a professorial perspective the JD/MBA students, usually 12-14 in a class, were always a delight to teach. I always expected a certain level of preparedness and they consistently delivered. And they had expectations for me as well: they wanted topical, seminal law cases assigned for discussion. As a group I noticed a given student would lean toward or favor a particular discipline. Those who were more business oriented were older, more practical with considerable work experience. Those who considered themselves law students first were more irreverent, talkative, and generally better writers most often with a liberal arts undergraduate degree. And they formed tribal groups early on sometime arguing loudly across the classroom.
If you are considering the JD/MBA engage a graduate school counselor, check your finances, ponder the job market, and think carefully about a radical change of life style.