Should You Think about a JD-MBA Degree?

I get this question a lot as a law student. My university does indeed offer dual degrees, and there are benefits and drawbacks. Since it gets asked, I promised I would list it here on the site.

What you have to realize is that a JD-MBA is basically double the normal workload that you would expect in law school. Not only are you going to have to keep up with your law homework, but you’re also going to have to keep up with your business homework. That can be a pretty tall order. On top of both degrees, you’re also going to need to network hard, harder than you have before in the past.

The reason? Law and business are both competitive now, more than ever. You just can’t assume that everything is going to be fine merely because you have a shiny degree from a shiny university. I decided to stay in college and pursue some clerking and other activities on the side because I wasn’t ready for the fierce competition ahead. When I went to law school, I assumed everything would pretty much run smoothly. That’s not the case, and it won’t be for a very long time. The worst the economy does, the harder it will be to actually find jobs that mean something.

Don’t be scared off from your dream because of this. Just know that it might take you a little longer to pull everything together than other people.

How do you know if the JD/MBA thing is right for you? That’s what I’m about to go into here in a second.

You need to be able to handle the cost — these programs can cost nearly twice what a law degree would on its own, and law is already pretty expensive. Be sure that you’re looking at any and all sources of financial aid, even if it’s small pieces here and there. Little amounts add up in a hurry.

You really want to make sure that you’re going to have time to pursue it, but I already mentioned that. Are you really willing to take 2-3 years off from your career to get this degree? A dual degree can demand even more than that.

Grades matter very much in terms of both the JD and MBA degrees — will you really have the type of time it takes to make good grades? This is something that can consume your life pretty quickly, which might be what you’re looking for. On the contrary, you might have other diverse interests, so this isn’t your bag. Either way, I totally understand where you’re coming from. Don’t think that it’s just a matter of hoping for the best — expect that you’re going to have to dig down a little bit more and really figure out the best way to walk next.

Competition, competition, competition. You’re going to be facing a lot of competition. You want to make sure that you show the admissions officers that you’re truly committed. You don’t want to just hope that your application looks good. You want to go in knowing that there’s nothing else you can do in order to be more of a shining example than what you’ve already done.

You also want to think about how the dual degree will impact your career. This is a degree that DEMANDS being strategic. This isn’t something that you do just on a whim. You study it from every angle and make sure that you’re fully committed. There’s no such thing as dropping out of the program – many will see that as an insult, since someone else lost the slot to you in the first place. If you were just going to drop out, you could have saved everyone the trouble and just never applied.

Being unsure of your career means that you need to steer clear of the dual degree. It’s just too much work for someone that’s still on the fence about law or business or the intersection where the two meetup.

Thinking about the future? We all are. And the truth is, nobody really knows what’s going to happen. The economy might improve…or it might not. There might be a war on the horizon…or there might not. But if you’re passion about law and business, you can do something impactful on the world with your degree. After all, deep down, isn’t that really the point of everything that we do? If you’re serious about a dual degree, really read this article over and over again until it sinks down into your head. This is not an easy decision to make. It’s not a decision that you need to rush into. It is just something that is worth thinking about, that’s all. What you do from here, as always, is completely up to you! Good luck!