The JD/MBA Info Thread

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Borg
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The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Borg » Fri May 11, 2012 1:55 pm

I found it difficult to get reliable information while I was applying to the JD/MBA program at my school, so I thought I would start one thread where JD/MBAs can all lay down information about their experiences for the benefit of potential applicants. It seems like there has been a spike in the number of questions about these programs, so hopefully this is helpful to a good number of people.

I am speaking only from my own experience. I do not purport to have all the answers, but I want to at least provide my perspective and I hope other JD/MBAs will jump in and do the same.

I. My Background

I created and sold my own company before heading back to school. I am enrolled at a T-14 law school and an M-7 business school.

II. Recruiting

A. Is the JD/MBA a liability in legal recruiting?
Absolutely not. When I was applying to the program, I had read rumors online that law firms might be skeptical of recruiting people with MBAs because of perceived "flight risk." Having been through recruiting and having witnessed all of my fellow JD/MBAs go through recruiting with a wide variety of grades, I can say that we all got good jobs at large national firms. I never had a single interview where an attorney expressed skepticism, and the most common reaction I got was something along the lines of "that's a great choice, we need attorneys who really understand our clients' businesses."

That said, you will inevitably be asked in every interview why you chose to do it. If you say something stupid like "I don't want to practice law for long, and this will give me exit options," then they probably won't like you. If you have a reasonable answer for this question, however, it shouldn't be a problem at all.

B. What are recruiting prospects like on the business side? Does the JD help?
I found recruiting in the MBA program had much more to do with the specific skills I have amassed over time and my experience in business than it had to do with my academic credentials. Corporate employers want people with the right background, and the JD probably won't open any additional doors if you don't have relevant prior experience. If you want to go into private equity, for example, you need to have done banking or top flight consulting first. The JD isn't going to help without that kind of experience, because you just won’t have the valuation skills etc. that they are looking for.

III. Evaluating Business Schools

A. How are business schools measured? Is there some way to tell if a school is worth attending in addition to law school?
U.S. News is not the end all be all for business school rankings. While it is still somewhat useful, most people pay equal attention to Businessweek and the Financial Times. These publications all focus on different factors. Additionally, different schools are known for different things. Wharton, Columbia, Chicago, and MIT are known as "quant" schools, while Stanford is known for entrepreneurship and Kellogg is known for marketing. Of course this does not mean you are precluded from getting great instruction in marketing at Wharton, or in finance at Kellogg. These are just the core competencies of the various schools. Culture also varies more widely between institutions. Law schools are generally more homogeneous than business schools are.

While the combination of rankings makes the evaluation process somewhat less "neat" than it is for law school, a business school version of the T-14 does exist. It is called the M7, and it consists of Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Chicago, MIT, and Kellogg.

IV. Admissions/Choosing a School

A. How important are grades and test scores?
Grades and test scores are not dispositive. Business schools care a lot about work experience, and they are going to carefully comb through your entire application. Another big difference is that the interview is a crucial element of the process, while most law schools don’t even bother interviewing applicants. In general, it is just a much more individualized process than law school admissions, and an 800 GMAT and a high GPA will not guarantee anything. The advice I got when I was applying was that a 700+ on the GMAT will put your application in play at top schools. This appears to be true.

B. How much work experience is necessary?
Unclear with respect to admissions. Sometimes people are admitted from the law school who have no work experience whatsoever, but most JD/MBAs I know have at least two years.

Admissions aside, I will say that I think the classes are much more valuable if you have some experience. Also, much of class discussion comes from people providing real life examples, so your ability to contribute will be hindered if you don’t have any experience. Recruiting can also be very rough in business school for people who are too fresh, because they compete with people who have 4+ years in the business world.

V. Conclusion

A. Is business school worth it? What do you learn that you don't get from law school?
In my experience, business school has definitely been worth it. You will learn the fundamentals of finance and accounting, and you get to dig deeper into a lot of interesting courses that are completely different from law school. I’ve learned a ton about finance, accounting, and management that I never knew before and definitely never would have picked up from law school alone. The network that comes with a top business school is also fantastic. I know way more international students than I met in law school, and I now have friends working in all sorts of different industries. I highly recommend it.

Again, this is just my experience. I’d appreciate if others would chime in with their experiences or advice on things that I didn’t think of covering. Also, please feel free to ask questions.

imchuckbass58
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri May 11, 2012 2:04 pm

I'm also a JD/MBA at CCN. I agree with everything said above. I'll join in answering questions if anyone has them.

Borg, just out of curiosity how far in are you and what are you planning to do afterwards?

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Mad Hatter
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Mad Hatter » Fri May 11, 2012 2:16 pm

1. What was you motivation for going the JD/MBA route?
2. 3-year or 4-year?
3. If 4-year, how did you manage the 3 summers?

imchuckbass58
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri May 11, 2012 3:31 pm

Mad Hatter wrote:1. What was you motivation for going the JD/MBA route?
2. 3-year or 4-year?
3. If 4-year, how did you manage the 3 summers?


1: Interest in a heavily interdisciplinary area (turnarounds/restructuring), along with a certain degree of indecision about whether I wanted to approach it from a business or law perspective.

2: 4 year, but I would recommend 3 year to most people if it is available at your school. It depends what you're going for - if you just want the basic skillset/signalling value, 3-year is just as good. The only real rationale for doing a for year would be either if you are really undecided on what you want to do and need two internships, or if you really need the extra electives at the b-school (i.e., to demonstrate interest in a non-obvious career path).

3: First summer I did a judicial internship, second summer was at a firm, third summer will be split between the same firm and a consulting firm.

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echamberlin8
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby echamberlin8 » Fri May 11, 2012 4:43 pm

Great idea for a thread! I'm definitely considering a JD/MBA at the moment.

What would be useful would be a list of business schools that either people have experience with or outright say that they are easier to get into once you are in the school's law school.

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Borg
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Borg » Fri May 11, 2012 7:06 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:I'm also a JD/MBA at CCN. I agree with everything said above. I'll join in answering questions if anyone has them.

Borg, just out of curiosity how far in are you and what are you planning to do afterwards?


I am in my third year of four. I haven't decided yet what to do afterward, but it will be either banking or law. I am leaning towards starting out in a law firm, as law seems to be a one way door while business has a fair number of transfer lawyers. I am also interested in restructuring/distressed finance work, so I might gear my practice towards getting into that.

Mad Hatter wrote:1. What was you motivation for going the JD/MBA route?
2. 3-year or 4-year?
3. If 4-year, how did you manage the 3 summers?


1. Flexibility was my primary motivation. I like law, but I was nervous about getting defined solely as a lawyer when I have doubts that I want to do it forever. I have a background in business, but not in finance, so I wanted to gain that knowledge as I might want to switch to that industry. I'm really happy I chose to do it.

2. Four years (see above).

3. I have done law my first two summers (got an offer last summer at a firm in NY) and this summer I will be at an investment bank.

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TatNurner
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby TatNurner » Fri May 11, 2012 11:09 pm

To those with JD/MBAs,

1) How much debt do you have?
2) Do you find having to borrow/pay for two degrees stressful?
3) If you do borrow a large amount, how do your loan payments look?

imchuckbass58
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sat May 12, 2012 2:23 pm

TatNurner wrote:To those with JD/MBAs,

1) How much debt do you have?
2) Do you find having to borrow/pay for two degrees stressful?
3) If you do borrow a large amount, how do your loan payments look?


I'm probably not the best person to answer this - I don't have loans due to a combination of merit aid, savings, and generous parents. But I probably would be pretty stressed if I were borrowing the full amount. Really the total cost is just a normal JD * 4/3.

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Borg
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Borg » Sat May 12, 2012 5:56 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
TatNurner wrote:To those with JD/MBAs,

1) How much debt do you have?
2) Do you find having to borrow/pay for two degrees stressful?
3) If you do borrow a large amount, how do your loan payments look?


I'm probably not the best person to answer this - I don't have loans due to a combination of merit aid, savings, and generous parents. But I probably would be pretty stressed if I were borrowing the full amount. Really the total cost is just a normal JD * 4/3.


Nice. I paid out of pocket, which sucks but is preferable to taking out loans at least. Agree with Chuck's cost estimate.

Bphart
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Bphart » Sun May 13, 2012 1:17 am

I'm interested in this route as well. Whats the workload like? I know it's somewhat split up as to one year of law classes, and another being business classes.

Any advice is helpful.

Hon. Art Vandelay
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Hon. Art Vandelay » Sun May 13, 2012 1:45 am

What would be useful would be a list of business schools that either people have experience with or outright say that they are easier to get into once you are in the school's law school.---- I would also like to know this if anyone has any info...

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TTTLS
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby TTTLS » Sun May 13, 2012 2:30 am

Hon. Art Vandelay wrote:What would be useful would be a list of business schools that either people have experience with or outright say that they are easier to get into once you are in the school's law school.---- I would also like to know this if anyone has any info...
I second this.

FinallyGoing
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby FinallyGoing » Sun May 13, 2012 2:40 am

Hon. Art Vandelay wrote:What would be useful would be a list of business schools that either people have experience with or outright say that they are easier to get into once you are in the school's law school.---- I would also like to know this if anyone has any info...


What about the inverse..anyone have any idea where it might be easier to gain admission after already being enrolled in the B school?

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Borg
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Borg » Sun May 13, 2012 4:03 am

The workload depends on what you are concentrating on. I am focusing on finance, and I have found those classes challenging. If you dig in, things can get pretty complicated and difficult. It's also a lot more quant work, which I have to work harder at as a right brained kind of person. I work harder in b school than I do in law school. If entrepreneurship or marketing or something else is your thing, however, it will be less work.

As for which schools are easier to get into from law school, I really can't help you. I don't know what happens behind the admissions office doors. I do think that it is worth throwing down an app if you are even 50% considering it though. Worst that can happen is that they say no. I'm very happy with the program, and I don't think I can do justice to all the options it has opened for me.

One major piece of advice if you're going to apply: BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR APP, GET IN TOUCH WITH A JD/MBA AT YOUR SCHOOL AND HAVE THEM HELP YOU. This was extremely valuable for me. Business school applications are a different beast, so personal advice is really helpful.

etlien
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby etlien » Sun May 13, 2012 4:43 am

Borg wrote:One major piece of advice if you're going to apply: BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR APP, GET IN TOUCH WITH A JD/MBA AT YOUR SCHOOL AND HAVE THEM HELP YOU. This was extremely valuable for me. Business school applications are a different beast, so personal advice is really helpful.


+1. This is the the best advice.

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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby etlien » Sun May 13, 2012 4:45 am

FinallyGoing wrote:
Hon. Art Vandelay wrote:What would be useful would be a list of business schools that either people have experience with or outright say that they are easier to get into once you are in the school's law school.---- I would also like to know this if anyone has any info...


What about the inverse..anyone have any idea where it might be easier to gain admission after already being enrolled in the B school?


I don't know about other programs, but at my program there has basically never been someone who entered from the B school side. I guess it just doesn't make sense since you would be doubling the length of your program and doubling the amount you pay.

imchuckbass58
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun May 13, 2012 11:24 am

Bphart wrote:I'm interested in this route as well. Whats the workload like? I know it's somewhat split up as to one year of law classes, and another being business classes.

Any advice is helpful.


Personally, I didn't find the workload any more difficult than normal law school classes. It's not like most schools cram 5 years of classes into 4 years - what they really do is just chop a semester off of each program. In fact, it's probably slightly easier (on a semester-by-semester basis) than a normal JD since on average MBA classes are less work than JD classes.

Agree with Borg though that it's heavily dependent on what classes you take, especially at the b-school. There are some that are barely any work, while some finance classes can get pretty intense.

imchuckbass58
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sun May 13, 2012 11:32 am

Hon. Art Vandelay wrote:What would be useful would be a list of business schools that either people have experience with or outright say that they are easier to get into once you are in the school's law school.---- I would also like to know this if anyone has any info...


I have no firsthand knowledge of this being the case anywhere, but I'm sure it is true some places. I'm pretty sure it's not true where I am - about half of the JDs who I know applied got rejected, which is a lower ratio than average, but keep in mind these people have great test scores. If you told me it was easier at places like Yale, where the law school is "better" than the b-school, I wouldn't be surprised, but I have nothing to support that.

Here's a couple of things to keep in mind: First, you'll have an inherent advantage no matter where you go because b-schools are looking for diversity of experience within their class and select consciously for it. So they won't take 50% former consultants even if they are otherwise the "best qualified" people. They're looking for a mix of people from finance, consulting, industry, non-profit, government, military, engineering, etc. To a certain degree, I believe a JD is a "unique" background (especially compared to traditional backgrounds like finance/consulting) and that can give you a leg up, especially if you can tell a compelling story.

The other thing to keep in mind is b-school admissions are much less of a numbers game. Yes, you need to hit some threshold numbers (~700 on the gmat, ~3.4 or better UGPA for most M7 schools), but business schools are happy to reject a 4.0/800 GMAT if you come across as immature, don't tell a good story in your essays, or otherwise do a bad job on the qualitative parts of the admissions process. They're really looking for a compelling story about what you want to do and why the MBA will help you, and will reject you if you don't articulate it. Virtually every JD I know who applied had great numbers, but the ones who got rejected (at least the ones I know) either didn't take the essays seriously or gave an overall impression of not being socially adept. The stereotype of JD applicants is "very analytically smart, but immature/awkward" - make sure you don't play into this.

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Borg
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Borg » Mon May 14, 2012 1:03 am

imchuckbass58 wrote:
Hon. Art Vandelay wrote:What would be useful would be a list of business schools that either people have experience with or outright say that they are easier to get into once you are in the school's law school.---- I would also like to know this if anyone has any info...


I have no firsthand knowledge of this being the case anywhere, but I'm sure it is true some places. I'm pretty sure it's not true where I am - about half of the JDs who I know applied got rejected, which is a lower ratio than average, but keep in mind these people have great test scores. If you told me it was easier at places like Yale, where the law school is "better" than the b-school, I wouldn't be surprised, but I have nothing to support that.

Here's a couple of things to keep in mind: First, you'll have an inherent advantage no matter where you go because b-schools are looking for diversity of experience within their class and select consciously for it. So they won't take 50% former consultants even if they are otherwise the "best qualified" people. They're looking for a mix of people from finance, consulting, industry, non-profit, government, military, engineering, etc. To a certain degree, I believe a JD is a "unique" background (especially compared to traditional backgrounds like finance/consulting) and that can give you a leg up, especially if you can tell a compelling story.

The other thing to keep in mind is b-school admissions are much less of a numbers game. Yes, you need to hit some threshold numbers (~700 on the gmat, ~3.4 or better UGPA for most M7 schools), but business schools are happy to reject a 4.0/800 GMAT if you come across as immature, don't tell a good story in your essays, or otherwise do a bad job on the qualitative parts of the admissions process. They're really looking for a compelling story about what you want to do and why the MBA will help you, and will reject you if you don't articulate it. Virtually every JD I know who applied had great numbers, but the ones who got rejected (at least the ones I know) either didn't take the essays seriously or gave an overall impression of not being socially adept. The stereotype of JD applicants is "very analytically smart, but immature/awkward" - make sure you don't play into this.


Excellent advice, agree completely.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon May 14, 2012 11:15 am

1. Chuck did you apply during 1L or did you go in as a JD/MBA?

2. Does the OCI process differ in any way for you guys?

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Borg
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Borg » Mon May 14, 2012 11:25 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:1. Chuck did you apply during 1L or did you go in as a JD/MBA?

2. Does the OCI process differ in any way for you guys?


OCI is different only in that we have an extra summer and can also participate in business school OCI. I've gone through law school recruiting at the same time as my law school classmates after 1L year, and then I went through business school recruiting for banking during their regular OCI process.

imchuckbass58
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby imchuckbass58 » Mon May 14, 2012 6:58 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:1. Chuck did you apply during 1L or did you go in as a JD/MBA?

2. Does the OCI process differ in any way for you guys?


I applied as a 1L.

You can effectively choose where you do OCI (b-school or law school) each year after your first year. The process doesn't really differ with the exception that some firms (both law and business) may be reluctant to hire you your second summer, since you have another summer left and presumably will be going somewhere else then. That said, there are still plenty of firms that don't mind - I ended up at a great firm summer after my second year and it sounds like Borg did as well.

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Kring345
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Kring345 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:56 pm

Is there a TLS for MBA students and applicants?

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Mad Hatter
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Mad Hatter » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:33 pm

Kring345 wrote:Is there a TLS for MBA students and applicants?

GMATClub, Poets and Quants, and WallStreetOasis are as close as you'll get.

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Shooter
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Re: The JD/MBA Info Thread

Postby Shooter » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:06 pm

From a distance, it appears as though b-schools HEAVILY favor students from top undergrads - a lot moreso than do law schools. I figure this has something to do with the fact that kids from top undergrads have more prestigious work experience (i.e. pretty much no one from a typical state university, regardless of their performance, ever gets a consulting or i-banking gig).

Can you shed any light on this?




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