Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

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El_Bee_Oh

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Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

Postby El_Bee_Oh » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:10 pm

Particularly for prestige obsessed industries like buyside finance. Let's say that the candidate has previous banking/consulting experience and an undergraduate business degree from Wharton/UVA/Berkeley etc. so in terms of education, the MBA doesn't really add much. MBA admissions are much less predictable than law school admissions, so while a person may be a "lock" for a subset of law schools, there is not way of predicting MBA admissions. In this scenario, would it make sense for someone looking to go back into business to get a JD from Harvard or Stanford rather than an MBA from a school like Booth or Columbia or Northwestern?

I know that in almost every situation the Chicago/Columbia MBA wins out if the person wants to work in finance, but certain industries, especially private equity and hedge funds recruit essentially exclusively out of Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. These guys simply don't look at people that aren't coming out of those schools. My impression is that they don't particularly care what you learn in business school, just that you went somewhere (very) prestigious. Obvious cons to this would be an additional year of school (meaning $80k + opportunity cost) and having to explain to people why you went this route. Anyone know of anyone that's tried something like this?

ymmv

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Re: Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

Postby ymmv » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:19 pm

If this is such a huge concern to you and you don't want to take an extra year, have you considered the Penn/Wharton 3-year JD/MBA? Not to be a shill for the school, but it's supposedly much easier to get accepted at Wharton once you're in at Penn Law. Though obviously you're still talking a lot of extra cost for the second degree.

Anyway, all that said I still can't really understand why anyone would need both degrees - if you want to do business, go to business school. Law school seems like a colossal waste of time and probably money. But to each their own.

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jbagelboy

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Re: Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:32 pm

El_Bee_Oh wrote:I know that in almost every situation the Chicago/Columbia MBA wins out if the person wants to work in finance, but certain industries, especially private equity and hedge funds recruit essentially exclusively out of Harvard, Stanford and Wharton.


Nowhere is this born out. It seems strange that people make these flawed assessments, when the data is readily available. No metric suggests particular dominance in any one category financial services over several years between these schools. Hedge fund, PE, VC, ect. is distributed pretty evenly, and there are no firms that recruit exclusively from any one program (M7 is the dividing line).

http://mbacareers.wharton.upenn.edu/sta ... s/cr13.pdf
http://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/recruiters ... mentreport
http://www.hbs.edu/recruiting/mba/data- ... stics.html
http://www.chicagobooth.edu/corp/hire-s ... nt-reports

All top mba programs have similar spreads - 30-35% finance, 30-35% consulting, the rest mixed management. It takes a little time to compare apples to apples, since each school presents its data differently (unlike our simple fed clerk/100+ attorney measure on LST). The niche outcomes have much more to do with prior employment than school: people who have VC exposure are much more likely to be able to exit into that field, ect.

Moreover, why do you convert your uncertainty of admission as a reluctance to apply? Shoot off apps to the M7 schools and see where you get in. If your current employer will pay for the degree, that's definitely TCR.

Don't go to law school to backdoor into high finance. It's not worth it.

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nygrrrl

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Re: Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

Postby nygrrrl » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:13 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Don't go to law school to backdoor into high finance.

Go to law school if you [think you] want to be a lawyer. Want to be anything else? Do not go to law school.
(I don't mean to be trite or simplistic, it's just the reality.)

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guano

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Re: Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

Postby guano » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:34 pm

El_Bee_Oh wrote:Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

A) if you want to be a lawyer
B) If you already have a job&career, will have the same job&career after you graduate, and the law degree makes sense (e.g. you work for a financial services company that provides estate planning services, and wants to include limited legal services such as trusts or wills)
C) you want to spend a lot of time and money to end up worse than before (see e.g. dingbat)

kartelite

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Re: Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

Postby kartelite » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:36 pm

El_Bee_Oh wrote:Particularly for prestige obsessed industries like buyside finance. Let's say that the candidate has previous banking/consulting experience and an undergraduate business degree from Wharton/UVA/Berkeley etc. so in terms of education, the MBA doesn't really add much. MBA admissions are much less predictable than law school admissions, so while a person may be a "lock" for a subset of law schools, there is not way of predicting MBA admissions. In this scenario, would it make sense for someone looking to go back into business to get a JD from Harvard or Stanford rather than an MBA from a school like Booth or Columbia or Northwestern?

I know that in almost every situation the Chicago/Columbia MBA wins out if the person wants to work in finance, but certain industries, especially private equity and hedge funds recruit essentially exclusively out of Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. These guys simply don't look at people that aren't coming out of those schools. My impression is that they don't particularly care what you learn in business school, just that you went somewhere (very) prestigious. Obvious cons to this would be an additional year of school (meaning $80k + opportunity cost) and having to explain to people why you went this route. Anyone know of anyone that's tried something like this?


You really think it's easier to get a job in PE/HF from YHS law than top non-HSW business schools? Tons of grads from both Chicago and Columbia (and MIT, etc.) MBA programs head to those jobs every year, and many worked at the most prestigious buyside firms before business school. As someone else said, why not look into a joint program? If you can get into the standalone programs at Chicago or Columbia, I find it highly unlikely that Wharton would turn you down if you apply as a 1L.

And if your whole goal is to get into a buyside firm, the best way is to network with people in the industry and also get your CFA. The CFA program is a lot cheaper and much less of a time commitment, and frankly if you have good experience it can open a ton of doors. MBA is icing on the cake, and a top JD may look nice but it doesn't really confer the skills that an asset manager will be looking to hire you for. Plus, a lot of the value of the MBA is the people you meet and the opportunities that you have to network (and build important social skills) during your two years.

AllTheLawz

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Re: Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

Postby AllTheLawz » Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:29 pm

During my 3 years at HLS I never once heard of a single JD-only student getting a major PE/HF job and I hung out with the crowd interested in business roles. A handful of JD-only students got consulting and banking (though usually not strictly true investment banking roles) positions each year and thats pretty much it.

Only way it makes sense is if you have an offer to return to your original firm in a post-advanced degree role (common with MBB consulting types).

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jingosaur

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Re: Does it ever make sense to get a JD instead of an MBA?

Postby jingosaur » Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:33 pm

I actually talked to an M&A partner at a top Vault firm about this a couple of weeks ago. The feedback that I got was that if you go to a law school with the intention of working in PE or Hedge Funds in any capacity, you really have no choice other than to start out doing this on the legal side at a BigLaw firm. A lot of people will go in-house after a few years, but it's very very rare nowadays (like almost never happens) for anybody to move to the business side even after going in-house. Your best chance of doing it is starting your own PE/VC/hedge fund with people you've met throughout your career after a decade or two of working on the law side but very closely to people on the business side.
It's a little bit easier to go to the business side of investment banking, but only after a few years on the legal side and only with a very strong knowledge of finance that comes from actual work experience in finance.

Bottom line is don't go to any law school unless you are expecting at the very best to start out working at a law firm and doing legal work for financial firms. It's true that a lot of lawyers will eventually find their way over to the business side at some point, but only after years and years of successfully practicing the law.



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