MBA while in BigLaw

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Anonymous User
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MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:06 am

I will be working in M&A/corporate at a Biglaw firm in a non-NY market post law school. I'm considering getting an MBA part time while working. The program I'm considering is part time and would allow me to take as little as one class per semester. Am I underestimating how busy I will be and crazy for considering for this?

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Devlin
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Devlin » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:48 am

Do you need or want the MBA? Do you plan on leaving law one day and may need your MBA for another position?

BeachedBrit
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby BeachedBrit » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:46 am

The only parts of an MBA that have any unique value (aka things you couldn't just learn from open online classes, buying a textbook/casebook, etc.) are 1) signaling effect that you are smart and a fairly hard worker (but you already have this from biglaw on your resume, 2) public speaking practice/experience (which you can get outside of the MBA program either through work or, worst case, something like Toastmasters), 3) a built-in, broad and relatively easy to develop network (which you don't really get with a part-time MBA anyway), and 4) semi-structured interviews at top-MBA programs (which, unless you're planning to leave the firm, don't seem to apply here).

Contrast that with the cost, time, and that some people in your firm, if they find out, may view it negatively. I don't know your market, your firm or your practice so hard to say, but if I were a partner I would wonder why you were spending money and time on that if you weren't planning to leave for something where it would be of greater value/basically required (rather than gunning for partner). I'm not saying this should be the reason not to do it, just be prepared to have a legit solid reason for people that ask, if you're not in a firm where everyone is expected to burn-out and leave after 3-5 years and exit options are sold from day 1.

I know this isn't really the question you asked, but just wanted to offer some food for thought and allow you to consider your reasons for wanting the MBA. Especially if your goal is just to learn more finance/transactional stuff, there's a ton of information out there for free online and in a number of great books and texts.

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:48 pm

OP here.

BeachedBrit: Thanks for the thoughts. I think you make valid points to be considered.

Devlin: Do I plan on leaving Biglaw one day? I don't know. I'm walking in with the mindset of making partner and being the best lawyer I can be, but making partner is never guaranteed. If I do exit, then I would like to end up in something finance related (IB, PE, VC, etc.) That industry being hard to break into, the MBA acts as both a branding tool and as a knowledge background for that path. If I stay in Biglaw, the MBA still acts as a branding tool for client relations and also as a knowledge background for better understanding business goals of clients.
Essentially, I don't see having an MBA as something that can hurt me either way.

But that is neither here nor there. The question is not "why.' The question is, "is it feasible?" The "why" may impact the wisdom of getting the MBA while working, but it doesn't affect the feasibility aspect.

Cogburn87
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Cogburn87 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:56 pm

No, the question is definitely "why?"

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:11 pm

Cogburn87 wrote:No, the question is definitely "why?"


OP. "Why" is certainly a question, but it's not the one I asked.

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FSK
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby FSK » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Cogburn87 wrote:No, the question is definitely "why?"


OP. "Why" is certainly a question, but it's not the one I asked.



crazy for considering for this?


That's where they "why" question came from.

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Devlin
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Devlin » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Cogburn87 wrote:No, the question is definitely "why?"


OP. "Why" is certainly a question, but it's not the one I asked.

Well then it is certainly feasible. You may likely have no free time while your doing it but it is definitely doable if you have the will power.

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jbiresq
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby jbiresq » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I will be working in M&A/corporate at a Biglaw firm in a non-NY market post law school. I'm considering getting an MBA part time while working. The program I'm considering is part time and would allow me to take as little as one class per semester. Am I underestimating how busy I will be and crazy for considering for this?


To answer your question I talked to a guy who did this exact thing while working at V10. To be honest it sounded like a massive pain in the ass. Generally part-time MBA profs are very flexible and give you a lot of leeway if work shit comes up. Even so, he had to take a final a year late because he was working on a few deals. You will also get no sympathy from coworkers/partners if you have class stuff to do because getting the MBA is not really a value add for them. You'd also have to pay out of pocket/take loans which is expensive.

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jbagelboy
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:06 pm

I can't think of any specific position more objectively desirable than the one you have now that any part time MBA could qualify you for or help you attain that you couldn't transition into without it.

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20160810
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby 20160810 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:19 pm

This makes no sense. Get the MBA in 3 years if you hate your job. Trying to get it now will guarantee you hate your job.

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:26 pm

Devlin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Cogburn87 wrote:No, the question is definitely "why?"


OP. "Why" is certainly a question, but it's not the one I asked.

Well then it is certainly feasible. You may likely have no free time while your doing it but it is definitely doable if you have the will power.


jbiresq wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I will be working in M&A/corporate at a Biglaw firm in a non-NY market post law school. I'm considering getting an MBA part time while working. The program I'm considering is part time and would allow me to take as little as one class per semester. Am I underestimating how busy I will be and crazy for considering for this?


To answer your question I talked to a guy who did this exact thing while working at V10. To be honest it sounded like a massive pain in the ass. Generally part-time MBA profs are very flexible and give you a lot of leeway if work shit comes up. Even so, he had to take a final a year late because he was working on a few deals. You will also get no sympathy from coworkers/partners if you have class stuff to do because getting the MBA is not really a value add for them. You'd also have to pay out of pocket/take loans which is expensive.



OP. Understood. Is it school? Yes. Can school be a pain in the ass? Yep. But, in this context (one class at a time and paying by credit hour), perhaps it could be somewhat analogized to an expensive outside hobby (albeit not one that many would find enjoyable). IF I decided to get the MBA, would it be something that needed to be disclosed to the firm?

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fats provolone
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby fats provolone » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:28 pm

ljl at secretly getting an MBA as a "hobby"

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:28 pm

SBL wrote:This makes no sense. Get the MBA in 3 years if you hate your job. Trying to get it now will guarantee you hate your job.


OP. The flip side is that, if I hate my job in 3 years, I'm already closer to completing the MBA. That cuts down on time and opportunity cost. Also, that assumes I want to exit. I still think there's personal value even if I don't want to exit.

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:34 pm

As posters above have echoed, if you want to be a lawyer then it doesn't really make sense why you want to get an MBA. Not only are you likely underestimating how all-consuming your biglaw job will be/how miserable it will make you WITHOUT having to worry about an MBA class on the side, but the reasons you've articulated for wanting the MBA don't really add up.

If what you're really trying to do is work on the business side at some point in your career (or work in finance in a non-legal capacity), then the MBA might make sense. Regardless, if you're hoping to leverage corporate law experience to get into finance (again in a non-legal capacity) then you're taking an extremely roundabout path to get there.

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BuckinghamB
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby BuckinghamB » Fri Dec 05, 2014 3:54 pm

Sounds like you've already made up your mind

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jbiresq
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby jbiresq » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SBL wrote:This makes no sense. Get the MBA in 3 years if you hate your job. Trying to get it now will guarantee you hate your job.


OP. The flip side is that, if I hate my job in 3 years, I'm already closer to completing the MBA. That cuts down on time and opportunity cost. Also, that assumes I want to exit. I still think there's personal value even if I don't want to exit.


Even the person I talked to only started after he was a couple of years in. Doing it while you're just starting in BigLawa and have literally no idea what you're doing sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Looking at it as a hobby is really silly. If that's the case buy some business books, watch some lectures. Have you ever taken an MBA class? Everyone I have taken has had regular class assignments/cases, group meetings, etc. People who are at JP Morgan or wherever get sympathy from their employers and leeway to do these kinds of things (and have less time for work as a result) because the employers believe it has some value to the business and often these companies are reimbursing tuition. Your bosses in BigLaw will have none of that. You might as well be telling them you can't accept an assignment because you have a guitar lesson.

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:05 pm

It sounds like the question you seem to want answered is basically completely unrelated to getting an MBA specifically. You might as well ask "I want to take salsa dancing classes after work; feasible?" The answer is that your work schedule will end up making you miss class at least sometimes and possibly a lot. But you already knew that. So yeah, it's feasible if you want to do a half-assed job. It's also an odd and probably bad idea for the reasons others have said, but you seem not to want to hear that part.

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:13 pm

A buddy of mine was fired from a V10 recently. Partners explained that he wasn't dedicated enough because he was working on his PhD part time. He was a good friend of mine and I knew that he was only spending a few hours each weekend on it. But because everyone knew that he was working on his PhD, people assumed that he was making it a priority and was not focused on law. Some practices want you committed 110% to he firm. You'll have to gauge it out once you start.

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20160810
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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby 20160810 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:
SBL wrote:This makes no sense. Get the MBA in 3 years if you hate your job. Trying to get it now will guarantee you hate your job.


OP. The flip side is that, if I hate my job in 3 years, I'm already closer to completing the MBA. That cuts down on time and opportunity cost. Also, that assumes I want to exit. I still think there's personal value even if I don't want to exit.

You're trying to have it both ways dooder. Let's say you get staffed on a big deal (or something). Now let's say your life is absolute hell with utterly unpredictable hours and arbitrary, need-it-now deadlines. This is a pretty likely scenario. What do you think your grades in that MBA program are going to be like?

Rather than doing a night school MBA and getting shitty grades or being forced to drop out because biglaw is - to say the least - a full time job, just wait, and if you decide you want to go down that road, give the MBA 100% of your attention.

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:00 pm

I got my JD in a night program while working full time at a job that was just as demanding as biglaw. Luckily my direct boss was very supportive, so he could staff other folks on big time-crunch projects while I studied for exams. That said, I don’t think I slept more than 5 hours a night for the entire 4 years, and I had zero social life, and my only friends were folks I would see at work or school.

I initially considered the same thing as you. My thought process at that time went something like this: (1) it was a huge sacrifice, but when I got my JD at night, I was able to make good money and also work towards a career where I could potentially make more money, without foregoing the years of salary and (2) I could sacrifice again, make my biglaw salary, and set myself up for some even higher paying finance job.

Then I looked into night MBA programs, and they’re really not a good deal. Unlike the GULC night program, the MBA programs I looked at weren’t geared towards getting you a new job. In fact, I don’t think any I looked at even let you do the MBA version of OCI—you were entirely on your own for landing work. They seemed to be geared for guys that found themselves in finance without any finance background, so you could keep your day job at the bank while learning what you would have learned if you did an undergrad in finance, with the plan that you would stay with the same employer after graduation.

Based on that research, I decided it wasn’t worth it, and I don’t think a part time MBA would be worth your time either. I think I’d have just as good a chance to move to finance with or without a night MBA from NYU, and I’ll have way more money and free time.

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Re: MBA while in BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:08 pm

jbagelboy wrote:I can't think of any specific position more objectively desirable than the one you have now that any part time MBA could qualify you for or help you attain that you couldn't transition into without it.


This is exactly right. If you want to learn finance, take some online openyale or edX classes, or buy some used finance text books on Amazon. Your M&A experience will open all the same doors as some night MBA, plus several doors the night MBA won't open, and you'll have more free time and money in your bank.




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