Published January 31, 2019
The JD/MBA is one of the most popular JD dual-degree programs, and that is not a coincidence. The benefits and skills one can gain from this degree combination can bridge the gap between two different but related disciplines. In this post, I explore three compelling reasons to consider a JD/MBA.
Society and business operate within legal and regulatory constraints. As a person who holds both a JD and MBA, you have the ability to maneuver (legally) within those constraints with your JD and also use your MBA to identify opportunities for growth and enterprise within those constraints. Lawyers have the skills to understand current problems in the context of precedent, this allows them to take more measured decisions based on what has happened in the past. MBA’s have the ability to take action and implement new ideas quickly. These two sets of skills within one person benefit the work environment, whether it is legal or business.
The advancement opportunities in both fields, law and business, require knowledge of both disciplines. To advance as a partner in a law firm, one must not only please clients with their legal abilities, but must also seek out and secure new business opportunities. To advance in upper management in the business world, one must be good at business as well as having an understanding of the legal constraints of their role so as to not break the law and get their company in legal trouble. Harvard Business Review recently did an article about how CEO’s with JD backgrounds successfully keep their companies out of lengthy litigation compared to CEO’s without JD’s. Litigation is time consuming and very expensive, so having the knowledge and foresight to avoid it is probably in the best interest of the company.
Overall, the skills you gain in both programs are different but bridge the gap between law, economics, and society.
What’s better than one career option? Two! With a JD/MBA, you have the flexibility to choose the type of work you want to do. You can apply your business savvy to a law firm environment or your legal expertise to a corporate business setting. Both paths utilize the skills you have gained in both programs just in different ways. Also, having gone to both law and business school, your professional network will be twice as large, giving you many opportunities to network and generate more business for yourself.
The bottom line is that most JD/MBA programs will save you time and money as opposed to doing each program separately. Depending on the program, they can take either three or four years instead of five years. The condensed coursework will save you at least a year’s time and tuition. The University at Buffalo offers a JD/MBA between the School of Law and the School of Management that emphasizes the interdisciplinary approach to each discipline. For an idea of how the four years are laid out, check out the JD/MBA website. Keep in mind that at UB, you can start in either program.
If a career in law and business peaks your interest, consider a JD/MBA for the overall skills, flexibility, and time/money saved to jump start you career.