Should I JD/MBA?

By Neetal Parekh on December 20, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you are thinking of pursuing law, you may also think--heck, why not get a business degree while you're at it.  Without oversimplifying the issue, making the most of going back to school by pursuing multiple degrees at one time is often a major consideration for JD/MBA joint degree hopefuls. There are a number of programs that enable students to earn both degrees in three years.

So, is it the joint degree right for you?

Here are a few questions to help you decide... 

1. Do you want to practice law or be in business? Law and business are related, but they aren't the same.  Many holders of the popular joint degree combo say that ultimately you end up doing one or the other.  As you debate whether to go with 2 grad degrees instead of one, do a little cost-benefit analysis, and be sure to put the degree leading to what you are ultimately interested in doing, first.  It will help you as you tackle the decision-making process of how to apply and which program to apply to first.

2. Will you be able to do both at the school you want? Depending on how admissions are structured, a very real consideration is whether you can do the dual degree at the school you want. Depending on your test scores, work experience, and prior GPA you might be able to get into a more competitive school for either one independently.  But sometimes universities try to help students that already enrolled in one of their programs complete the dual degree.  A call to the admission staffs might help demystify the process.

3. Any other combo? Before you stock up on extra letters with a JD/MBA, take a quick scan at other joint degrees.  Though the JD/MBA is the popular kid on the block when it comes to degrees combos with law, there might be other pairings that better align with your ultimate interests.  Other joint degrees include Law and Public Policy, or Law and Public Health.  For those who are so artistically inclined, a joint degree of Law and MFA might be an option. Or those with a bend towards education, a JD and a Master in Education might make the grade.

Pursuing a JD degree combo is a formidable challenge and has the potential to lend exposure to multiple disciplines...and all at a savings of cost and time.  However, it is not for the faint of heart.  Sift through the decision carefully to make sure you have taken stock of all of the options...and have considered not only the coin toss but also the end game, in deciding how a joint degree can work for you.

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