Hey guys! I know it’s been a minute, but life has been pretty busy for me, but I will try to do better. Today, marks 1 year since I graduated from Howard University with my J.D./M.B.A. Boy, does time fly by! 😀 This post was inspired by a discussion I had with one of my readers (Hi, Jennifer!) about my experience pursuing both degrees.
Did You Go to School Knowing You Wanted to Pursue Your J.D./M.B.A.?
No, I did not go to law school knowing that I wanted to attain my MBA. The idea came about during my second year of law school when I realized that it would be advantageous for me to pursue my M.B.A. while I was already in school. I took the GMAT right after finals and got accepted to the business school shortly thereafter.
What Made You Want to Get Your J.D./M.B.A.?
Although I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, I also have an entrepreneurial spirit – I have always seen myself owning my own business. Although it’s not required to have formal education in business in order to run a business, I figured I could use my education to not only help my own future business(s), but I could also use what I learn to advise others someday. I got my Bachelors in Sociology, so I figured having a good foundation of business knowledge would be beneficial to me in my endeavors.
How Long Did It Take to Get Your J.D./M.B.A.?
4 years. Here’s the Breakdown:
Year 1: Law School
Year 2: Law School
Year 3: Business School
Year 4: Mostly Business School and a Few Law School Classes
How Did you Manage The Two Very Different Course Loads?
Although I was pretty organized during my first two years of school, business school required an even higher level of organization and time management skills. This was due to the amount of assignments we were given in business school. In law school, you might go the entire semester and only have to worry about your final exam, which gives you a lot of flexibility in your schedule. In business school, we had homework, quizzes, tests, papers, finals, and group projects (*shudders*), so I didn’t have as much flexibility. My biggest life-saver was my small planner that I carried around with me EVERYWHERE to keep track of assignments. I would have it out during every class so I could ensure that I never missed anything and could check assignments off of my list once they were completed.
Weren’t You Concerned About Taking on More Student Loan Debt?
Of course! Which is why I worked really hard to get scholarships to offset the costs of going to school for an additional year. I didn’t pay much tuition my first year and I didn’t pay any tuition my last year of school, so the scholarships helped a lot. I still have a crapload of student loan debt, but not much more than I would have had if I only went to school for 3 years.
What Were the Job Prospects Like For Summer Internships?
I definitely had more job prospects once I began at the business school. The only problem was finding the right internship. I dabbled with having a business internship after my third year of school, but decided to do a legal internship, since I didn’t plan to do business after graduating. Howard’s Business School is well connected with many pipeline programs at major corporations and consulting firms. Depending on what your long-term plan is, this can be extremely beneficial to you. Although I decided to go the strictly-legal route, I do believe that having done a business internship my last summer may have been beneficial in making me a more well-rounded lawyer.
You’re Going to School for Another Year?! I’m so Ready to Graduate!
I got this a lot from many of my colleagues, and I totally get it. If you really want to get your M.B.A., you will push through and make it happen. For me, I knew that starting my career and going back to school was not an option because I knew once I graduated, I would be done with school for good. I just wanted to get it all out of the way and never have to think about taking another test (aside from the bar), write another annoying paper, or have to deal with school bureaucracy ever again! If I counted every lawyer that I’ve encountered that has said “I wish I would have gotten my M.B.A.,” I would be counting on all my fingers and toes! I can also say the same for many M.B.A.’s who wished they had gotten their law degree. So if you’re considering it, just go for it!
If you Had to Choose, Would you Choose Law or Business?
My lazy answer: I wouldn’t choose because I want to do both! In all honesty though, I’d choose law over business. Although I do plan to incorporate both law and business into my dream job, my one true love is the law and I am completely okay with focusing on the law for now. From what I have heard, it’s easy to go from primarily law to primarily business, but it is not as easy to go from business to law. I guess I can understand this, as lawyers have to stay on top of the law and constantly hone in on the skills that are pertinent to being an effective attorney.
Do You Think You Have a Competitive Advantage by Having Both Degrees?
I’d like to think so, but as a brand spanking new attorney, I’m not quite sure how much advantage I have just yet. I’m not sure how true this is, but I’ve heard that employers may pay me more for having an additional graduate degree. I also have knowledge about business that other attorneys only learn from working on the job for a while. Some say that having both degrees “allows you to do almost anything you want in your career.” I can totally see that! Once I am back on the job market and I see how much leverage I have with my M.B.A., I will report back and update this post 🙂
These are the questions I get most often from people once they learned that I pursued my J.D./M.B.A. If you are considering attaining your J.D./M.B.A., I’d say go for it! It’s definitely not for everyone and I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with having one graduate degree. I know plenty of very successful lawyers who don’t have their M.B.A. and vice versa. It’s all about what is best for you! I also believe in not living with regrets. So if you’re thinking about it or have any additional questions, feel free to ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!
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