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Business school right after law school

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Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2010, 20:09
Hello all,

I am new to this forum and would like to hear your insight on what you about attending business school directly after law school. First, let me share my background with you. I graduated from college in 2008, with a degree in business administration (finance concentration). During college I started my own business and ran the company for a little over a year. It was during the subprime lending boom and the company provided marketing services for mortgage brokers. Following college I worked for an internet start-up as the director of marketing and continued to work in this position through my first year of law school. I was able to manage this because I was in the evening program during my 1L.

Currently I am starting my second year at Fordham Law and I am considering applying to business school afterwards. The reason I want to go this route is because I have always been interested in business and feel that an MBA will give me a better chance of breaking through into private equity/venture capital.

I know many of you are thinking why I didn’t get my MBA right away. A non-exhaustive list of reasons are – I wanted to explore other fields; a career in law seems like a good back-up if all else fails; the subject matter is analytically rigorous; the general training obtained in law school is conducive to any career I choose to pursue; etc.

What I would like to find out is what you think my chances of getting into a top business school are? I haven’t taken the GMAT, but I will likely start studying this year and will work as long as it takes for me to score high enough. I studied for the LSAT for about 9 months and was able to improve from the 20% percentile to the 92% percentile, so I am hoping that the same strategy will work for the GMAT.

From my understanding, top business schools differ on work experience requirements. Do you think that I will stand a chance straight out of law school? Or do you think that I should work a few more years before applying?

Any feed back would be appreciated.
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Re: Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2010, 10:27
Work for a couple more years.

Here's the facts: you graduated college with a biz/finance degree in 2008. Then you went to law school. And now you want to go back for yet another business degree. While in school, you started a business for a year, and you worked for a startup while in law school.

At this point, chances are very slim.

Work for a couple more years, then consider b-school.
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Re: Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2010, 11:06
Can you please elaborate? Does it look bad that I went to law school after graduating with a business degree?
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Re: Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2010, 15:40
You're in law school presumably so that you can become a lawyer.

So by applying to b-school while you're still in law school, it suggests that you have no intention of practicing law. So it begs the question: why are you in law school?

And if it's really as a "back up plan" - then it also begs the question: why are you spending 3 years on a backup plan rather than focusing your efforts on going after your main plan? And to add to it, you have a business undergrad degree on top of that. And very limited work experience. No adcom is going to buy whatever story you'll try to spin.

Again, if you're really interested in a career in business, you have to seriously ask yourself why you're in law school at this point.

It's sort of like expecting to attract the girl you really want while still being in a relationship with your current girlfriend you're not really interested in anyways, but willing to settle for.

You really have two choices at this point:

(1) Finish up law school, and get a job (either pass the bar and practice law, or do something else).

(2) Drop out of law school now, and find a job -- you have a business undergrad degree, you're probably a pretty smart guy, so you're still in the running for a lot of entry-level type jobs out there in the business/corporate world (be it consulting, marketing, finance, etc.) - it may not be McKinsey or Goldman, but with patience and hustle you'll find a good job. If you really don't like the law, then losing one year to gain two is certainly better than losing all three years.

Either way, it won't involve getting an MBA for a while. And yes, I understand that either choice isn't going to be easy, but it's certainly more feasible and sensible than going for yet another degree at this point when you've sort of started your current program.

Or even if you did get an MBA, what makes you think that you'll all of a sudden be more employable with your resume (a biz undergrad degree, a law degree and an MBA and next to no work experience?). What makes you think you'll be competing for the same kinds of jobs as your more experienced MBA classmates with 3-6 years of solid pre-MBA experience? If anything, you'll likely be going after the same jobs as you would now with a biz undergrad degree. Piling on one degree credential after another isn't going to make you more employable - it can in fact backfire and make you seem less prepared for the real world.

This may be tough medicine to swallow, but you're going to have to face the music sooner or later (pardon the string of cliches).
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Re: Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2010, 16:01
One more thing.

You're not the first person in this position -- over the years, there's enough folks out there like you who are in similar circumstances as you, and think in a similar way as you do. It may be another graduate program they're currently in, or they're currently college juniors/seniors who have convinced themselves that they need the MBA now rather than later.

And almost always, it comes down to one thing (whether spoken or unspoken): the unwillingness, for whatever reason, to face the job market now. It could be fear, it could be a sense of entitlement (feeling that the entry level jobs are beneath them), or it could be lack of confidence that they can get any job.

It's hard to sound glib by saying "get a job" -- and when that is the refrain they hear, the knee jerk reaction usually is "well, it's hard" or "they're not the jobs I want".

Of course it's hard. Especially in this economy. But there's no way around it. Just know that there's plenty of other people who have felt the same way you do -- feeling that you can't get the job you want (or any job) without getting an MBA.
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Re: Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2010, 12:44
Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it. One other thing. What advice (if any) can you give me for entering finance or consulting with a JD degree?

I've considered dopping out and searching for a job instead of finishing law school, but that approach seems very risky considering that I won't have the fallback of practicing law if I hate working in finance or consulting.

Also, from my understanding, JD's tend to pursue careers in these fields, albeit not in large numbers. So wouldn't I be more marketable with a JD and hence be able to obtain a higher salary than I would with just an undergraduate degree?
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Re: Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2010, 14:42
It couldn't hurt to study for the GMAT, then just take it from there.
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Re: Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 27 Jul 2010, 17:42
Corpraider86 wrote:
Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it. One other thing. What advice (if any) can you give me for entering finance or consulting with a JD degree?

I've considered dopping out and searching for a job instead of finishing law school, but that approach seems very risky considering that I won't have the fallback of practicing law if I hate working in finance or consulting.

Also, from my understanding, JD's tend to pursue careers in these fields, albeit not in large numbers. So wouldn't I be more marketable with a JD and hence be able to obtain a higher salary than I would with just an undergraduate degree?


Keep in mind that entry level positions have pretty standardized pay packages within most organizations -- the pay is determined by the job title. So if you're hired as a financial analyst for a company, you're going to be paid according to what that company sets the salary package to be for that job within that company - every person that gets hired for that job will get more or less the same pay package. The only difference could be that one person gets hired at a more senior position than another (so the pay is different) -- but in your case, why would anyone hire you to be in a higher position compared to a fresh-faced college grad just because you have one more degree?

Employers (in any industry) structure their compensation based on *relevant experience* more than anything else, not credentials, because more often than not, the more relevant experience you have, the more you can contribute to the bottom line right away. That's why entry level positions in just about any industry are so low compared to their mid to upper level counterparts. The more experience the job requires, the more the pay (generally speaking).

A JD on its own is pretty useless. All a JD does is put you in a position to pass the state bar -- and then, once you get *experience* as a lawyer, you become more marketable.

And if you are worried about hating finance/consulting, what makes you assume that your "fallback" option of law is going to be that much less miserable?

You have a lot to contemplate and ruminate on.
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Re: Business school right after law school [#permalink] New post 07 Sep 2010, 15:30
I'm in a similar position. I graduated law school in 2009 and passed the bar, and now I simply have zero job prospects as a lawyer. I've been practicing on my own, but the legal job market is beyond grim. It's not a question of not getting the type of job I want, it's that any job for lawyers is going to have dozens of applicants with 3+ years of experience, especially here in Ohio. One job for $35k had 100 applicants.

I'm genuinely not sure what to do. If I could find a job, I wouldn't need to go to school. I'm taking accounting classes at a local community college while I practice essentially part time, so maybe I'll be more marketable for standard business jobs, but being a lawyer right now is pretty much being unemployable.
Re: Business school right after law school   [#permalink] 07 Sep 2010, 15:30
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