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POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ?

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Better career earnings - MBA or JD ?

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POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ? [#permalink] New post 03 Apr 2010, 20:29
With the assumption that the US job market will turn positive (some day), what degree has better career earnings, the MBA or the JD ?

In addition - Which degree is more broad-based and useful for multiple career fields across different industries and even globally ?
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Re: POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ? [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2010, 12:44
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You're asking a biased group but I'd still def say MBA. If you want to hear a different view then poll on www.top-law-schools.com
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Re: POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2010, 06:48
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It's really hard to compare because there are different career paths for each degree. An MBA who goes into private equity would almost certainly make more than a JD who works for the public defender's office. A JD who goes to work for a top-tier law firm would almost certainly make more than an MBA who goes into non-profit management.

Bottom line: if you're just looking to make money, there are plenty of opportunities to make a lot with either degree. But if you're just doing it for money, it's going to be hard to stay happy over the course of a 35-40 year career.

As for which degree is broader and more global, I'd say the MBA. General business principles and techniques are pretty much the same around the world (NPV in the US is the same as NPV in India), whereas laws are very specific to the location you are in.
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Re: POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2010, 10:47
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I definitely think MBA's have more potential for better pay. JD's mostly get the big bucks only if they into Big Law (or corp law in some cases) and move high up. Law firms are competitive, not collaborative, and burn out is just as high or higher than MC and IB, these both contribute to the fact that many people's careers will "fizzle out". I think it's easier for an "average" top tier MBA to reach and maintain a 200k salary across multiple industries/functions than it is for a JD, most of whom will only make that in Big Law firms (or a celebrity divorce lawyer :twisted: ). Additionally, even at top law schools, only a small percent of the class is going to be extended offers from these lucrative firms, at business school, the vast majority go into positions that will set them up to at least reach the 200k mark (all in) at the height of their careers (if they so choose, some people will opt out). Lastly, there are just more opportunities for MBA's, after 10 years in a law firm, you have fewer marketable skills than that of an MBA 10 years into their career, which make changing careers and maintaining a high standard of living very hard to achieve.
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Re: POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2010, 11:09
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Way too many variables at play. This is really not even worth comparing. Do whatever you like and that you'll be best at.
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Re: POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2010, 16:59
Partner at a law firm makes a lot of money but nothing compared to a MD at a big investment bank. However, if a lawyer and mba never advance far I would bet the lawyer will make more. If you are completely motivated by money then MBA would be the big earner since you would most likely choose to go into IB or something along those lines which are incredibly lucrative.
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Re: POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2010, 06:03
Problem here is that I would expect nearly half of all JDs never practice law, and a solid percentage never even sit the bar. The existence of the JD as a way to defer actually getting a job and entering the real world for American undergraduates is extremely disheartening to me.
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Re: POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2010, 07:53
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I wouldn't really recommend going into any career just for "the money" but I'd especially recommend against it for law school. I see more bitter lawyers than I ever see in any other type of job.

Aside from the fact that it's a longer degree and you have licensing issues that make changing jobs exceedingly difficult, the only law jobs that would be comparable to the really high earning MBA jobs would be at top law firms like Skadden and even then, the top i-bankers are going to outearn you in a few years. Beyond that, the culture of law school is completely different than the small glimpses I've had into MBA life. Everyone is much much younger than in b-school so you get a lot of high school spillover effect (sad) and to top it off, it's a very solitary, not collaborative, course of study. There were times when I could go for a couple of days without talking to people and we were second only to the vet school in collecting on our (extremely generous) mental health benefits. This is not to say that I went to some backstabbing school-people would share their notes but everyone's half-hearted attempts at study groups in 1L mostly dissolved into 98% of the class getting their shit done by themselves. Finally, the practice of law is radically different from the sort of super academically rigorous/intellectual environment they marinate you in for 3 years, so I think a lot of people get pissed off by feeling like a sort of cog in the wheel after 3 years of case studies and intellectual exploration.

What I did love it for was the intellectual geekiness, the feeling of learning a whole new mindset and style of thinking and writing and the almost completed-a-marathon-like pride of having finished. Plus, I don't mind my job, it's just that I don't have a real passion for it.
Re: POLL: better career earnings - MBA or JD ?   [#permalink] 06 Apr 2010, 07:53
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