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Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA?

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Joined: 29 Nov 2011
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Schools: Ross '14
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Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA? [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2011, 16:54
Would love some direction as to whether or not it is worth it for me to prep/take the GMAT since I realize it will be quite the time/$$ commitment. A lot of friends/family/law school admissions officers have told me that I may benefit from a JD/MBA given my background and future plans (dream job: work with regulation of microfinance orgs). Do I even have a shot at a top MBA program (Ross/Mich especially) with only approximately 1.5 years of full time work experience?

1) Basic demographic info: 23, Male, US Citizen

2) Educational Background: UG Major: international business & finance, GPA: 3.5 w/ upward trend (~3.8 major GPAs), finance work during UG for my university.

3) Work experience: Worked at a private equity firm after graduation for 6 months, didn't like it. Took the LSAT to go law school and "change the world" (scored 170+, ~99th percentile and feel like I can do well on the GMAT if I put in enough work since I'm a "quant" guy by default and the verbal stuff is still fresh from lsat prep). Currently working as a legal assistant because I felt it was important to assess whether or not I want to actually be an attorney before going to law school (I'm enjoying the work). Promoted after a month and a half of employment and participated in hiring a new assistant (been a legal assistant for about 8 months now).

4) Extracurriculars: various leadership positions in UG clubs/greek orgs/collegiate sports, actively participating in volunteer activities aligning with my interests for the last 5 or 6 years.

5) Short/Long term goals: Short term: Possible JD/MBA at Ross or other top 10 MBA/JD program. Long term: Save the world... haha kidding, sort of. I'd like to do something related to my aforementioned dream job re microfinance.

6) Schools: Which schools have you considered already? Ross since I've been accepted to UMich law. I would consider UPenn, Northwestern, Berkeley, Cornell and possibly UCLA since I have a decent shot at those law schools (I haven't heard back yet)--although I know I'd have to reapply next year for UPenn/Northwestern since, if I recall correctly, I can't apply after I matriculate. (I know I'm not getting into NYU/Columbia/HYS law so those are out.)

Any input/insights would be greatly appreciated. I tried to be as thorough as I can with these descriptions so apologies if I gave irrelevant information. I'm feeling very confused as to whether or not to give the GMAT the ole' college try. Thoughts?
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Affiliations: Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Delta
Joined: 10 Feb 2011
Posts: 65
Location: United States (CA)
Concentration: Marketing, General Management
GMAT 1: 770 Q49 V47
GPA: 3.9
WE: Other (Venture Capital)
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Re: Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA? [#permalink] New post 29 Nov 2011, 20:05
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Why not just go to law school? There are plenty of people with JDs who end up in the business world. I work in Venture Capital and we've had a couple of partners at our firm who were originally lawyers and have encountered a number of other lawyers who are working as VCs now. I don't think your work experience is really enough to get into a top program now. Working at a law firm isn't business experience, so you'll really just get credit for the six months in PE. If you're set on a JD/MBA, you'll put your best application forward if you get a couple more years of work experience and can articulate very persuasively why you specifically need both the JD and the MBA.
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Re: Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2011, 09:45
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Based on your description and fantastic LSAT score, I think you will do very well on the GMAT (there is still a chance to screw it up but I think we can check mark it for the sake of discussion). Ross is a great and very competitive program; it may be tough to get in with just a few years of legal clerk experience but not impossible.

One weakness of a dual degree I can see is that your lack of work experience (not for admission sake but for your sake of looking for a job). It is tough finding a job (even with a Ross MBA) if you have not proven yourself in the business world - one reason it is not recommended to get an MBA without a few years of work experience. Your main chance to get the experience and exposure to employers is the internship in the summer and I am not sure how it will work with JD/MBA schedule. MBA is a good thing to have on your resume but due to lack of experience, you will have to start a bit lower on the ladder and work your way up. You have to pay your dues and you do that before or after (most of the time, not always)

The only negative I can see with dual degrees is that they are somewhat of a weaker proposition than just a dedicated degree (usually you don't get in as deep and with the interruption in the LAW school, you have to catch up after the break for bschool). The U of Michigan JD/MBA program is actually the better of what I have seen. You would get 3 semesters in business school and 5 semesters in Law School. So, you are technically only skipping a semester of BSchool and a semester of Law School.

You will also get out of sync with the friends you make in law school since you will go to bschool the second year. On other hand, in bschool you will be a bit out of sync since everyone will be doing internships and looking for jobs whereas you will have another 2.5 years to go until you complete the degree and can be employable or take the bar.

I think the bottom line is - you will do great with a LAW or JD/MBA or MBA degree from Ross or any of the schools you have mentioned - there is no doubt about that. So, the worst case scenario is you spend a year or two extra at school and have an extra $75K in student loans.

My suggestion would be - think of jobs you would like to have and do and then research what experience/background/education some of the key people in that field have. If not, and the extra $70K and 1-2 years does not scare you (and you feel confident you are capable of interviewing well and getting a job locked in), then in the grand scheme of things and in retrospect - $70K is not that much.
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Re: Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2011, 08:18
Thanks, blg529. It makes sense that only the PE work experience would actually count. It's a little discouraging but very helpful at the same time. It's also helpful to know that a MBA isn't necessarily a prerequisite for success in the business/finance world.

I honestly just want to concentrate on my JD but, as I mentioned, I have a "nack" for the quantitative side of things and do enjoy finance ("I wake up and go to sleep with CNBC/BloombergTV on"-level of enjoyment). A couple professionals I'm familiar with and some friends and family have suggested the JD/MBA route if I want to seriously pursue microfinance instead of just working in "BigLaw" so I'm just trying to get feelers from people who are knowledgeable of the subject (i.e. the nice people of this message board) rather than just the laymen's opinion. It's definitely important to me to get a realistic view of what my chances are before I invest my time/energy/$$ into a test when my work experience, or lack thereof, would disqualify me.

Any other thoughts? (Not really trying to fish for alternative views to blg529 but would like to hear other people's inputs as well.)

Would it be too forward to call Ross' admissions directly and propose my scenario--I'm thinking they probably can't give me any helpful insight until I actually apply/take the GMAT. :/
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Joined: 04 Dec 2002
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Location: United States (WA)
GMAT 1: 750 Q49 V42
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Re: Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2011, 10:13
Expert's post
Just to add one more thing - I don't think the application should be the deterrent in the decision.
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Re: Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2011, 11:43
Thanks for your thorough analysis. I hadn't considered the disadvantages of a dual degree before... definitely a great point. Social dynamics (and the ability to make substantial friendships) in grad school is also fairly important to me so I can see how being off temporally could put me at a disadvantage.

I'll take your suggestion and look into what some of the successful people in my field of interest have done academically and make my decision from there. You've gone a lot more in-depth than anything I've considered so far so I really do appreciate your comments. Thanks again.
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Joined: 04 Dec 2002
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Re: Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2011, 11:57
Expert's post
Take it for what it is worth - I know very little about you and some of these things may not apply to your profile. You may be a very energetic/motivated and focused person or you may be a person who takes forever to make a decision (the answers would be different for those 2 personalities ;) ).... and there is no shame in taking forever to make a decision - I am thinking of the time I was shopping for pants or shoes (luckily that happens only once every few years)

I have encountered a number of JD/MBA folks and most of the time they did not work in a legal role. They were in real estate, consulting, or making deals for others and I think they were getting an MBA first and JD second. You are in a slightly different boat though. JD first and MBA second. I guess it would not hurt but what is the better option - a stellar lawyer or a middle of the road legal/business guy?

P.S. Business school is very different from the law school in the fact that the future performance is driven by your experience before the shcool. As someone said it here, bschool is like a car - it can be a Bentley (HBS) or a Volkswagen (Kellog) but at the end, it comes down to how good of a driver you are. A Bentley will not make you drive better. It is simply a tool/machine.

There is a similarity too between JD and MBA - better schools get better job offers and though you are not guaranteed a job, 80%+ students at the top 10 bschools have at least one great job offer at the time of graduation. However, it is less critical than at the law school and you are not ranked at graduation - nobody knows if you were the best or worst student in BSchool. I don't think anyone asks for GPA or anything like that.
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Re: Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA? [#permalink] New post 30 Nov 2011, 12:49
I didn't know BSchool students weren't ranked/employers didn't ask for GPAs during interviews... that sounds like a fantasy world compared to law school.

Law school conditions students to stay as far away from middle of the road as possible (B-/C+ law students do not get good enough offers to justify a $150k+ investment imo). It's like day and night when it comes to the value of grades in BSchool vs LS.

The idea of business school serving as a car for the good driver instead of a driver's ed class focused on theories behind why people drive (law school) is illuminating. I vastly underestimated the differences between law school and business school. Loving the insight.
Re: Profile Eval--Should I take the GMAT/Do I have a shot @ MBA?   [#permalink] 30 Nov 2011, 12:49
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