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Thinking about MBA/JD

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Joined: 28 Apr 2011
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Thinking about MBA/JD [#permalink]

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New post 29 Apr 2011, 07:43

I am a college senior and I'm looking into different options for continuing my studies. Here is my profile thus far:

26 years old/F (will be 27 when I apply)

UG: Aviation Management (3.98)
I have a few semesters of UG work completed right out of high school that I didn't do so well at (2.8/2.9). I had some personal issues that needed to be dealt with so I took a few years off between that coursework and my current degree studies. The school that I am attending calculates GPA based only on coursework at that school rather than combined.

Currently working for an airline. I have 5 (6 at the time of application) years of experience with progressing levels of responsibility. At this point, I'm mid-level leadership.

I'm looking at JD/MBA programs because I have always wanted to study law and I believe that the MBA would assist me in my future goals by giving me a grounding in proper management theory. Ultimately, I would like to work in the airline industry in labor relations and employment law. Since so few companies retain in-house legal counsel, it might be better to approach this from a managerial standpoint.

My question is, do you think that my profile (along with a great GMAT score and fantastic essays, of course) would merit review and acceptance at Kellogg or Wharton? I have heard that these schools place more weight on work experience and junior/senior grades than they do on overall GPA (as law school does).

From what I have read, it looks like to enroll in the JD/MBA at Northwestern, one would need to apply to Kellogg rather than the law school. Do you know if Penn operates the same way?

It also seems that there is a low percentage of women enrolled in the programs. Do you think that might help my application? I'm non-URM, so I don't have much else to go on. :)
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Re: Thinking about MBA/JD [#permalink]

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New post 03 May 2011, 00:54
Hi there, thanks for reaching out. Apologies for any delay as I tried to respond to this a few days ago and it didn't post for some reason.

It sounds like you have targeted a very good path for a JD/MBA. Most people pursue multiple degrees purely because they believe that more is better, when in fact, you want to be sure there is a value-add to pairing the two up (especially when you have to spend more time in school and/or take out more loans).

To answer your specific questions:

1. I would imagine that you will do better in the process as a female applicant, given the low enrollment numbers, but there are no magic bullets, including gender. Plus, even though specific JD/MBA programs may be small, you are rolled into larger classes of students at both the law school and b-school, so any disparity is softened. It will help, but don't bank on it carrying the day entirely.

2. As for what these schools are looking for, well, that is the million dollar question. Business schools do typically care more about what has happened recently - so work experience and/or later grades can indeed matter more than overall GPA. However, they report their #s just like law schools and you can see that the top schools gain separation in the rankings in part because they boast high average GPAs. Most schools will calculate all your UG credits to form a cumulative GPA, but you should still stand up pretty well, I would think. Your industry of choice can help you a lot *as long as you broadcast transferable skills.* Most people miss the part in the MBA application process where you have to state not only your experiences, but also what skills you developed from those experience that will transfer over to what you plan to do post-MBA. Going to business school is totally different from law school in that the latter is about intellect and learning prowess, while the former is about the appropriateness of the degree path. When you apply to b-school, always be thinking: 1) am I telling the reader how and why an MBA from this school is the appropriate step for me, 2) am I packing my career progression correctly, 3) am I stating the key business schools themes correctly, and 4) am I demonstrating school fit. This last one is very important as you have to really hit the DNA of a particular school. Business school applications are no joke, which is why I exist in this space. If you can really paint the right picture, you will be a strong candidate, I believe (provided your test scores are strong, of course).

3. As for Wharton's protocol, I believe that while they feature a 3-year degree, your applications are reviewed separately by both the law school and the business school. There is a joint application process (run through Wharton), so that is nice, but unlike Kellogg, they don't have a specific admissions officer who sits on top of that process. Kellogg is the most integrated program, I would say, then Wharton and Duke, then maybe Yale or NYU.

Overall, I would say your priorities need to be:

1. Make sure you need the MBA (you can usually just take b-school classes during your 3L year) to get where you want to go - not only will this be key for you to answer in your own life, but you will HAVE to nail this in your essays.

2. Rock the standardized tests for each (Kellogg you only have to do the GMAT).

3. Make sure your MBA essays are perfect - engage a vetted consultant if necessary.

4. Cast a nice wide net, so that you don't get tripped up by the odds (when you apply to a highly selective b-school AND law school at the same university, it becomes pretty hard to gain admissions to both).

If you do all that, you will go far!

Hope that helps.


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Thinking about MBA/JD

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