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What is a JD MBA?

In the competitive world of business, it always helps to stand out from the crowd.  Job markets are increasingly cutthroat, and ambitious graduates want to distinguish themselves from other candidates in order to land that dream job.  Thus, many business-oriented students are seeking dual degrees to increase their breadth of knowledge and networking abilities.  One such dual degree is the JD MBA, which combines a Juris Doctorate with a Master’s of Business Administration.  Law students and business students alike are considering dual degree paths, but how does one choose the right one? Let’s break down the benefits, pitfalls, and typical career paths for individuals pursuing this elusive dual degree.


JD MBA Benefits

To begin, it’s important to recognize that no matter your preferred path, having both a JD and an MBA can be extremely advantageous when assessing the job market.  If you’re entering the legal professions with an MBA under your belt, employers are much more likely to not only notice you, but also entrust you with a wider spectrum of tasks and responsibilities.  This can lead to upward mobility within a company and create more career opportunities over time.  

There is also the networking aspect of a dual-degree program to consider.  By engaging in both degree paths, you are effectively doubling your potential network of students, alumni, professors, and future employers.  Networking is invaluable in today’s job market, as more students realize that good grades alone are not a shoo-in for the dream position they want.  Consider the fact that both legal and business professions each have their own set of unique contacts.  With a dual degree, you can set yourself up as a contact that branches across both worlds.  This is true whether you’re a legal analyst working for a large corporate firm, or a business analyst working with a legal office.  Perhaps you find yourself working in a completely separate industry. Either way, the odds are that no matter the job you land, your networking abilities will be greatly increased by your dual degree.


Last but not least, there is the benefit of increased compensation.  Looking at average salaries from top universities, it is clear that students graduating with a combined JD MBA earn significantly more than their single-degree counterparts.  Whereas JD graduates earned ~$150,000 coming out of law school, JD MBA graduates average about $250,000.  Again, these figures are from the top prestigious universities in the United States; if compensation is a major concern, it is an easy decision on whether the dual-degree is worth your investment.

Program Drawbacks

Unfortunately, a combined JD MBA degree is not without its snags.  The most obvious drawback of attending a dual-degree program is the intensive workload. When completing a JD and an MBA at the same time, there will be instances where you’re expected to be in two places at once!  The workload associated with degree programs like this is intense, and not something to be taken lightly.  Many students enter dual degree programs with ambitious goals. Unfortunately, many find out quickly that they are unable to handle the stress and sheer volume of work necessary to graduate.

It’s also important to consider the time and cost investment associated with a dual degree program.  A JD requires three years, an MBA requires two years, and a JD MBA program will take four years to complete.  That’s an extra year (or two) that you’re not in the job market. Always weigh the opportunity cost against your career goals.  However, some programs do offer accelerated tracks, with three years being the quickest track currently offered.  Just make sure you are ready to dedicate your life for the next three years to the program you choose!


JD MBA Programs

Let’s take a quick look at the top JD MBA programs currently available:

  1. Harvard
  2. Stanford
  3. University of Chicago
  4. University of Pennsylvania
  5. Northwestern University

Needless to say, all of these programs are extremely competitive and have a rigorous admissions process.  However, if you’re a top candidate looking to set yourself apart, they might be for you.  There are many more schools that offer JD MBA programs, all with varying degrees of tuition, course offerings, and efficacy.  Be sure to do your research before committing to one of these degree programs! For more information on MBA degrees, check out our specializations page.