An MBA Law joint degree is an extremely competitive, specialized graduate program where you earn both a law degree and an MBA. Getting an MBA Law joint or dual degree is about more than knowing or . In fact, you essentially need to master both! To get into this type of program and earn two degrees in less time, you’ll need to get into both law school and an MBA program. Since many of these programs are at top universities, this is no easy feat! In this article, we’ll explore what an MBA Law program is, how it’s structured and how to get accepted to this unique graduate degree.
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- Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and
- University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and
- and Yale School of Management
- and Columbia Business School
- University of Chicago Law School and Booth School of Business
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- and Fuqua School of Business
- and Cornell Johnson Graduate School of Management
- and McDonough School of Business
- UCLA School of Law and UCLA Anderson School of Management
- Boston University School of Law and Questrom School of Business
- University of Michigan Law School and Ross School of Business
- University of Toronto - Faculty of Law and Rotman School of Management
- (York University) and Schulich School of Business
- University of British Columbia (UBC) - Allard School of Law and Sauder School of Business
- and Alberta School of Business
- University of Calgary - Faculty of Law and Haskayne School of Business
- McGill University - Faculty of Law and Desautels Faculty of Management
- Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law and Dalhousie Business School
- University of New Brunswick
- and Telfer School of Management
- University of Victoria Faculty of Law and Peter B. Gustavson School of Business
- University of Windsor Faculty of Law and Odette School of Business
- University of Saskatchewan College of Law and Edwards School of Business
MBA Law joint degrees are a combined program where you earn two graduate level degrees: both an MBA (master’s of business administration) and JD (Juris Doctor). It’s sort of like attending both law school and business school at the same time, combining your learning into one compressed program.
Joint degrees or dual degrees are a specialized graduate program, and the MBA Law option is becoming increasingly popular. It combines two distinct but compatible disciplines in business and law, allowing for a more specialized education and unique job opportunities.
A joint degree can cut down on and . Law school is typically 3 years, whereas most MBA programs are 2 years. An MBA Law joint program is shortened to 3-4 years, meaning you can get two degrees in less time.
You may also save some money by completing your schooling in this 3-4 year period, although tuition for joint degree programs does tend to be a bit higher.
Why apply for an MBA Law joint degree?
Why would you apply for an MBA law joint program? What are the advantages? Well, for some graduate school applicants, there is a great appeal in earning two degrees at once. Just like some medical school applicants might pursue an to become a medical researcher, MBA Law graduates can pursue more job opportunities in both fields.
There are many and legal jobs out there you could pursue as an MBA Law graduate. These two disciplines are closely related, so becoming a lawyer with extensive knowledge of business, or a business owner with knowledge of the law can be a huge advantage.
As a joint degree holder there is potential for higher earning power, “blended” careers in business and law, and a great deal of versatility. A joint degree gives you a certain amount of flexibility in your choice of jobs and it provides you with cross-disciplinary assets.
There are many excellent jobs that benefit from an education in both business and law, including but not limited to the legal profession, finance, consultancy, management and entrepreneurial pursuits. For example, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer would undoubtedly require knowledge of both the law and business.
Here are a few of the top job choices for MBA Law grads:
- Corporate lawyer
- Employment lawyer
- Management consultant
- Government relations specialist
- Human resources manager
- Legal analyst
- Business Consultant
How competitive are MBA Law joint degrees?
This partly due to the smaller number of available MBA Law programs, with most of them being offered through the top law and business schools in North America. They accept a small number of students each year, and the programs are quite rigorous, as they combine both law school courses and business school courses. MBA Law degrees are typically full-time, and the course load can be quite intense, as you are combining two of the most demanding graduate school curriculums into one.
Is an MBA Law joint degree worth it?
So, is it worth enrolling in an MBA law program? For some students the answer is undoubtedly yes. If you’re committed to this path, be ready and be patient. It can be a long process to get into an MBA Law degree and complete it, and it will require a great deal of hard work. But the results can be worth it if you then graduate with a versatile and cross-disciplinary degree that allows you to achieve your career goals.
A joint degree is the quickest way to complete both degrees and get into your desired job market. However, some law school grads or MBA grads may be interested in earning their second degree and changing their career paths. If this is the case, you’ll need to ask yourself or before making a final decision.
Next, we’ll look at what you can expect from an MBA Law curriculum and program structure, plus how to get into these competitive programs.
As we said earlier, an MBA Law joint program is usually 3 to 4 years long. The length can depend on the individual program, but the goal is to shorten the 5-6 years it would take to complete an MBA and JD degree into one program.
As you can imagine, the MBA Law curriculum combines core courses from both the and law school curriculum. You’ll also take some “blended” law-business courses unique to your program, plus any electives in either discipline that you choose to enhance your education.
It’s important to note that you’ll be completing courses in different locations, too! Some courses will be taken through the law school faculty and others through the business school, which might mean you’ll be switching between several buildings throughout your degree.
Your program will normally be split into two. So, you’ll take for instance 2 years of legal education followed by 1 to 2 years of MBA coursework. Or you might take 1 year of MBA coursework followed by a year of legal studies and 1 year of blended courses. This depends entirely on the program you choose, and some may even allow you to decide which discipline you want to complete first.
Here's a general overview of what MBA Law curriculums include:
As far as admissions go, and have some overlap. Both are separately some of the most competitive graduate school programs. Together in a joint program, the admissions process and requirements can become a little more complex.
Some schools ask you to submit TWO applications: one to the law school and one to the business school, while indicating in your application your interest in applying to the joint degree program. Others allow you to submit one application to the combined program.
Many schools also offer students enrolled in either the law school or business school to “transfer” to the joint program in their first year.
For example, Harvard and Stanford both ask for a separate application, while the University of Pennsylvania accepts applicants to the joint degree MBA Law through the Wharton School of Business only.
These are the general requirements for a dual MBA Law program. Note that some programs will have additional requirements!
- Bachelor’s degree
- Official transcripts
- LSAT scores
- GMAT or
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement or admissions essays
- Prior work experience
- Admission interview
As we can see, the required application components for an MBA Law program can be far more extensive than a law school application or MBA application alone. For one, you’ll likely need to write BOTH the LSAT and the GMAT, the law school and business school admission tests. You might also need to submit twice the number of essays and recommendation letters, since many schools require you to be admitted to both the law school and MBA programs, which means submitting two separate, distinct applications.
Master your law school optional essays with these tips!
Before you get overwhelmed by the MBA Law application process, check out these tips on how you can boost your chances of getting into your desired program!
1. Get a High GPA
Most law schools and MBA programs have a minimum GPA requirement. At top schools, the minimum is usually 3.0 and above. A competitive GPA for either program would be 3.5 and above, so it follows that a good GPA for a joint degree program would be 3.5 and above, too.
Some programs will share the average accepted GPA of their students. However, this is less common for joint degrees, so look at the accepted GPA of both the business school and law school to gauge where your GPA needs to be at to be considered competitive for the joint program.
2. Ace Standardized Tests
There are some and some , but be aware that not all of these programs have an MBA Law joint program. Some programs may also be test optional or allow you to write the GRE instead and submit scores. When you’re exploring program options, check to see which test a program prefers, if it is test optional and what the average accepted scores are.
If you plan to take both tests, familiarize yourself with and learn what you need to do. These are both extremely challenging exams, and the best way to ace them and get the score you want is to prepare well ahead of time and learn the key test strategies you need to know.
3. Nail all the Admissions Essays
Both MBA and law school programs usually include a personal statement or admissions essays. For many joint program applications, you’ll need to write several essays. Again, this will vary by program.
MBA applications usually include an or , as well as short essay responses to MBA essay questions. Read the essay instructions carefully so you know what each essay should contain and address the prompt or questions directly and thoroughly in each essay. You can’t combine your responses into one document, here. It’s also good to review and start brainstorming ideas for your admission essays.
It will be time consuming to write all these distinct essays and personal statements, but each piece of writing you submit can increase your chances of reaching your goal. It’s important to remember that to get accepted to most joint MBA Law programs, you need to get accepted to BOTH the law school and the business school programs first. If you are accepted to one and rejected from the other, you may lose your chance to get a joint degree.
Taking the time to write excellent admission essays will show the admissions committee you are committed and pay attention, and could make the difference in getting accepted to one of these highly competitive degrees, especially at a top school.
4. Secure Strong Recommendation Letters
For a joint business and law degree, you’ll most likely need to submit 4 letters of recommendation: 2 for each program or application. usually come from your employers, current and past. A is usually written by an academic source, such as your professor or academic supervisor.
You should advise all your reference writers that you are applying to a joint MBA Law program, so can speak to your abilities and suitability for both disciplines. As an example, even if your reference writer is not a legal expert and you don’t work in the legal profession, you can provide your writer with some background information on what traits and skills law schools look for in their applicants. This way, your writer can speak to both your suitability for an MBA and a law degree if they know what should be included.
5. Craft a Stellar Resume
MBA programs commonly require 3-4 years of prior work experience before you apply. Law schools don’t have this requirement, but a joint degree might include it.
You may need to submit both an and a , each tailored to the specific program. Your work history doesn’t need to be in the legal profession or specific field of business you want to pursue after school, but this is certainly an asset. The most important part is to demonstrate through your resume that you have strong work experience that allowed you to cultivate the skills and assets the admissions committee is looking for, such as leadership, collaboration, communication and organization.
Here are the MBA interview question types to watch out for during your interview!
6. Don't Forget the Interviews
The admission interview is extremely important for both MBA programs and law schools. It can be the part of your application the secures you a spot or dashes your chances.
Since you’ll have indicated in your application that you’re interested in the joint program, you can expect to be asked why you want to pursue an MBA, , and finally why you decided to pursue a dual degree. All of your interview questions may be either applicable to both programs or discrete from one another.
Be sure you have strong answers to study both the law and an MBA, rather than just that you’re interested in both or couldn’t decide between them! You need to be clear about your goals and reasons for choosing a joint program over one or the other.
7. Include Optional Application Sections
If you’re completing two separate applications, be aware that law school applications in particular often have additional, optional sections.
For instance, are a common application section. While they are called optional, we recommend writing responses to these essay questions to strengthen your application. Since you are trying to get into a highly competitive program, anything extra you can do to increase your chances is worth it.
Here are some more additional application components you might want to include:
Applying to an MBA law joint degree takes a great deal of commitment, and getting accepted to one of these unique programs is certainly not easy.
This specialized combined degree may be the exact right path for you to achieve your career goals and build the skillset you want, but it does demand hard work, extra time and extra patience. If you are committed to the MBA law path, be sure to thoroughly research the programs you’re interested in so you have a clear view of what’s expected and what you need to do to apply. It’s also important to carefully budget for the costs and time you’ll spend on your degree.
In the end, you will save time and earn two very lucrative and valuable degrees, but you have to be willing to go the distance!
1. What is an MBA Law dual degree?
An MBA Law dual degree is a specialized graduate school program where you can earn both an MBA and a JD, shortening the time it takes to complete both programs.
2. How long is an MBA Law degree?
An MBA Law degree is typically 3 or 4 years long, depending on the program.
3. How much does MBA Law cost?
MBA Law programs typically combine the tuition of their MBA and JD degrees, but the costs can vary significantly. You can save some money on tuition and student costs by completing both degrees concurrently, but there may be additional costs that come from application fees, standardized test fees and more.
4. What kind of jobs can I get with MBA Law?
MBA Law degrees are useful for a variety of legal and business careers, from corporate law to entrepreneurship, business consulting and management.
5. How do I get into MBA Law programs?
To get into an MBA Law program, you might need to apply separately to either law school or business school, expressing your interest in the dual degree in your application. Some programs allow you to apply directly to the joint degree and enroll, or transfer to the joint degree program if you’ve been accepted to either the JD or MBA programs.
6. Do I take the LSAT or the GMAT for MBA Law?
Most MBA Law programs require you to take both the LSAT and GMAT. Some may allow you to take one or the other, and you can also find programs that don’t require the LSAT or don’t require the GMAT.
7. Is MBA Law worth it?
Whether an MBA Law program is worth it for you can depend on your career goals, budget and timeline. A dual degree has some advantages when it comes to future career options and earning power, but you’ll need to budget accordingly for the associated costs and make sure your degree is customized to fit your interests and desired skills.
8. How competitive are MBA Law programs?
MBA Law programs are extremely competitive. There are fewer joint programs available, and they accept a small number of applicants while receiving a large number of applications. The admission requirements and standards are also quite high, making these some of the most competitive joint degree programs.