One of my fresh graduates asked me recently: “Can I go straight from law school into a top MBA program?” She comes from a prominent legal family and is in two minds whether to go into Law or Management. So she’s thinking of doing both!
Many of the best MBA programs now have certain seats set aside for fresh graduates and an exceptional student no longer needs a few years’ worth of work experience before applying to a reputed business school to study for an MBA degree. However, I can think of very few reasons why one would want to enroll into an MBA program directly after law school. And none of the reasons I can think of are really good.
If you’re in law school, you’re already in a professional program—one that will give you a viable career in any of the fields that require a legal training. Presumably, you began studying law because you are interested in it. If your interest has since waned and you’re a brilliant student with a GPA close to perfect, it would be more advisable to cut short your legal education and apply for an MBA program now instead of later. Why spend years and thousands of dollars getting a degree you don’t really want?
If you’ve already got your JD, what’s the real point of an MBA degree at this juncture? Perhaps you don’t want to take the bar exams and practice law. That’s fine, but what is stopping you from applying for a job in the legal department of an organization? If you have suddenly discovered that your real passion is HR or Finance and not Legal, you could still get an entry-level job in a company with your current credentials and work your way across departments until you find your niche.
A fresh graduate without any business experience who goes through an MBA program will have to enter the job market as a management trainee and put in a bit of time at the entry level even after he has earned his MBA. Your degree in law counts as your post-graduate professional course and it has already provided you with all the basic skills you need to enter the job market as a management trainee. You have special knowledge of laws and legal procedures, an expert’s understanding of business law, and an above average skill level in communication, public speaking and interviewing techniques among other things desirable for business management. In addition, by having successfully completed a professional program, you’ve proven your maturity, your commitment and positive attitude—all the fundamental personality traits that recruiters look for when filling first level management positions in an organization.
As such, your law degree will certainly not hinder your recruitment or progress and an MBA at this stage will not add any particular value to your CV. If you don’t have the requisite work experience to join at higher levels, you would still be entering the job market as a beginner with or without an MBA qualification.
If after a few years you feel that you require some specific extra expertise or even just the boost of a post-graduate business degree to advance in your chosen field, you may find the MBA worth considering.