MBA after law school

In this blog post, Samyukta Ramaswamy, a student at National University of Advanced Legal Studies and pursuing a Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws from NUJS, Kolkata, describes the need for pursuing an MBA after Law School.

MBA After Law

Most law students often find it difficult to understand the nexus between pursuing an MBA degree after graduating from law school. Whilst seeing law graduates at an MBA school is not a rare sight, it is also not a logical path for them to take.

In India, the dual degree program has just taken up and is thus relatively new. Apart from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad (ISB), another Hyderabad-based University- NALSAR University of Law, one of the premier law schools in India, has recently started a new course on Masters Degree in Business Laws and Administration in response to the demand.

Similarly, the National Law University, Jodhpur also offers an MBA as an endeavor to create and develop synergies between the two.

  • In comparison, foreign countries such as The United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and the like have very well-established dual degree programs in law and business management.
  • Universities like Harvard, Stanford, Yale as well as Columbia have a full-fledged JD/MBA program over a period of four years, giving students a broader-based curriculum having a very wide scope.

So the question then arises as to Why pursue an MBA degree after completing Law?

Those interested in mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, corporate governance, financial and management accounts, investment and banking etc. would find immense use in pursuing this dual degree.

This question primarily arises due to the fact that while a degree in business and management along with a law degree creates wider avenues for individuals, it is still not mandatory or obligatory to all.

Therefore, pursuing MBA after law depends largely on the kind of career that you want to pursue or the kind of skill sets that you wish to acquire and the avenue of law one would be interested in specializing in.

Those interested in mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, corporate governance, financial and management accounts, investment and banking etc. would find immense use in pursuing this dual degree.

This article first seeks to throw light on –

  • When an MBA degree comes in handy for law graduates.
  • The advantages an individual with the dual degree has over those with either a law or management degree only.

The article goes beyond this to further bring to the attention of students on things that they need to bear in mind while considering pursuing the degree such as, the cost and time effects, amongst others.

Therefore, what remains crucial for the students is to determine firstly whether or not they want to pursue this dual degree, depending on whether it is right for them and in line with the career they envision for themselves and further taking into account the above-mentioned considerations.

Implications of Pursuing MBA After Law

As I have already mentioned in my preceding few paragraphs, having a dual degree in both law and MBA is not mandatory for every undergraduate with a legal background. However, having said that, a combination of the two, improves an individual’s proficiency in both areas dramatically.

Thus, whilst acquiring either of these degrees, a professional builds expertise in either management or law, a combination of the two could take one’s career significantly further.

This is especially needed in light of the globalizing economy where the demand for a combination of law and MBA is at its peak.

“The legal function is thus a strategic one. Today, those who run businesses need to have a deeper understanding of the regulatory environment, as many fields like the Telecom, sales and Marketing, supply chain, real estate, insurance and sunrise sectors like Aviation- are highly regulatory by nature”

– says  Aditya Ghosh, President of the low-cost carrier IndiGo.[1]

This calls for individuals having a solid background in both law and management.

Benefits of the Dual Degree

While all the MBA courses teach management skills, they continue to remain wanting in matters of the company, labor, industrial and commercial law. An MBA bridges this knowledge gap that is found to be lacking in many professionals by bringing the two subjects together.

Hence, while law imbibes a more rigorous style of thinking in students, skill sets such as teamwork and quantitative analysis are more comprehensively taught and acquired in business schools.

The presence of this demand is most clearly felt in the corporate sector where a mix of law and management qualifications is considered a good and rare combination.

Besides –

“Lawyers also need a basic understanding of the various issues challenging the corporate sector in regard to securities, insider trading, arbitration, and takeovers”.

– says Zia Mody, managing partner, AZB & Partners.[2]

Moreover,

  • In the present scenario, an increasing demand has been observed in the areas of Mergers and Acquisitions. This requires skills not only in the area of law but also in business and management.
  • Secondly, an MBA with a law degree acts as a Gateway to Entrepreneurship and comes in handy when one is looking to establish his own private law firm.

This is basically because an MBA gives valuable business insights as well as a diverse perspective to individuals looking to start their own law firm, as it would play a major role in running the organization smoothly, efficiently and in a shrewd manner.

  • The MBA degree additionally helps to build a sound network while starting a new venture due to the fact that a large number of MBA graduates have start-ups, ties with the ones who would boost up one’s business to a large extent.
  • Lastly, a dual degree in these two areas is of enormous use for transactional attorneys.

Kailash Gupta, a JD/MBA candidate at Cornell Law School is of the opinion that –

“Pursuing an MBA is immensely helpful for law students who aspire to become transactional attorneys, where it is necessary to pour over business documents, and advice clients in making business decisions, on a daily business”.[3]

To sum up,

  • A combination of law and MBA builds up one’s proficiency in both areas in such a manner that it would take one’s career to new heights and further drastically improve ones financial earnings in comparison to either of the degrees individually.
  • Moreover, it has a very wide scope which creates opportunities in expanding avenues of individuals having high financial returns, improving their personal growth and development, as well as maintaining a terrific network amongst peers, firms and start-up companies.
  • In addition, this combination also provides multifarious opportunities to lawyers wanting to shift their practices from law to management, such as in investment banking, consultancy, or even play a role in business development.
  • The dual degree also makes it possible to become an in-house legal counsel for a multi-national corporation, which is a very lucrative option.

Is an MBA Right for You?

As I have already mentioned in my previous paragraphs, a dual degree in law and MBA is not for everyone. Both law and MBA are notoriously demanding and involves putting in long hours.

Add to this, the grades you obtain in your law/business school acts as the deciding factor in acquiring a job after graduation.

Secondly, the competition in admission to these Universities, especially abroad, is very high as you need to be separately admitted to both the law and management schools.[4] In India, getting admissions to the ISB or the IIMs is not a piece of cake either simply because the competition while writing the GMAT or the CAT is extremely stiff, and needs months, sometimes even years, of arduous preparation.

Therefore, if you’re not sure of your future career path and think that a law and MBA degree would cover all your bases or if you’re absolutely positive that you want to pursue law either in a law firm or litigation, an MBA after law is of no use unless you want to specialize in the fields of mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, investments, real estate etc.

It is, thus, of utmost importance to take some time off and figure out what really interests you.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be surmised that contrary to popular opinion that law and MBA are two distinct fields, having little to do with one another, there is a sufficient causal connection between the two areas, especially in the corporate field dealing specifically in investment banking, takeovers, and the like.

As a graduate of law, there are a vast number of opportunities available in different avenues, and this can be exemplified exponentially with the addition of an MBA degree as well due to the diversification of knowledge from to distinct spheres of subject-matter expertise.

However, at the same time, an MBA coupled with law may not be best suited or useful for everyone, especially in cases where the dual degree combination fails to complement or rather, adds negligibly to individual interest.

In addition to this, pursuing an MBA after completing an undergraduate degree course in law incurs significant costs in college fee and tuition fee apart from an additional three years spent in completing the Masters degree. Thus, it is especially important to consider before deciding to pursue a course in MBA after law taking into consideration this very reason.

What do you think? Should MBA after law be kept as an option? Drop your comments below & share the article.

 

References –

1.      http://www.businesstoday.in/magazine/cover-story/nalsar-university-of-law-hyderabad-best-business-schools/story/17924.html

2.      For further reference, look into http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/mba-admissions-strictly-business/2011/02/11/business-and-law-go-hand-in-hand

3.      http://www.mbauniverse.com/article/id/7616/MBA-after-law

[1]http://www.businesstoday.in/magazine/cover-story/nalsar-university-of-law-hyderabad-best-business-schools/story/17924.html
[2] Id.
[3]https://superlawyer.in/kailash-gupta-on-a-dual-degree-course-from-cornell-work-as-a-paralegal-and-the-us-legal-industry/
[4]http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/law-admissions-lowdown/2012/10/01/5-reasons-not-to-get-a-dual-jdmba – for further reference.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Good information provided by the author. MBA is a great degree for building up the career to the great extent. If you are looking forward to the best MBA colleges in Bangalore, then go through the blog followed by the link.
    Hope this will help you.
    Thanks
    Ankita

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