If you're getting an MBA because you're not sure of what you want to do later, you run into the risk of hiring partners catching on to that and wonder about your motivation to practice law (or run off and use that MBA) or your financial decision to spend an extra $50K on a degree you probably won't use (and aren't MBAs supposed to teach sound financial decisions?). However, if you have a great reason for it, then go for it.
From Admissions Consultants:
Thinking of a Joint Degree? Think Twice
Senior Consultant Mark Meyerrose notes that joint degree programs are becoming more common at U.S. law schools.
Although combining a J.D. with a graduate degree in another field makes good sense for some applicants, Mark advises most people to think carefully before taking the plunge.
"If you are considering pursuing a joint degree program, you need to be aware of their impact on your wallet and career choices," says Mark.
"Undoubtedly, many such programs offer students incredible intellectual opportunities. For example, Stanford Law School recently announced that it now has 11 dual or joint degree arrangements with other schools and departments around the wider university. That's great. After all, a school's motivation is to increase the intellectual breadth of its offerings, providing students with greater course choices. And what could be problematic about having more choices?
"Well, a couple of issues spring to mind:
"One – Most joint or dual degree programs require additional time enrolled as a student. Thus, the cost of your education will increase by one or more years of tuition – and, at, say, $50K per year that is no small amount of money!. You need to carefully consider all of the benefits – intellectual, professional and, yes, financial – of this decision.
"Two – Consider the marketability of your joint degree. It is not the case that future employers – either in the private or public sections – will necessarily see the value in your joint degree. In fact, the opposite is true. You will more likely be asked to justify the need you saw to pursue this 'extra' education. Unless you can give a clear and coherent explanation for why you pursued these two degrees, you will seem scattered and unfocused intellectually and professionally. So, before deciding to pursue a joint degree, be sure you understand your motivations clearly – and be sure that you can articulate them not only to yourself but also to the admissions committees."
– Mark made thousands of accept/deny/waitlist/hold decisions during his three years as an admissions officer at the Harvard Law School.
Very interesting and on-point comments. As a joint-degree candidate (I'm doing a JD/MS), I am a bit worried about what firms will think during the interviewing season. Since I am graduating in the same amount of time (I just have to take one extra class a semester to get the MS) there is not a huge opportunity cost, minus the $10,000 it will cost to be over-enrolled in classes. But I'm a little afraid firms might be afraid to hire me since my master's (in criminology) has nothing to do with what I want to practice (most likely international business transactions).
That said, I am putting a spin on it, since I am focusing my research on the economics of crime and poverty. Aside from being a degree collecter and being interested in the subject, I really missed economics and math based classes, so I hope that by explaining the program to firms, they may view it as a plus. But who knows - I'm sure a firm or two might ding me thinking I will just leave in a few years to become an academic or something. Who knows.