Law School Discussion


Re: MBA v. JD
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2005, 04:30:35 PM »
Having researched many schools and done the MBA myself, I don't think I can agree in saying that an MBA is an MBA is an MBA.

Part of the problem these days in the saturated MBA market is that the quality of the programs seems to vary significantly among the schools that aren't in, say, the top 30 - 40 schools.  Ultimately the quality of the students coming out (in terms of their education) can be unpredictable.

I've met so-called MBAs from other schools that I'd never heard of and they didn't know the difference between a credit and a debit.  Likewise, you won't find many of the big companies recruiting at some of these places because of their reputation.  Yes, part of this has to do with the school's name - but if it is a good school with good output and a good program, it's reputation will build.

I do agree with you about the MBA market being saturated.  It is nuts.  My MBA is from an academically rigorous school, but not from the top 40.  It kills me when I think that my credential is held in the same regard as some of the MBA diploma mills.  I really don't think HR departments have even heard of the AACSB, to be honest.  I think that's where this MBA is an MBA is an MBA mentality comes into play.

Re: MBA v. JD
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2005, 03:23:14 PM »
I did my MBA before law school. The MBA program was not necessarily "easier" but it involved much less work. Law school requires tons of reading and more hours of study but it is not rocket science. B-School is much more about networking and finding your specialty. At law school (at least during the first year) we pretty much are all taking the same classes and getting a general overview of the American legal system. Personally I thought B school was more fun and less work. But it is hard to compare the two experiences because they are totally different.

This summer  (I just finished my 1L year) I will be a summer clerk at a law firm in my hometown.

I am also studying for the CFA exams and if I do not like my job this summer I may work at an I-Bank next summer after my 2L year.

If I do practice law after graduation it will likely be in the area od M&A or securities. If I do not practice law I will go to an I-Bank. Either way my plan is to save money, make contacts, and raise capital so I can start my own venture capital firm a few years downt the road...


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Re: MBA v. JD
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2005, 05:12:57 PM »
In law school while students may at least joke about the material or make casual references to what they thought about a case or something like that, no one in business school gives a flying f*&% about the material.  You won't hear passionate comments about whether ROA or ROE are better calculations.

haha - I say ROI!

Re: MBA v. JD
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2006, 01:14:14 AM »
Although not everyone will be financially better off from getting an MBA, those attending the top MBA programs are highly likely to be. In fact, almost no one who attends a top program ends up regretting the experience. An interesting contrast is provided by American law schools, of whose graduates a majority are sorry they ever went.

Re: MBA v. JD
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2006, 01:21:13 AM »
It will cost more than $100,000 to earn a degree at an elite business school. Just one problem: There's little real evidence that it will enhance your career. After college, Tad Glauthier didn't have much of a career plan. He knocked around for a while as a ski instructor, then as a TV sitcom stand-in. But when he decided at the age of 28 that it was time to get serious, he applied to one of the most revered career-building institutions in capitalism: Stanford's Graduate School of Business. "I thought B-school would catch me up," he says.

Ask him about his educational experience, however, and he fails to mention discounted cash-flow analysis, the chi-square test, or any other morsels of wisdom from the standard MBA curriculum. Instead he cites his role as executive producer of the 2002 GSB student musical, Spectacular, Schmectacular, and "All About Beer," a one-week elective about organizational dynamics in the brewing industry. As for his future? Glauthier hopes to start a business he describes as "a cross between Moulin Rouge, Angkor Wat, and Burning Man -- in a supper club."

Two years at Stanford and $60,000 in tuition alone to open a restaurant? Ray Kroc, who founded McDonald's without even a high school diploma, would be spinning in his McGrave. There's nothing wrong, exactly, with bright, ambitious young people spending a small fortune on an experience that, in some ways, compares favorably with summer camp. But for many of them, isn't it just a spectacular, schmectacular waste? It has long been common wisdom that gaining an MBA from any but a top-tier school was a losing proposition. Go to Harvard, it was said, and in time you'll earn back your tuition and opportunity cost in higher salary. Go to a school ranked below, say, the University of Rochester, and you probably won't recover your investment.

In this era of drum-tight hiring budgets, however, faith is flagging in even the elite institutions. Recent history -- think Global Crossing, Kozmo, -- suggests that pouring 100,000 MBAs into the workforce annually has done little to raise the general level of business wisdom. "At the height of the bubble, our typical client wanted its CEO to be a bright, young up-and-comer with an MBA from a good school," says Scott Gordon, director of Spencer Stuart's tech-industry recruiting practice. "Today, real-world experience is far more important. An MBA alone just doesn't open the doors it once did." You don't have to tell that to John Damon (MBA, University of San Francisco, 2000). He's been living off unemployment and savings since he was laid off last August. "It's a real eye-opener for those of us who went to school and got our MBAs," Damon says, "because we never thought we'd be in this situation. When things got bad, the degree didn't seem to matter."

The most stinging criticisms, however, are emerging from within the business school establishment. In a draft report published internally this spring, the schools' own accreditation body, the St. Louis-based AACSB, roundly criticized its members. Business schools, it said, are hopelessly behind the curve on information technology, have an unhealthy obsession with their standing in magazine rankings, and, worst of all, proffer an out-of-touch, ivory-tower curriculum. "Preparation for the rapid pace of business cannot be obtained from textbooks and cases," the report scolded.

Still more pointed is an upcoming study by Jeffrey Pfeffer, a management professor at Glauthier's own business alma mater, Stanford. In it Pfeffer challenges the bedrock assumption of business school: that those who make the effort to get an MBA degree have more successful careers than those who don't. Pfeffer combs through 40 years' worth of data for evidence that this is true -- and uncovers almost none. He quotes Ronald Burt, a University of Chicago business professor and the researcher behind two of the studies in Pfeffer's paper, who says, "I have never found benefits for the MBA degree. Usually it just makes you a couple years older than non-MBA peers."

Strangely, one group that seems to have no doubts about the MBA is the one most at risk -- the students. Applications are at record levels again this year, and judging from Business 2.0's survey of the class of 2002, those who have the degree view a rich, rewarding career as all but ensured. That assumption might be due for reexamination. To those who put themselves deep into hock believing that an MBA would improve their lives, Pfeffer poses an unsettling question: "Before you did this," he asks, "did you look at any data?"

Millionaires interrupted
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2006, 01:32:34 AM »
It's the economy also that renders MBAs somewhat irrelevant.

The road to riches is crowded with detour signs.

They'd gone to great schools, worked for reputable companies, and done well along the way. They had good jobs with high or even spectacularly high salaries and expectations of being financially secure. While everyone knows an MBA who has been laid off, there are no hard numbers capturing the national picture. In a survey of business-school graduates conducted in March by the GMAC, about 13% said they were not working, although they didn't specify the reasons why. In August 2002, 12% said they didn't have a job.

Those percentages seem low to Michael Laskoff, at least when it comes to MBAs from top-tier business-schools, who typically are among the most expensive employees for companies. Laskoff, a Harvard MBA in his mid-30s who himself has been snared a few times in cost-cutting or reorganizational layoffs, now runs a site about issues facing job seekers. He has also written a survival guide for the unemployed to be published by Three Rivers Press in January 2004.

For some of the educated elite, he notes, it's been a tough adjustment getting comfortable with "the new normal" you know, the one with extended job-search times, pay cuts, and a perpetual sense of job insecurity. After all, these are people who used to be high fliers, or had seemingly realistic aspirations to become one. "When they find out that they, too, are bound by gravity, it's a shock," Laskoff said of those who have had a hard time finding work. Even though intellectually they can see that the layoffs aren't personal, emotionally, it's like being dumped for the first time, Laskoff said. Sure, others may have experienced it, too, but it's no consolation.

Sharon Durling, 46, used to bring home a six-figure paycheck. She has an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, 12 years experience as a bond broker, and three years as a strategic risk management consultant for a major accounting firm. She's been out of work for two years and doesn't expect she'll be able to find another full-time or part-time consultant position anytime soon. So far, that hasn't been an undue hardship for her. She has spent the time retooling herself, volunteering to teach financial literacy in the Chicago projects, and getting a modest advance to write a book about women and money. Durling also began renting out her 3-bedroom home for some income. She moved into a one-bedroom apartment, where she gets a break on the rent because she shows prospective renters available apartments in the building. "I'm living in a great deal of uncertainty," she said. "It's not a truly bad place to be, because certainty isn't always certain. Nobody has certainty. And I'm a long way from missing a meal."

Durling has plenty of friends who have been unemployed for a year or more. Some are doing well enough emotionally and financially. But for others the struggle is more acute. One mother who's been out of work for nearly a year, Durling said, is "closer to a panic level." For her part, Durling has managed to avoid a sense of financial panic. Even so, she does get concerned when she considers how to present herself and the way she's spent her time these past two years to prospective employers.