As an undergrad looking into graduate programs, I found both law school and business school appealing. With a bit more research I realized I could do both in a joint-degree program, and narrowed down my options to universities offering the joint program like the University of San Diego.
One of the most interesting things I have noticed is the incredible contrast between law school and business school, despite the obvious career symbiosis between the two degrees. Law school focuses on precedent, both to understand the law academically and as a means of molding future lawyers. If you approach the law school career services office with a career aspiration that your resume doesn’t portend, chances are you will be guided in a career direction that is better indicated by your past. On the contrary, business school looks forward and challenges tradition. Many assignments, from courses such as Leadership, Peace Through Commerce and Strategic Management, require novel thinking and new ideas. The MBA career services office is receptive to virtually any career aspirations, and works with you to take steps in the right direction. I have especially enjoyed the emphasis career services puts on informational interviews, as the wide range of career options for an MBA requires a good deal of research to find the right job.
The best experience I have had in grad school was my Intersession trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to work on an international practicum and take a course in Corporate Governance at the COPPEAD business school in Rio. For the practicum project I was assigned to a group with 3 USD MBA students and 3 COPPEAD MBA students, and the six of us worked with an engineer from São Paulo who wanted to open an MRI factory in Brazil. This experience required me to do some research on Brazilian law, and presented to me the possibility of a career in business consulting. In the future, I would love to work with start-up companies and be able to provide them with both business planning and legal advice.
I am so fortunate to be getting both graduate degrees, because they have each taught me a different way to look at the same problem, and I believe my analytical skills are more multi-faceted because of it. While it’s true that there’s a chance I could get typecast as “the lawyer” in the business world, the MBA has taught me how to re-frame my education and experience to better suit the needs of an employer. As a law student I was concerned with gathering as much advice as I could, in order to go by someone else’s opinion and experience, but as a JD/MBA I have learned that it’s better to find your own passion and, as Professor Gomez often quotes, “make the competition irrelevant”.
Alex is a third year JD/MBA who will be studying law abroad at the University of Copenhagen this semester and was a Genetics major at UC Davis.