Is an MBA after law school a good option?
Sep 22 2016 05:22 PM
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Making the decision to go back to school for an MBA for law school graduates requires a hard-nosed reckoning of the costs and potential payoff.  It is a major investment of time and money, so those attorneys considering the move have to take an honest accounting of why you want to go to business school.

The obvious costs of taking on the MBA are the additional debt and the time out of the job market. You can reduce the opportunity costs of business school by seeking out a one-year MBA program, an alternative to the typical two-year programs most common in the United States.  Top tier one year programs are available at places like INSEAD in France, Oxford in the UK, and in the United States at Cornell and Kellogg, among others.

Once you’ve made the decision to attend business school, you will likely find that that your MBA classmates include other candidates with advanced degrees and other professional degrees. Attorneys will typically have strong writing and communication skills when entering, but in many cases, particularly for those lawyers with degrees in the humanities, quantitative aspects of the MBA will be more of a challenge.  Typically, quantitative skills prep courses will be offered during the summer before your first MBA semester to get students with less rigorous math backgrounds up to speed.

Former attorneys completing an MBA will find a range of new career options available as well as access to employers that recruit on B-school campuses.  While some of these MBA-type roles may be available to attorneys without an MBA, the B-school education will give you skills and the business school’s stamp of approval that make you more competitive in landing the most sought after jobs in consulting, finance, marketing and tech.  The network of classmates and business school alumni are also valuable, with alumni often providing opportunities and support for that first job out of business school.

While you may be looking for a career transition, former attorneys should be prepared for a significant adjustment entering a career quite different from the one you left.  Fortunately, for many post-MBA careers, you can say goodbye counting your time in six minute increments.

About the author

Sean Petersen
Corporate Finance Professional


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