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MBA vs JD?

I'm looking to advance my skills, and ultimately go into business for myself. I am really confused as to what is really the best choice for myself. Basically, I strongly feel the only real way I can have some manipulation over my financial and employment future is to either become a professional of some sort, or take a gamble and go into business for myself. After, assessing myself, personality wise and so forth I feel the best two choices I have is to either become a lawyer, or start my own business of some sort. I recently got laid off due to the economy, and my past employer finding ways to cut back on payroll. I want to insulate myself from this ever happening again to myself. Yes, I know if you go into business you can easily go bankrupt or get sued. Basically my question is it better to get an M.B.A. and create your own business and/or buy an existing business, or is it better to spend the time and become a lawyer, or is it better to forget education and launch a business?

3 Answers

  • IG64
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    let me start by saying I have both degrees you are thinking of a JD and a MBA.

    A JD and your not guaranteed you can get hired as a lawyer... only graduates from top school with top grades can pretty much be guaranteed of a job. Get a JD from a no name school and you could easily find yourself unemployed and having to take a job outside of law to repay 3 years of school debt. So unless you are capable of getting into a top 20 law school and want to be a lawyer/judge/professor don't go to law school.

    A MBA can make it easier to get a job in a big corporation, but it also makes it more difficult to get a job working for a smaller company because they will often think they can't afford you. The upside compared to a JD is it is only 2 years of debt (actually some places offer a 1 year version if you are a recent enough undergrad business student). Don't expect that an MBA will allow you to change careers/industries, in my case I had experience in the energy industry before getting and MBA... the only companies that made me any offers were oil companies... and the only management consulting offer I got was to work in their energy department... and I only had 2 years of experience after undergrad so it wasn't like I expected to be pigeon holed, but I was. I am willing to bet that you would find yourself pigeon holed into the career/industry you are in now even after you went through a MBA program.

    Doing neither... well. Frankly it would save you a considerable amount of money. The real question is whether you have the money and enough basic business background to start and run your own business. If you have a good idea and a good business sense then just go and do it. A MBA will really only leave you with the ability to more easily get a job working for someone else... and because of the debt you'll have when you complete it you'll find you have to work for someone else to pay off the debt... then maybe start a business on your own at a later date.

  • 1 decade ago

    Here's just my personal experience. Where I live is an economic black hole. I may be living a subpar existence.

    As an undergraduate, I majored in Finance. I had several years of experience. I debated MBA vs. JD. I went with the JD because:

    1) Many of the MBA classes repeated courses that I already

    took as an undergraduate. Waivers weren't an option as I

    graduated more than five years earlier.

    2) I thought that the JD was a more impressive credential.

    3) Businesses are regulated by laws. Focusing my electives

    on business laws complemented my undergraduate

    degree. I took Employment Law, Real Estate

    Transactions, etc. I could not get those classes in the

    typical MBA program.

    4) The JD is marketed as a 'do-all' degree.

    5) I would learn a trade and could be licensed to practice.

    6) I was in I/T and the outsourcing was beginning.

    The outcome:

    1) Significant and overwhelming educational debt.

    2) Wages too low. On the fast track to poverty.

    3) It's hard to transition into alternative career jobs because no one really wants to believe that you don't want to practice law in its most traditional sense. They don't understand that legal secretaries get paid more than new Attorneys and that you have bills to pay and want to eat.

    4) I was laid off three years ago. Since going into the law, I've lost 30K + in income over the past three years.

    5) If you work for yourself, can you afford health insurance?

    My vote is to forget education. If I could do it over, I would not go to law school. There is no such thing as "good-debt" that people like to claim an education is. I can't figure out how this "good-debt" will ever be paid. As far as business, if you can have basic accounting knowledge,have compassion and great interpersonal skills, understand customer service, and how to treat your employees, you'd be far ahead of many managers including MBAs or JDs.

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago


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