Students cram law, business degrees in three years
Peer schools are following Penn’s lead, allowing students to reduce five years of school to three
March 29, 2011, 4:48 am·
An increasing number of Penn students are looking to complete a law and a business degree in three years.
“You’re essentially getting five years’ worth of degrees in three years,” said Colleen France, the associate director of JD/MBA Recruitment and Administration for the Wharton School and the Law School.
Since the inception of the three-year JD/MBA program in 2009, fewer students are interested in pursing a full four-year JD/MBA, France said.
Penn and Yale University were the first schools among the Ivy League to offer a three-year track. Other Ivies have since followed their lead.
Cornell University offered its first three-year program last fall. Next year, Columbia will also adopt a condensed three-year JD/MBA program in addition to a four-year dual-degree program.
Applicants are mainly attracted to the three-year joint programs as they are able to save time and money.
In response to interest in JD/MBA programs, two campus groups have hosted events addressing the advantages of obtaining a joint JD and MBA.
Last Thursday, about 65 people attended a “Law School 101” event hosted by Pre-Law Women at Penn featuring Lauren Foote, a first-year student in Penn’s three-year JD/MBA program.
In addition to saving money and time, College junior and PWP president Sarah Klein said students are interested in pursuing a dual-degree program because “it’s definitely attractive in terms of hiring and looks impressive.”
Penn’s program in particular allows students to earn a JD/MBA from the high-ranking business and law programs at Wharton and Penn Law, Klein said, adding that students are “basically set in terms of a career.”
On Monday, the Wharton Business Law Association hosted a JD/MBA Career Panel in Huntsman Hall with five Penn graduate students enrolled in both the four-year and accelerated three-year JD/MBA programs.
Beyond the attractiveness of spending only three years in graduate school, panelists also discussed the career flexibility awarded to JD/MBA graduates.
College senior Matt Frias, who will be pursuing a JD/MBA next year said that presentation helped him to realize that “the degrees really complement each other in a variety of disciplines and you are more attractive to employers of all kinds.”
Wharton and College sophomore Vandit Shah, the president of the Wharton Business Law Association, added that another draw of a JD/MBA program is the recent recession.
1984 JD/MBA graduate Jodi Schwartz agreed, noting that “in this economy it doesn’t hurt to distinguish yourself.”
The program also provides students with two different ways of analyzing issues and an opportunity to network with both law and business students, 1984 JD/MBA graduate Jeffrey Korchek said.
Korcheck, who is currently vice president of Legal and Business Affairs at Mattel, said while “law is very detail-oriented,” business “lends itself to a broader perspective,” allowing you to consider issues “from both a micro and macro perspective.”