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Q: Law Degree vs. MBA ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Law Degree vs. MBA
Category: Reference, Education and News > Job and Careers
Asked by: shabazz22-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 05 Jul 2006 19:54 PDT
Expires: 04 Aug 2006 19:54 PDT
Question ID: 743697
If someone wants to be involved in international business and foreign
affairs, which would be better to pursue, a law degree or an M.B.A? 
Is it better to pursue the degree that appeals more on a basic
interest?
Answer  
Subject: Re: Law Degree vs. MBA
Answered By: keystroke-ga on 05 Jul 2006 20:50 PDT
 
Hi shabazz22,

When you say, "Is it better to pursue the degree that appeals more on a basic
interest?" do you mean your own basic interest? I must agree with this
idea.  Choosing what YOU want to do with your life is more important
than anything that anyone or any website can tell you.  The only thing
that will work for you is what you want to do the most and what helps
you find the most joy.

If I were you, I would set concrete, specific goals for myself and
really examine what I want to do. Do you want to be involved in
international business or international law or international politics?
 More of the essence, do you want to be a businessman (a CEO/corporate
manager-type worker), or a lawyer, or involved in politics and foreign
policy (which I add because you mention "foreign affairs") as a
diplomat-type person?  If you don't want to be a lawyer, there is no
sense in going to law school if you would rather be involved in
business school.  But if you really want to be involved in the legal
aspect of international business, law school could be the best route
for you to achieve that.  Only you can answer these questions, and the
answers will provide the best path for you to take to a career in
international business.  Either way-- MBA or law school-- can get you
there, but it depends what exactly you want to do when you're there
that will help you decide what's best for your future.

Now, I'll provide you with information on both of these types of degrees.

International business can be entered into via either an MBA or a JD. 
There are even law schools that cater specifically to the desire to
merge international business with law, such as:
http://www.brooklaw.edu/centers/ibl/

Here is a list of their courses:
http://www.brooklaw.edu/centers/ibl/curriculum.php

You can click on each course to read a description. Do those courses
appeal to you? Would you enjoy learning about those subjects, and
dealing with those subjects as an attorney? This is an excellent way
to ascertain whether you enjoy the legal aspects of law rather than
simply the business side. You could also attend classes at a nearby
law school in similar subjects, to see if you engage with the subject
matter and deem it worthy of three years of your time in law school.

For international business in and of itself, an MBA degree would
probably be more directly applicable than a law degree.  But again,
this depends on personal preference, ability and experience. Most
Fortune 500 CEOs don't even have an MBA!  Some of them have law
degrees, and some of them didn't graduate from college. You could even
become involved in international business without either of these
degrees.

A good way to really apply yourself and show your commitment to an
international business philosophy would be to actually attend business
school internationally.  An example of this would be to attend the
London School of Economics (LSE) or IMD(International Institute for
Management Development) in Switzerland.  You would show any potential
employers that you truly have a global outlook-- for a career in
international business, that can't hurt.  Many Americans attend
business school internationally, and for good reason, according to the
Princeton Review. These schools "provide students from the U.S. with
programs tightly focused on global business theory and practice within
impressively multicultural populations."  Moreso than American
schools, these international schools posture themselves as being at
the forefront of providing international leaders of business.

The Princeton Review's website says, "One applicant who recently chose
to attend Oxford's Sad Business School over Yale's School of
Management gained a similar perspective in her analysis of both
schools. The woman, who now runs a boutique international finance
firm, explains, 'The strong sense I received from admissions
professionals at Oxford was that an Austrian student, for example,
will be encouraged to lend his or her perspective on the workings of
Austrian business during discussions. In general, American business
schools do more to teach that Austrian how to conform to American
business culture and practice.'"

If you plan on actually working abroad, attending school abroad would
be a great idea.  Top companies that locate workers abroad recruit at
those European schools.  However, choose your school wisely-- if you
go to school in the Netherlands, you'll probably land a job in the
Netherlands, not Switzerland.  It's similar to how law firms accept
local law school graduates in the U.S.  Most US business school grads
find work in America, whereas European grads find work in Europe. 
Most American firms recruit at European business schools for their
offices in London, so if you have any desire to land a job there after
graduation, that could be a reason for going European.

If you would rather go to law school, that could easily lead to a fine
career in the international business world, also. All those companies
in the world need corporate attorneys, and lots of them. Many American
law schools provide for summers abroad in Italy, China or almost
anywhere you could want, and many of them even allow you to study
abroad for a full school year. Like an international MBA, this could
be a great way to gain an international perspective.  The John
Marshall Law School in Chicago, seen here:

http://www.jmls.edu/academics/ibt_law/ibt_main.shtml

offers international exchanges, visiting scholars, and international
perspectives that could help greatly with a business career.  Some
programs, such as this one:

http://www.law.suffolk.edu/academic/international-llm/

even offer co-teaching by American and European professors.  There are
many, many ways to get a law degree and just as many to find a way to
apply it to an international perspective.

Now, in conclusion, there is another option-- a joint law degree and
MBA!  This could satisfy both desires.  Joint degrees are awarded by
many colleges in the US.  An MBA usually takes two years to complete
and a law degree three; joint programs usually involve the student
taking four years to complete both. One must apply and be accepted to
both degree programs. These programs, needless to say, are highly
marketable to potential employers.

Sources:
http://www.princetonreview.com/mba/research/articles/find/internationalMBAs.asp
http://www.princetonreview.com/mba/research/profiles/generalinfo.asp?listing=1011024&LTID=2
http://www.princetonreview.com/mba/research/articles/find/internationalDifferences.asp
http://www.brooklaw.edu/centers/ibl/
http://www.brooklaw.edu/centers/ibl/curriculum.php
http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/admissions/degreeprograms/
http://law.vanderbilt.edu/admiss/joint.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Search terms:
"international MBA programs" 
"law school international business"
"joint mba law degree"

I hope that I've helped you and if you need any more help or
clarification, I'll be glad to help.  Good luck with your decision
making process!

--keystroke-ga
Comments  
Subject: Re: Law Degree vs. MBA
From: markvmd-ga on 05 Jul 2006 21:07 PDT
 
Neither. Economics.
Subject: Re: Law Degree vs. MBA
From: nelson-ga on 05 Jul 2006 22:11 PDT
 
I was an econ. major.  It is a lot of theory with little appicability
outside academics or "think tanks".  My current "career" does not use
my economics education.
Subject: Re: Law Degree vs. MBA
From: myoarin-ga on 06 Jul 2006 09:00 PDT
 
Excellent answer.

You should consider language skills.  Europeans involved in foreign
business will speak their native language and fluent English and at
least one other language.
They probably will have spent a year studying in the country of the
language(s), either having learned the language in upper school or
through a crash course.

I mention this not to deter your interest in foreign business or
affairs, just to let you know what the expectations of employers are.

As Keystroke has mentioned, where you have studied, the language(s)
you speak will probably be lead to a job in  - or dealing with -  that
country  (pretty self-evident).

PS:  I agree with Nelson.  A German banker I know, who studied
economics, says that he draws on only 5% of what he learned.  Maybe a
bit underestimated, but it is also his orientation when hiring staff.
(He speaks English, Spanish and  - after a crash course -  French,
which allowed him to becoming country manager in Paris.)

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