Joint Degrees: A great way to explore Davis’s cornucopia of research – by Richard

UC Davis Bike Circle

UC Davis’s huge diversity of research is a great benefit for its MBA students. With 94 graduate programs currently in operation on campus, there are plenty of options for those interested in learning from and partnering with other disciplines. From this, it is unsurprising that the Class of 2014 has five JD/MBA students.

The administration gives a great amount of flexibility for joint degree students to choose a personally tailored curriculum. At the same time, as Michael Van Derwood, JD/MBA Class of 2015, pointed out, “The onus is on the individual student.” It is at times quite challenging to navigate the various graduate programs which are separate from each other, often on different academic calendars, and with different requirements.

From my personal experience, within graduation requirements, both the law and business schools have given me free reign to pursue my goals. In addition to business and law, I am learning Chinese and taking courses geared towards business and law in the environment of the Pacific Rim. Logistics have been quite challenging, but I have been extremely pleased with what I’ve been able to get out of the program.

UC Davis King Hall Law School

As Ryan Lore, a Class of 2014 JD/MBA candidate remarked, “By pursuing a JD/MBA, I am prepared to pursue a career that focuses on the intersection of business and law.” This is the true benefit of Davis’s educational diversity. A great amount the MBA education is refining your ability to work seamlessly with people from varied and differing backgrounds. Working in teams with such a diverse array of perspectives has been my favorite aspect of the Davis MBA.

- Richard Andrews, JD/MBA Candidate, Class of 2015

UC Davis Graduate School of Management

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One thought on “Joint Degrees: A great way to explore Davis’s cornucopia of research – by Richard

  1. I would like to add some additional details about the JD/MBA concurrent degree “program” that, in my opinion, balances the above post. The school does not endorse this comment; it is commentary that comes from my experiences as a UC Davis JD/MBA student. My opinions and experiences do not reflect those of my peers or others in the business school.

    The most important thing to understand about the JD/MBA concurrent degree is that it is NOT a program. A program would be managed. It would take advantage of the different educational opportunities between the schools to create something greater than the sum of the parts. Instead, at Davis, the schools simply have an “agreement” between each other to allow someone to earn a JD and an MBA in four years. Neither administration at each school helps students de-conflict and resolve issues unique to concurrent students. When asked to provide assistance, the business school administration’s response was a curt, “You chose to do this.”

    Below are the major issues. To date, the schools have been unhelpful at resolving them.
    • Cost. The agreement assigns the student as a “law student first.” This means that the school will charge you law school tuition and fees to attend business school. The current law school tuition is over $50,000 per year. We are the most expensive public law school in the nation. The business school is markedly less expensive. No one can answer where the “extra” money is spent, to whom it benefits, or why it is necessary to charge law school tuition and fees while registered as a full-time business student (who does not take law classes).
    • Course scheduling. The schools operate under different schedules. The law school is on the semester system; the business school operates on the quarter system. This creates a tremendous burden when trying to plan course schedules. Furthermore, the law school and business school do not talk to each other: they do not schedule requirements to compliment each other; they do not care about the other school’s schedule or degree requirements; and they do not help students resolve scheduling issues. Concurrent degree students are told to “figure it out” without help from the schools.
    • Career services. The business school’s career services department is not adept at helping JD/MBA students. I have asked the senior members of the business school’s career services department for help pursuing specifically identified opportunities that are within my reach. Their response was disappointing, to say the least. I asked them how they can help me, and what they can and will do to help me. They responded with a list of obvious things that I should do (and that I have already done): “network”, email alumni, attend public events hosted by the industry, join associations related to the industry and function that I want. These suggestions, while “correct” for me, leave me as my sole advocate in my pursuits. That, in my opinion, is a failure. No one should pay $200,000 to be sent off to do the work of career services for himself or herself.
    • Alumni network. The alumni network you should care about is the one that comes from the full-time student program. The school enhances its numbers by including part-time student graduates and those who have taken non-degree awarding coursework.
    • Employment and salary statistics. I recently saw at a list of employers for whom students have worked. This list includes full-time offers and internships. I suggest asking for a list of employers who have offered full-time positions to full-time MBA students. This list will likely be less impressive to you and may surprise you. I have an internship this summer at Disney; another student has an internship at Intel this summer. Both of these companies are remarkable. However, we got these positions because we are military veterans; career services had little, if nothing, to do in our procurement of these positions. Also, I encourage everyone to find out what the salary ranges are, and how many responses went into the calculation of that range. If the school only provides an average, ask for the standard deviation.
    • Core courses. Some courses permit students to “test out” of them, e.g. finance. However, other courses do not permit this option. For example, the “Articulation and Critical Thinking” class is required, even for JD students. The first year of law school should permit an automatic waiver from this course. JD students’ writing, speaking, and critical thinking abilities are superior to those of incoming MBA students and we do not need this course.

    There are other issues that are bothersome, but not particularly obnoxious. Please contact me if you have any questions about this comment. Thank you.

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