Yale Adds Three-Year JD/MBA Program

Big news coming out of New Haven, Connecticut, as Yale has announced the addition of a three-year JD/MBA program to its graduate school options.

The official name of the program is the “Accelerated Integrated JD-MBA Program,” which is certainly a literal title, as well as a mouthful. It is focused on students interested in “business law,” which sounds specific, but lends itself to all of the careers we typically see from a JD/MBA track, including transactional law, corporate governance, regulatory law, entrepreneurship, and a host of other professional paths. So the thrust of the program doesn’t sound dramatically different from the other three-year programs that are already available at elite universities (Penn, Northwestern, Duke).

However, on closer inspection, there are two significant differences between Yale’s program and the others mentioned above:

1. There is more focus on the law. At the other elite three-year JD/MBA programs, the emphasis is often on the management or finance aspects of the program. This is evident in the way the program is built, but even more so in the way the applications are set up. In particular, the application for the Northwestern three-year program is basically a minor deviation from the Kellogg application, and nearly all of the questions are about leadership, teammwork, work experience, and other “MBA” issues. In the case of Yale, it seems that the program is anchored more in the law school curriculum and I suspect that the application process will reflect that as well.

(Note: This makes sense on an intuitive level, since Yale’s law school is the top ranked law school in the country and is quite a bit more prestigious — relatively speaking — than the School of Management. Certainly, the pairing of Yale Law and Yale SOM represents the greatest disparity in relative ranking strength. In fact, in the case of Penn and Wharton, it is the business school that enjoys the greater ranking prestige relative to its peers. From this, one could surmise that the law school will also be driving the admissions decisions.)

2. No summer classes. I’m not sure how Yale is going to pull this magic trick off (early indications are the complete elimination of electives and “non essential” coursework), but the three-year program is truly three academic years (six semester). In other words, no summer course work. This is a huge deal, because it should reduce tuition costs (for more on the tuition considerations of a JD/MBA, see here), while freeing up both the first and second summers to seek out either legal or business employment experiences.

All told this is a major addition to the three-year JD/MBA options currently available to interested candidates and yet another sign (coming on the heels of Penn announcing its own program last fall) that this degree is enjoying an increase in both popularity and accessibility.

For those interested in learning more about JD/MBA programs, exploring whether the degree might be a good fit, or looking for assistance with a JD/MBA application, please explore our JD/MBA admissions consulting services.