The MBA is a versatile degree. Business school prepares students for a wide variety of potential careers — everything from finance to government to nonprofit to health care to law to education… and more. Because the MBA can help jump-start such a wide variety of careers, obtaining a joint degree can be a smart move in increasing marketability, experience, and knowledge in specific fields.
Previously, we shared some information about two well-known joint degrees: the JD/MBA and the MD/MBA, both of which are offered by a variety of universities. The requirements and structure of these joint degree programs vary widely depending on the institution.
There are many other potential joint and dual degree programs out there (for the record, a joint degree is one in which certain coursework is applied toward both degrees, while a dual degree requires entirely separate coursework but may still be completed simultaneously at one institution). Again, requirements and options vary widely depending on the school — some programs will allow you to submit one application to enter both programs, while others will require students to be admitted at each individual program before embarking on their studies.
Thinking about a joint or dual degree? Here are a few options of possible degrees to pair with your MBA (to see if your dream school offers this joint degree, contact the admissions office or check out their website).
JD: Ideal for those interested in business roles with legal components, or legal roles with business components (M &A; labor relations; business consulting; contracts; regulatory compliance). Check out Northwestern’s program for one sample program structure.
Masters in Education: Ideal for students interested in education management or education policy. Check out Stanford’s program.
Master of Public Health (MPH): Ideal for those interested in healthcare management or health policy, but not interested in obtaining an M.D. For a sample program structure, take a look at Johns Hopkins’ program.
Master of Fine Arts (MFA): Ideal for students interested in the intersection of art (film, visual arts, theatre, etc) and management. For example, students who get an MBA/MFA (Film) might go into television or film production; students who earn an MBA and an MFA in drama are likely interested in pursuing management roles in the world of theatre. Check out the University of Michigan’s dual degree program.
Masters of Architecture: Ideal for students interested in seeing architecture in the context of business and social trends; provides students with the ability to understand business strategy in the architecture field. Check out Washington University in St. Louis’ program.
Masters of Journalism: Ideal for students interested in media organization and management and business communications in addition to journalism best practices and strategies. Check out Columbia’s program.
There are a variety of other joint degree opportunities. While a joint degree can be enormously helpful for those pursuing specific career paths, it is also important to weigh the pros and cons of such a decision. Joint degrees will almost always require more time in school, and, as a result, more tuition money. Be sure that the rewards are worth the additional cost (they often are!).