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The Columbia JD MBA Program: What You Need To Know

January 5, 2022
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Part 1: IntroductionPart 2: What is a JD/MBA Degree?Part 3: Overview of the Columbia JD/MBA ProgramPart 4: Columbia JD/MBA Curriculum – Didn’t have a generic curriculumPart 5: Admission Requirements and How to ApplyPart 6: Tips to Get into the Columbia JD MBA ProgramPart 7: JD MBA Career Outlook and SalaryPart 8: FAQsPart 9: Conclusion

You know you are interested in business, but you also enjoy law. Did you know that Columbia University offers an MBA and JD program in one? It offers its outstanding JD/MBA program for students interested in law and business, like you.

You can graduate with a JD/MBA degree relatively quick, whether you choose to enroll in the four-year JD/MBA program or the accelerated three-year JD/MBA program.

This guide will further review what the JD/MBA degree is and provide an overview of the dual-degree program, the curriculum, admission requirements and how to apply. We’ll also offer tips for getting into the Columbia JD/MBA program and the JD/MBA career outlook.

What Is a JD MBA Degree?

A JD/MBA degree is a dual-degree program that incorporates the curriculum required to receive a Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Business Administration (MBA). This degree usually takes about four years to complete, but this depends on which school you plan to attend.

With this joint degree, you earn your JD with the law department and MBA with the business department, meaning you are achieving two degrees simultaneously.

This program exists for students who want to learn how law and business intertwine. If this is you, the JD/MBA dual-degree program is perfect for you.

Overview of the Columbia JD/MBA Program

Whether you choose to pursue the three- or four-year JD/MBA program, the knowledge you’ll obtain will be instrumental in moving forward in your career path.

First-Year JD Program and Curriculum

In your first year of law school (1L), you will build a great foundation in legal concepts, reasoning, and analysis through your first-year foundation curriculum.

The following is the 1L foundation curriculum:

Civil Procedure

  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Foundation-Year Moot Court
  • Legal Methods I and II
  • Legal Practice Workshop I and II
  • Property
  • Torts
  • First-Year Elective

First-Term Courses at Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School’s core curriculum comprises two full-term courses and eight half-term courses.

The following is a layout of your first-term core courses:


  • Lead: People, Teams, Organizations

Full Term

  • Financial Accounting
  • Corporate Finance

First Half

  • Managerial Statistics
  • Strategy Formulation
  • Managerial Economics

Second Half

  • Business Analytics
  • Marketing
  • Global Economic Environment

The following is a layout of your second-term core courses:

  First Half

  • Students will be enrolled in operations management paired with elective classes to fill the time gaps in their schedules. Elective courses are available in block weeks, full-term, and half-term.

Three-Year JD/MBA Program – Academic Overview and Requirements

Columbia University’s three-year JD/MBA program will provide you with cross-disciplinary tools to better help you offer solutions toward today’s challenges in the business world.

You will earn your degree one year sooner when finished with this program, allowing you to merge into the job market earlier than a typical joint-degree program.

In the program, you will:

  • Create a solid foundation in law and business theory, policy, and practice
  • Acquire proficiency and prowess in particular areas of interest through electives
  • Study with acclaimed faculty who help form policy through their cutting-edge research
  • Utilize Columbia University’s strong alumni network in both areas of study

Program Timeline

  • Year One - During your first year, you will spend your time at the Columbia Law School finishing the first-year foundation curriculum requirements.
  • Year Two - You will enroll at the Business School and fulfill the core curriculum requirements for year two. At this time, you can start taking electives at both the Law and Business Schools.
  • Year Three – To complete your third year, you will enroll at the Law School, but you can register for courses at both schools, such as cross-listed classes by the Business School and the Law School.

The following are the JD requirements you must satisfy:

  • All first-year foundation courses
  • A class in professional responsibility
  • A class in legislation and regulations
  • The major writing requirement
  • The minor writing requirement
  • A minimum of 40 hours of pro bono service
  • Six or more points of experiential coursework credit
  • Regarding MBA requirements, while in residence at the business school, you have the opportunity to test out of particular core requirements. You can do this by taking exemption exams before the beginning of classes. However, exempting out of core classes does not lower the total number of business school credits required for the dual degree. You can take electives to replace those courses when you are exempt from the core classes.

Standardized Tests

Applicants can apply to the three-year JD/MBA program using only the GMAT or GRE test score. You will not use the LSAT test score as the complete basis for applying to this program. 

If you plan to submit your LSAT test score for evaluation, you must also submit a valid GMAT or GRE test score.

Four-Year JD/MBA Program – Academic Overview and Requirements

Columbia University’s four-year JD/MBA program helps you incorporate legal knowledge and business intellect, providing you with an exclusive skill set and an edge in the competitive global market.

In the program, you will:

  • Study a mixed and intense course curriculum
  • Obtain expertise in particular fields of interest through electives
  • Seek extracurricular activities in both areas of study
  • Study with acclaimed faculty who help to form policy through their cutting-edge research
  • Utilize Columbia University’s strong alumni network in both areas of study spend three summers working in law and business placements


During Columbia University’s JD/MBA, you will reside at the law school for five semesters and the business school for three semesters.

Once you finish at least one continuous academic year in residence at each school, you can select which of the remaining semesters to spend at each school.

The following are the JD requirements you must satisfy:

  • All first-year foundation courses
  • A class in professional responsibility
  • A class in legislation and regulations
  • The major writing requirement
  • The minor writing requirement
  • A minimum of 40 hours of pro bono service
  • Six or more points of experiential coursework credit

JD students must fulfill six credits of experiential education to graduate. The following experience courses satisfy this requirement:

  • Clinics: Through clinics, you have the opportunity to work on behalf of actual clients and gain valuable experience as a counselor, mediator, litigator, advocate, and educator.
  • DC externship: There are more than 20 externships focused on various areas of law and practice settings. You could participate in criminal defense externships, such as the Bronx Defenders Holistic Defense, Criminal Appeals, and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem Community Defense (a full-year course).
  • Neighborhood Defender Service Community Defense Externship: A criminal defense externship.
  • Lawyering for Social Justice (Pro Bono Scholars Program): This is a full-time externship program designed for three-year law students during the spring semester.

Public Education Policy Seminar and Practicum: Some policy lab offerings are Structural Change in Public Education, Lawyer Leadership: Lead Self, Leading Others, Leading Change, and Empirical Legal Studies Lab.

Admission Requirements and How to Apply

As a part of your admission requirements, you must fulfill 71 law credits and 45 business credits. This is in addition to satisfying the additional requirements and every degree requirement from each school. You can also choose from a spectrum of elective options from both schools in disciplinary areas outside business law.

When applying for the JD/MBA program, you must apply for admission to Columbia Law School and Columbia Business school separately. The admission choices for each school are based on that school’s selection criteria and are decided upon independently.

You would be able to apply to the four-year JD/MBA program during the time of your 1L or 2L year at Columbia Law School or your first year at Columbia Business School.

MBA Application Requirements – Application Checklist

The Columbia Business School requires all information contained within your application to be accurate and your own.

You will need the following to fulfill the MBA application requirements:

  • Transcript of courses and tests for a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution
  • GPA
  • Self-reported, valid GMAT, Executive Assessment, or GRE score
  • Up-to-date professional resume or CV
  • One short-answer question and three essays
  • Recommendation
  • Application submitted/received
  • Interview
  • Application fee
  • Re-applicant checklist
  • Deposits

Tips to Get into the Columbia JD MBA Program

Applying to a school with a low acceptance rate means it’s not only a highly selective college, but it’s also a very competitive application process.

  1. Know the application requirements. The earlier you know this information, the better because you will not have to worry about rushing to prepare and gather necessary documents. As a result, you can spend more time on the details in your application.
  2. Begin working on your application as soon as possible. That way, if you have questions or concerns, you can contact the faculty to help. You will also have plenty of time to gather the documents, scores, and other necessary items required.
  3. Connect with Columbia University alumni. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know. Networking early on can be an advantage to you in the admissions process and future endeavors, like future employment,
  4. Submit outstanding letters of recommendation. One of the ways to accomplish this is by selecting the right person or people you know well.
  5. Earn high grades and test scores. Aim for high standardized test scores and GPAs, as Columbia University places significant weight on them.

JD MBA Career Outlook and Salary

Many jobs are available with a JD/MBA. Some of the possible careers include:

  • Corporate lawyer
  • Management consultant
  • Business lawyer
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) attorney
  • Member of a law firm
  • White-collar criminal advocates
  • Business law professors
  • Politician

Source: SimplyHired

According to SimplyHired, the average salary for JD/MBA professionals is $61,090 per year. The graph below depicts the salary for those in the bottom 10% to those in the top 10%.

The average salary for those in the bottom 10% is $30,510, and the average for those in the bottom 25% is $42,391. The typical salary for professionals in the top 25% is $88,037, while JD/MBA professionals in the top 10% earn an average of $122,321.

Columbia University JD/MBA Post-Graduation

JD/MBA program graduates have found themselves in many major job sectors. Some have dabbled in the public sector, like the Federal Reserve System, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, or US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Some have worked in banking, like at American Express, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, or Wells Fargo. Consulting is another joint sector among graduates.

Some graduates have worked at global law firms, such as Allen & Overy, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Kirkland & Ellis, or Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Other sectors include Bloomberg LP, eBay, Google, National Football League, or AllianceBernstein.

Earning a JD/MBA, especially from recognized universities, can open the door to many career opportunities, but it’s more than that. Your hard work toward gaining valuable experiences and earning high GPAs and other important scores can make you stand out to future employers and give you an edge in a competitive job market.


What careers could you pursue after graduation?

There is a wide range of careers to get into, including politics, academia, international development, domestic and international business, in-house corporate practice, and many more.

What are the benefits of participating in the JD/MBA program?

This program offers priceless training and knowledge for careers where having a deep understanding of law and business is crucial. Knowing law as a business executive can positively impact your ability to evaluate risk or make strategic choices.

What are the benefits of earning an MBA and a JD?

There are numerous benefits to earning an MBA and a JD, like being aware of legal constraints regarding new business ideas, understanding dense material and concepts and seeing the bigger picture, honing in one critical and logical thinking skills, having many opportunities for a lot of different kinds of jobs, and more.

What should be on your resume when applying for the JD/MBA program?

You must submit up to a two-page resume describing your previous and current full- or part-time employment. This may involve internships, summer employment, and community service. You should also include a summary of extracurricular activities.

How many letters of recommendation do you need when applying for the JD/MBA program?

Every JD/MBA applicant must submit two letters of recommendation. Columbia University encourages applicants to send in one professional letter of recommendation and one academic letter of recommendation. If you cannot submit each kind of letter, you must explain your reasoning briefly.

Can you use the same application for the three-year JD/MBA when applying for the four-year JD/MBA?

No, you cannot. Applicants must apply to each school’s JD application and MBA application.


The Columbia University JD/MBA dual degree program offers convenience and flexibility. You can take multiple paths to earn this joint degree, such as choosing a three- or four-year joint degree program.

Participating in the JD/MBA program will help you develop a strong understanding of business and law. It will separate you from other candidates when applying to jobs and give you an edge with legal and business knowledge. 

Overall, this program will aid in landing valuable career opportunities, like domestic and international business or management consulting.

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