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Business and Law Schools Join Forces for New Joint Programs

Several top business schools have partnered with law schools in recent months to announce new joint programs that offer alternatives to the traditional four-year JD/MBA, the Graduate Management Admissions Council reports.

For example, Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School this September will launch a new three-year JD/MBA program, in addition to their four-year joint program. In  offering a three-year accelerated program, Columbia joins other top schools such as the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern and Yale.

In Europe, meanwhile, INSEAD is partnering with Paris 2-Panthéon-Assas, the law school at the Sorbonne, for a new master of laws degree program. And Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business will collaborate with O.P. Jindal Global University on a new master’s degree in business and law.

Combining the study of law and business holds appeal for both those who see themselves as primarily lawyers and those who see themselves as primarily business people, GMAC notes.

“I think we are bringing value to both sides,” Amir Ziv, dean and professor of accounting at Columbia Business School, told GMAC. “Lawyers who are trained in business are better lawyers, and business people who are lawyers are better business people.”

Columbia Law School Dean David M. Schizer agreed, pointing out that the rigorous style of thinking that lawyers learn is valuable to leaders in all contexts and that the quantitative analysis and teamwork taught in business school is increasingly useful to lawyers today.

As for the addition of an accelerated three-year joint degree program to its existing four-year program, Columbia’s move is a response to student demand to get back into the working world quickly. To advance students quickly toward both degrees, the accelerated program will feature cross-listed courses that will be team-taught by faculty from both the business and law schools.

At Kelley, meanwhile, the collaboration with OP Jindal in India is part of a larger effort to engage in emerging markets, Munirpallam Venkataramanan, associate dean of programs at the IU Kelley School of Business, said.

“Collaborations going across business and law have been going globally from some time,” he told GMAC. Unlike business, which is increasingly becoming a common global language, many aspects of law remain locally based, he said. Therefore, joint programs and other such partnerships that give people working as part of global business entities the ability to understand local laws are becoming more and more relevant.

Venkataramanan predicts that there will be more collaboration with business schools across disciplines and across countries. “In the long run, these types of programs will happen in various fields. Every field is going to have to collaborate with businesses, because business has gone global, both out of necessity and opportunity,” he said.

For the complete GMAC story, click here.

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