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Should you apply law school if you are rejected by business school?

April 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

I’ve received quite a few emails from folks who are considering applying law school. It’s interesting what they share in common:

  • they’re all young, smart, and ambitious.
  • they attended well-known undergraduate programs. In fact, several of them graduated from Ivy schools. They have all done exceptionally well throughout their academic careers.
  • they have limited work experience. Most of them have worked one or two years. 
  • they were laid off or just finished Peace Corp./teaching broad/NGO assignment/etc.
  • they got very good scores on the GMAT.
  • they were rejected by top business schools.

They’re desperate. It’s hard for them to accept the fact that they were rejected by business schools. They had believed that business schools would lead them out of unemployment and take them into their professional promise lands. Unfortunately, they didn’t get into business schools. They had to figure out an alternative.

Some of them are studying for LSAT and planning to apply law school in a few months. I ask them if they’re passionate about becoming lawyers. Most of them would tell me that they didn’t really want to work as a lawyer, but it seemed to be the best option for them now.

I disagree. Throughout my career, I have worked and befriended many lawyers. Very few of them enjoyed their work. There are a lot of unhappy, stressed-out, and miserable lawyers in this world.

If you’re not sure that you want to be a lawyer, don’t apply law school. It’s a very expensive investment in term of your money, your time, and your happiness. You’re much better off to spend time to figure out what you want for your life and career. You should pursue a career that

  • you’re good at
  • you’ve a strong interest in
  • you can make enough money to support yourself

It seems to me that the "book-smart" students tend to believe that more schooling will solve their career problems. Neither business school nor law school will solve your career problem. Real-world work experience, failures, and trial-by-errors will help you find your calling, identify your strength, and steer you to the right direction.

Swallow your pride. Get your hands dirty. Work, create, and add values.

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Tags: Go Back to School · MBA · MBA or Not

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 alexselicha // Jul 13, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Love the blog. This post really hit home for me because I was considering law school, but in fact I was trying just to make my parents happy. I'm really not passionate at all about being a lawyer and your advise has definitely reassured me.

    I just graduated from business school (USC – Marshall Undergraduate Program) a year ago and its been tough finding a “brand name company” to work for until I found your post on the BusinessWeek forums: http://forums.businessweek.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx….

    As you mentioned in that post, you wish you had taken more risks such as joining a very early-stage start-up rather than playing it safe to get an MBA. This is exactly what I have done, I'm working for a start-up company called the Clean Green Guy, http://www.cleangreenguy.com/ (the website will be launched very soon) and I really would like hear from you how I should take advantage of my time here. Because my ultimate goal is get into a solid MBA Program. Would love to hear your thoughts.

  • 2 alexselicha // Jul 13, 2009 at 6:15 am

    Love the blog. This post really hit home for me because I was considering law school, but in fact I was trying just to make my parents happy. I'm really not passionate at all about being a lawyer and your advise has definitely reassured me.

    I just graduated from business school (USC – Marshall Undergraduate Program) a year ago and its been tough finding a “brand name company” to work for until I found your post on the BusinessWeek forums: http://forums.businessweek.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx….

    As you mentioned in that post, you wish you had taken more risks such as joining a very early-stage start-up rather than playing it safe to get an MBA. This is exactly what I have done, I'm working for a start-up company called the Clean Green Guy, http://www.cleangreenguy.com/ (the website will be launched very soon) and I really would like hear from you how I should take advantage of my time here. Because my ultimate goal is get into a solid MBA Program. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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