Pros and Cons of MBA Dual Degree Programs

Should you get an MBA dual degree?

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A dual degree program, also known as a double degree program, is a type of academic program that allows you to earn two different degrees. MBA dual degree programs result in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and another type of degree. For example, JD/MBA degree programs result in a Juris Doctor (JD) and an MBA degree, and MD/MBA programs result in Doctor of Medicine (MD) and an MBA degree.

In this article, we'll take a look at a few more examples of MBA dual degree programs and then explore the pros and cons of earning an MBA dual degree.

Examples of MBA Dual Degree Programs

JD/MBA and MD/MBA degree programs are popular options for MBA candidates who want to earn two different degrees, but there are many other types of dual MBA degrees. Some other examples include:

  • MBA and Master of Science in Urban Planning
  • MBA and Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)
  • MBA and Master of International Affairs (MIA)
  • MBA and Master of Science in Journalism
  • MBA and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • MBA and Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • MBA and Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • MBA and Master of Science in Social Work
  • MBA and Master of Arts in Education
  • MBA and Master of Science in Data Science

Although the above degree programs are examples of programs that award two graduate-level degrees, there are some schools that allow you to earn an MBA in conjunction with an undergraduate degree.

For example, Rutgers School of Business has a BS/MBA dual degree program that awards an MBA in conjunction with a Bachelor of Science in accounting, finance, marketing, or management.

Pros of MBA Dual Degree Programs

There are many pros of an MBA dual degree program. Some of the advantages include:

  • Flexibility: If you have academic or career goals that involve multiple disciplines or require multiple areas of expertise, an MBA dual degree program can help you maximize your graduate education and gain the knowledge and skills you need to achieve your goals. For example if you want to practice law at someone else's firm, you probably don’t need an MBA dual degree, but if you want to open your own law firm, work with mergers and acquisitions, or specialize in contract negotiations, an MBA degree can give you an edge over other people in your field.
  • Career Advancement: An MBA dual degree could fast-track your career and make you eligible for promotions that might take longer to get or not be available without an MBA. For example, an MD may be perfectly suited to work on the clinical side of a primary care practice but may not have the business skills needed to run a primary care office or work in a non-clinical administrative position. With hospital administrators earning more on average than the doctors who work for the hospital and the need for healthcare reform on the rise, an MBA could be a valuable asset for physicians.
  • Savings: An MBA dual degree program could save you time (and maybe even money). When you earn dual degrees, you could spend less time in school than you would if you earned the degrees separately. For example, it will take you four years to complete a traditional bachelor's degree program and another two years to earn a master's degree. A BS/MBA program, one the other hand, could be completed in just five years.

Cons of MBA Dual Degree Programs

Although there are many pros of MBA dual degrees, there are cons that you should consider before applying to a program. Some of the drawbacks include:

  • Time commitment: Earning two different degrees means you will have to spend more time in school than you would if you were earning just one degree. For example, most full-time MBA programs take two years to complete. If you are earning a JD/MBA, you will need to spend at least three years in school (in an accelerated program) or four to five years in school in a traditional JD/MBA program. This could mean taking more time off work, more time away from family, or putting other life plans on hold.
  • Financial commitment: A graduate-level education isn’t cheap. Top MBA programs are notoriously expensive, and earning an MBA dual degree is even more expensive. Tuition varies from school to school, but you could end up spending $50,000 to $100,000 per year on tuition and fees.
  • Return on Investment: Although an MBA education can be helpful for professionals who are opening their own business or working in a management or leadership capacity, there isn't any job that officially requires an MBA dual degree. For example, you don't need an MBA to practice law, medicine, or dentistry, and an MBA is not a requirement in other professions like engineering, social work, etc. If an MBA isn't essential (or valuable) to your career path, it may not be worth the time or financial investment. 
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Schweitzer, Karen. "Pros and Cons of MBA Dual Degree Programs." ThoughtCo, Jun. 1, 2017, thoughtco.com/mba-dual-degree-pros-and-cons-4141155. Schweitzer, Karen. (2017, June 1). Pros and Cons of MBA Dual Degree Programs. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/mba-dual-degree-pros-and-cons-4141155 Schweitzer, Karen. "Pros and Cons of MBA Dual Degree Programs." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/mba-dual-degree-pros-and-cons-4141155 (accessed November 20, 2017).