MBA vs. Juris Doctor: Which Degree Is More Rewarding?

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Taking business notes

When choosing between career paths, it can be a challenge to know which will be the most rewarding. This is particularly true for those interested in pursuing further education who are deliberating between a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) vs. a Juris Doctor degree (JD). Completing either of these graduate programs can help professionals obtain challenging and rewarding positions in various competitive industries. But these degrees and the respective opportunities that can come from obtaining them aren’t wholly equal, with the benefits of a business degree potentially outweighing those of a JD in the long run. The rewards can be vast and lucrative for those choosing between an MBA vs. JD, but what is right for each student will depend on the individual’s talents and career aspirations and how those align with each degree.

Master of Business Administration

An MBA is an advanced business degree that can prepare students for a wide variety of careers in the fields of marketing, finance, and human resources, among others. PayScale reports that MBA program graduates make an average of $84,000 annually. For those considering pursuing an MBA, the New Jersey Institute of Technology offers students three online-only specializations to prepare them for their career path of choice, including management and information systems, marketing, and finance.

Juris Doctor Degree

A JD degree is an advanced law degree that represents a doctorate in the legal profession. The Houston Chronicle reports that JD degree holders make an average salary of $137,180 annually. The path to obtaining a Juris Doctor degree is more complicated than that for an MBA candidate, requiring students to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as part of the admissions process for law school. Additionally, once a student obtains his or her JD degree from an American Bar Association–certified university, he or she still needs to pass the state bar examination to be certified to practice law in his or her state.

Duration of Study

Those comparing an MBA to a JD need to understand how long it takes to obtain each degree. JD degrees generally take three years to earn, although some students can graduate in a two-year accelerated program. MBAs generally require two years of study in a full-time program. However, business students who wish to speed up their degree completion may work around their existing professional schedules or opt to take an accelerated course of study, perhaps by choosing an online program that allows them to complete their coursework on their own schedule.

Career Outlook

An MBA can open the door to a wide range of rewarding professions for graduates, including chief marketing officer (CMO), operations analyst, or analytics manager, along with many other promising and profitable career opportunities in business, marketing, or finance. A JD degree, on the other hand, is one of the stepping stones necessary for those who want to practice law in the United States. According to Forbes, careers are available in the following industries to those with advanced legal degrees: government and politics, academia, banking and finance, conflict resolution, public interest and advocacy, and more. Lawyers also have the option to open a private law practice to run their own businesses, but without a JD it is impossible for MBA graduates to legally practice law. However, an MBA can provide the groundwork to access many of today’s highly desired management positions.


When students are assessing the differences between MBA programs and JD programs as far as career opportunities available to graduates, it is important to note that careers in law and business can both be lucrative. While a JD is essential for those who want to practice law, MBAs are typically more versatile and can lead to a wider range of career opportunities. Forbes reports, “If you are pursuing a career in a specialized area such as banking, investment banking, finance, and, actually, the arts, then an MBA is often critical.”

The question for students, then, becomes whether they want to commit themselves to practicing law, or working in a law-related profession, or pursuing a business degree that grants them access to a wide range of desirable careers in business, finance, or marketing. For students who need the flexibility that an online degree can provide, the New Jersey Institute of Technology might be the answer. The New Jersey Institute of Technology gives students the opportunity to pursue an MBA with a tech-driven curriculum, so they can emerge well-versed in the latest technologies and ready to take on the world.

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Our online MBA program at New Jersey Institute of Technology is designed to prepare motivated, tech-savvy management professionals with the business expertise and technical knowledge vital for success.