In response to the questions shared by law students aspiring to pursue MBA from the top IIMs, two law graduates from the top IIMs decided to answer their queries. This post comprises of a series of Q&As that will provide an insight into CAT after LLB and admission into the IIMs for law students.
IIM After Law
Q: People say diversity is an important factor that IIMs take into account, but what kind of a profile should a law undergrad have so that his/her application is strong and distinctive (apart from academics)?
Apart from academics, which are an important part of one’s profile, especially for freshers, achievements like getting published in a reputed journal, moot court winnings, prestigious internships add weight to one’s CV. Being involved with research and other projects in your college, holding important positions of responsibility and having excelled in extra-curriculars are other things which make you stand out. Your CV should represent the impact of the work you did in your internship or job and how well you utilized your time in law school.
To demonstrate one’s inclination towards particular roles, it is also preferable to add things to your CV pertaining to the same. For example, if one is interested in marketing, it may help to have digital marketing courses on your CV.
Q: What kind of job opportunities open up for a law-MBA professional?
Opportunities combining a legal and an MBA degree do not usually come to campus. Campus recruiters are looking for competent people in general, regardless of their educational background. Therefore, the standards for getting a shortlist to an interview are much the same for lawyers as for other students.
A legal background may catch recruiters’ attention only because it’s different from the other profiles they’re likely to see, but apart from that, a degree in law confers no particular benefits upon its holders; neither is it an impediment for getting access to most roles, except perhaps highly technical roles like in product management. As a lawyer, when you get selected for an interview or a job, it will be because of your achievements in general and not because of the degree per se.
Q: What benefit does a law student have over other candidates for the PI? What kind of questions one should expect from the panel?
Law and MBA being an unconventional combination, the panel would be very interested to hear about your educational or career trajectory, and more specifically why you have chosen to pursue an MBA and what you hope to achieve out of it. Technical legal questions have a low probability of showing up, though it’s not out of the question. And it’s always a good idea to keep yourself aware of current affairs when you prepare for the interview.
Lawyers have a higher chance of converting interviews to admissions, simply because the ratio of seats to interview calls is relatively higher. Other than that, there is no advantage to lawyers in PI, although structured way of writing may help in WAT.
Q: What are the difficulties or challenges a law student might experience on campus as opposed to other candidates?
On campus, a law student has to compete with people who already have many years’ worth of educational background or work experience in some of the compulsory subjects like quantitative methods, accountancy or managerial computing. Therefore, law students have to spend a lot more time and effort to keep up with their peers in these subjects. However, there are quite a few qualitative subjects as well where law students should face no difficulty at all.
Q: Is it possible to clear CAT in 5th year of law without any coaching with 3-4 hours of daily practice for a year or is more time required in your opinion?
The time requirement for exam preparation cannot be generalized since it depends on a host of factors like the quality of your materials, calibre of the individual etc. However, if one cannot go for coaching, they can definitely start with practicing questions on their own and keep tracking their performance. If they don’t see their scores reaching competitive levels by the summer, they can then join a classroom coaching program, or an online test series to fill the gaps in their preparation.
Q: Since I have not been in touch with Quants since a long time, what would you suggest – how should one prepare for this section?
The preparation strategy for a lawyer is not much different than that for other students. Yes, we have been out of touch with Quant and therefore we need to spend more time and effort on it than others. But some institutions understand the limitations of our background, and therefore the percentage cut offs are a little lower for us. However, this holds only for a few institutions where diversity is considered important. And in any case, this should not deter one from giving the exam their best shot.
Q: Does taking subjects that are more finance oriented (e.g. laws of banking, insolvency, etc.) make for a better profile or do the subjects of LLB not matter in profile building?
Banking and insolvency may appear relevant for finance roles, but companies prefer people with finance background in terms of qualifications like CA, CFA or prior work experience in the field. One cannot generalize as to which subjects work better from an MBA recruiter point of view. Besides, the mere completion of a course in college may not be sufficient to qualify as expertise without more to substantiate it, like internships, papers or moots.
Rather than going for particular subjects, one is better off choosing subjects they are comfortable with and can score well in, since a good GPA is always in demand, no matter what the career profile. If one is interested in finance or any other kind of role, opting for courses in that domain within your MBA course would be more helpful.
Q: Who should do an MBA after law in your opinion?
Corporate jobs after MBA are different in many ways from legal corporate jobs, for example, in terms of the nature of work, work-life balance etc. For those looking to switch into careers in business, like in marketing or analytics, as opposed to legal careers, like in litigation or corporate law, an MBA would definitely help open up diverse horizons.
Some law firms also prefer lawyers with an MBA for managerial positions, but it is considered an advantage, not a necessity. So if you’re planning to go for a legal career, an MBA would not bring a lot of benefit.
Hope these answers shared by the law graduates help you make a better career decision going forward. If you're a law student with more questions on this subject, please feel free to put them in the comments.
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