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2012 Penn Wharton JD/MBA Admissions Q&A with Colleen France

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Audio for Q&A (Click to listen now, or right click and choose “Save As” to download and listen later.)

Linda Abraham: Hello! My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today’s Q&A. First, I want to welcome all applicants to the Q&A today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about Penn Wharton’s JD/MBA Joint program. It is absolutely critical for you decision making process and your admission chances that you know as much as you can about the schools and the programs you are applying to. Being here today, I will ask you to ask our experts about this top, top Joint MBA/JD program.

I also want to give a special welcome to Colleen France, Associate Director for JD/MBA Recruitment and Administration at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and The Wharton School.

Thanks to you all for joining. I am going to take advantage of my position as moderator and ask Colleen what is new at the Penn Wharton JD/MBA program.

Colleen France: Hi! Sure, thanks, Linda. So, what is new? Well, we just recently closed our Round 1 for admissions and had a really strong round. We are looking to extend invitations on a rolling basis between now and next Friday. Our candidates will be hearing from us about going forward with the interview process. We have already started to get some applications in for round 2 but the deadline for that is not until January 4. I assume that we had some people that just missed the round 1 deadline and decided to apply a little bit early since their application was done. We have had a 50% increase in applications from our current 1L class, the Penn 1L’s. We actually allow students to apply jointly to the program from outside of the university or we allow Penn first year law students to apply and join the cohort a little bit later during their first year of law school.

Linda Abraham: That is great.

Colleen France: What is also new is that we have a newly appointed JD/MBA student association that is really active in working to market the program and make sure that the students are exploring the best possible career options. They also are working with admission and faculty around Penn, Law and Wharton. That has been really successful lately too.

Linda Abraham: Great. That is great. When you mentioned that your round 1 applications were up, that is just for the JD/MBA? Or is that MBA applications as a whole, do you know?

Colleen France: I do not actually. I only deal with the JD/MBA program and applications were up this year and we are looking for a strong round 2 as well. So, I am not sure on that figure.

Linda Abraham: Okay, no problem. Since there is only one application, it is basically Wharton’s application; can a person be accepted to just one part of the program? Theoretically, can you just be accepted to Wharton and not to Penn Law or vice versa?

Colleen France: Yes, while it is a joint application, that's just basically to streamline the entire process for candidates. I think that it really represents the true integrated nature of the program, but given admissions committees on both Wharton and Law review the applications and then make the decision, it certainly can be the case that a student who applies could be accepted to Wharton and not the Law school, or vice versa. We actually have cases of that in the past.

Linda Abraham: Great. With whom do applicants interview, do they interview with the Law school? Do they interview with Wharton?

Colleen France: They interview with Wharton, either a member of the admissions committee or an admissions fellow, which is either a first or second year MBA student. The Law school does not require interviews as part of their application process, so they end up with just interviewing with Wharton.

Linda Abraham: I know Wharton had the four year Joint degree for a very long time, is this the first or the second year of three year degree program?

Colleen France: This is actually the third year of the program which is exciting. We have three classes matriculating in the program right now which is the first time for that.

Linda Abraham: You are going to have your first graduating class, right?

Colleen France: Yes, this coming spring. It is really hard to believe and also really exciting at the same time. Just to be able to look at the success of the program and the success of the candidates in the program. We can only have about a dozen students in each class, we still have students in the four year program and I think we are at a grand total of about in the low 40s, 40 some students receiving their JD/MBA while at Penn. It is a really strong cohort.

Linda Abraham: That is great. What do you see as, and obviously one is longer and one is shorter, but what are the other differences between the four year Joint program and the three year Joint program?

Colleen France: We do still offer the four year program and we still have candidates interested in it. We had a few four year applications, but certainly, the number has gone down since the three year program has gained traction. The four year program makes sense for certain candidates individually. Usually it is people who either are very unsure about their career goals and really do not know if they want to do law or business post graduation. They do not feel that splitting the one summer opportunity that they have between law and business will give them the flavor of knowing what they want to do post graduation. The other set of students that look at the four year program versus the three year programs are those that are very interested in either a very nuanced section of the law or business and want to further pursue that. The curriculum is structured such that it is very rigorous. These students are getting five years worth of degrees in a three year program. There is not much room for exploration in terms of trying out classes or really delving in to something beyond the ability to get a major at Wharton and to fulfill a business law curriculum at a Law school. I think a perfect example of this, which is a nice field for people to go into who are interested in the obtaining the JD/MBA is something like IT, that requires a good amount of course work in something that is going to be outside the normal business law and business type courses.

Linda Abraham: True.

Colleen France: That would be a good example for someone going down the path of getting the four year JD/MBA. Frankly, you get to be in school for four years, which has its pluses and minuses.

Linda Abraham: It really does. I do have a couple of questions from the applicants. Paul asks, "I have a non-traditional background, going into the military and then finishing a finance program at MSU. How much more difficult is it to get into the JD/MBA with less than fewer years of relevant business work experience?"

Colleen France: Sure. Relevance is what you are going to make of it and military experience is certainly something that is valued at both Penn Law and Wharton. We have quite a few military folks in the program and they are doing very well. Just looking at the class profile of the general MBA population, it is not a traditional finance path coming into Wharton. The same holds true for JD/MBA students.

The backgrounds that we have for the students coming into the program are so varied. We go from investment banking and hedge funds, to consulting, military, public service, government work, we have retail and things like that. There really is not a traditional career path coming into the program and I think that speaks to the excellent reasons for getting the JD/MBA which affords students so much career flexibility after the program. It does not put somebody to any sort of disadvantage to come from "non-traditional background". To any of the callers on the line right now, my contact information is provided so if want to reach out to me directly I can put you in contact with current students in the program and our military folks would, I am sure, be happy to talk further to you about that.

Linda Abraham: Okay, great. Shawna asks, "For the accelerated three year JD/MBA program at UPenn, if an undergraduate student would like to enter both programs directly, how does UPenn treat the full time work experience criteria?" I assume directly from college.

Colleen France: Because the applications are reviewed from each the Law school and the Wharton school, the general guidelines and requirements for getting in to each program need to be met for the JD/MBA candidates. That said, there's actually no work experience requirement at Wharton. It is a number that comes out to about four years of work experience just based on the time that people are ready to join business school and think about their career options for graduate education. The general work experience for the JD/MBA students also falls around four years but we do have students in the program who have less than two years work experience.

Typically, what we are looking for is leadership capabilities, professionalism skills, and knowing how to work on a team. Things that having professional work experience afford people, that they may not get during undergrad. That is really the reason and the rationale behind the work experience. It is not like a magic or required number that is put forth to students.

Students who have really involved undergraduate extracurricular activities, or maybe they have really involved internships where they took on leadership roles and they were given a lot of responsibility that are sort of, "beyond their years" can feel free to apply to the program. That said, it is really rare for students to go straight through from undergrad to business school. Typically, they feel that they are not able to as greatly contribute to the class because they do not bring that real world experience to the classroom and to their learning teams and things like that.

Linda Abraham: It is possible that it might be a little bit more challenging for somebody that actually goes through.

Colleen France: Sure. Especially, just what a student will get out of the MBA program without work experience; I think that it may be detrimental to their learning path to not be able to contribute their worldly experiences.

Linda Abraham: Do you have anybody in the program that has entered it directly from college?

Colleen France: We do, actually. We have one student in the program that went straight from undergrad and he is one of those people that I was just mentioning with amazing leadership experience. He had been given opportunities beyond what you would really see in a typical college student.

Linda Abraham: Beyond his years.

Colleen France: Exactly.

Linda Abraham: Okay. Craig asks, "Can you speak with diversity in your current JD/MBA classes? Has that varied as the three year program had evolved in the last few years?"

Colleen France: It is a pretty diverse group. In each of the classes in the cohort, I will just use the number 12 across the board because it is pretty accurate, there are about 30-35% of students color and 30-35% women in the cohort. We have been looking at growing the program as we gain traction and go through admission cycles where the program becomes more popular with candidates. Especially as the markets keep shifting and the need for a legal background to conduct business in the highly regulated markets become more and more necessary. The diversity of the classes has certainly been growing since we first launched the program.

Linda Abraham: Okay. What are the typical careers that graduates of the Joint degree program go into and does it differ? I guess it might be hard to answer the question since you are just graduating your first class, but do some members of the graduating class already have offers? Do you see some patterns developing in terms of career opportunities? Are they in any way different from the four year program if you are in the three year program?

Colleen France: While we haven’t had any graduating classes yet, we did just have our first class go through their second year summers. What we found was about half of them went to law firms and the other half went to business internships. More of those that went to law firms went to New York firms to do corporate type law work, M&A, bankruptcy etc. Of those that went into business, a few went to private equity firms and restructuring firms. One was at Google in their legal department in a semi-management role. It does vary and we have a few people that split their summers between private equity and restructuring or between law firms and businesses.

A few law firms in New York have fellowship programs with some of the major banks in New York, so those are definitely slots that the JD/MBA are looking at. Our class that is in their second year now, the first year Wharton students, they tilt slightly more towards going to business than law. I think that what we have been seeing is those that do want to go into law, most of them are interested in doing a few years at a law firm and then making a switch over to business. Realizing that they are going to get really solid training as corporate lawyers or M&A lawyers or whatever it may be at some of the top firms in the world. Then taking those skills and utilizing them, maybe by going to a hedge fund, an investment bank, private equity or venture capitalist firm.

We have a monthly lunch series with alumni who are either four year JD/MBA graduates, are lawyers working in business environments or MBA graduates who deal with regulated markets or deal regularly with the intersection of law and business. They come once a month and do a lunch presentation for the students just to talk about the many various careers that this degree can open doors for.

Linda Abraham: It is very broad. This is very much related to what we have been discussing, Andrew asks, "Now that the first class of the three year program is getting ready to graduate, how different is their transition into the job market than those of the four year program?"

Colleen France: I would say that it is a little bit more straightforward. The issue with the four year program and I think the reluctance on the part of the law firms in the past to hire JD/MBAs is that if a student does their second summer at a law firm, they worry a little bit about whether they will come back next summer. They worry that they will go to a Wall Street bank or that they will go to the bank rather than come back to the firm. I think that what we are seeing is that in the three year programs, students certainly have the ability to explore their career option but have to come into the program strategically thinking about what they want to do when they get out at a much swifter pace.

Linda Abraham: They can’t find themselves in the program?

Colleen France: Sure, definitely. We have students who came in and thought for sure that they will be going to business but they really enjoyed law school and are interviewing at law firms. There is absolutely room for that. With the summer being as long as it is, that is how many of our students found the ability to split. I think that we are talking about the program a lot to companies that we already have relationships with in terms of career placements. We tell them just how terrific the cohort is and how strong they are. I think that with these three year JD/MBA programs popping up across the country at a lot of the top schools, law firms and businesses are realizing the real value of hiring the JD/MBAs.

I think that regardless, the four year JD/MDA in the past and those students are extremely marketable and have been. It has been a successful program. I do not think that in terms of employment statistics or dazzling job opportunities have changed with the movement to the three year program over the four year program. I think it is more of an awareness and appreciation in the market on both sides for the dual degree. It is absolutely one that makes sense.

Linda Abraham: So you are not worried about placing your graduates?

Colleen France: Not at all. They all had multiple summer offers and did really well on recruiting. Again, they are just an absolutely terrific cohort.

Linda Abraham: Wonderful. Pamela asks, "What are competitive GPA, GMAT, and LSAT scores for admission?"

Colleen France: The applications are reviewed holistically. Just as important to those three things are going to be how important or what are the norms for your letters of recommendation, your essays, your extra circulars and everything else that goes into your application because they are reviewed holistically. We want to get a good sense of who you are as a person. Something like a GMAT score, if you had a lower GMAT score, but a lot of finance work experience or something along the lines that can show your quant ability, maybe you have taken a lot of quant in undergrad.

It is definitely something that is not a magic formula; I think it would make the admissions committee’s job really easy if it was. Each individual application is reviewed holistically. With that said, the range of GMAT scores at Wharton is 560 to 790 with the average being 710. The GMAT score of JD/MBAs is a bit higher than that. Again, I think they are an absolutely terrific group and the LSAT range at the law school is around a 166 to 171 and both schools have about an average of 3.7 GPA.

Linda Abraham: That is pretty demanding.

Colleen France: It is. I will not sugarcoat it; it is a really rigorous program in terms of academics, going through it, and balancing law school and business school at the same time. The way that our program is structured is that students go through the first year of law curriculum just as any other 1L Penn Law student and then they enter into a summer program which is designed specifically for the JD/MBA cohort where they are in classes for about ten weeks over the summer. They take two business classes and two law classes including securities regulation and federal income tax management course.

They then pretty much go straight into the Wharton pre-term and Wharton core curriculum because they are typical first year Wharton students. With the course offerings of two Wharton classes over the summer, they then take a law course each semester while they are at Wharton. The prescribed curriculum is that they take corporations in the fall and mergers and acquisitions in the spring. Those are not required classes, they are just pre-recs to a lot of other upper level business law classes so they make sense to take them during the second year.

After the second year at Wharton students are working in law firms, in businesses or they come back for their third year where they finish their graduation requirements and are taking a mix of business and law classes. It is definitely demanding and we want everyone in the program to succeed and do well. These sorts of controls on the front end, the admissions end is identical to that of Wharton and Penn Law.

Linda Abraham: When I was preparing the Q&A today, I was wondering, because this sounds like a very demanding program and more than the typical load at either one of these schools, how are the students coping with the demands of the program? Neither one is the Mickey Mouse program.

Colleen France: I think that one of the really nice things is that they are a cohort. While they are fully immersed in the Penn Law community as well as the Wharton community, they travel together as a cohort. In terms of the summer program, it is a really rigorous summer program which afford them the ability to get those classes out of the way and be able to go into their elective at both the Law school and Wharton. During the summer they study together and they go through the entire summer together. They have each other as a network and they have formed their friendships there.

Again, with the really active JD/MBA student association and the fact that there are 40 students and not 4 or 5 or what has been the typical number of students getting a four year JD/MBA, they essentially have three strong networks that they are starting the program with and finishing the program with. By nature of the three year program, they are essentially entering law school and graduating law school with their law school class. They are entering business school and graduating business school with their business school class. They are doing it with the added bonus of their JD/MBA network.

I think it speaks again to having work experience, the maturity level of the students, the perseverance, the grit of these students in wanting this degree, having the strong network to help them get through it and knowing that they are not doing it alone.

Linda Abraham: Thank you very much. We have some more questions from the applicants here. Shawna has two more questions, one, "Given the move towards the accelerated JD/MBA program in several top schools, Yale and Columbia, to name two, do the employers interpret this three year program to be in anyway inferior or deficient when compared to the typical four year program?" That is question number one.

Question number two, which I think you have touched on, is, "Can a student apply to either the three year or four year JD/MBA program in their 1L or 2 L years?"

Colleen France: I will start with number one. I can’t actually speak to the other programs around the country, but in Penn’s program, the three year or the four year, regardless, students are graduating and are required to meet all of the normal JD requirements of students. For this year’s class it is 89 total credits, 65 of them coming from law school, a senior writing requirement, a professional responsibility class, and 70 hours of pro bono work. On the Wharton side it is a minimum of 15 Wharton credits and a declaration of a major.

In no way are the students getting less of an education or is either school compromising their graduation standards for the JD/MBA student. They are just doing it with their summer course work and they are taking a more rigorous load than a normal student during other semesters. Employers can feel comfortable that they know that Penn, at each school, is standing behind the degree that they are handing out because it has not been compromised whatsoever. The difference in the years has not made any difference at Penn.

To answer the second question, the way that the application works, and we touched on this for the three year program, is students can apply from outside of the university jointly to the program. Then if they are accepted to the program they are committed to come to the three year JD/MBA program or they can have the opportunity to be admitted to Wharton and not a law school or the law school and not to Wharton.

For the four year program, applicants have to apply to the four year program while you are already enrolled at Penn at either Wharton or the law school. Students can enter the program at Wharton, apply and go to the law school their second year and then do a mix their third and fourth years. On the law school side, students can apply to the four year program as first year law students and do their second year at Wharton and then their third and fourth year as mixed. Or students can go through the 1L curriculum, start Penn Law as a second year student, apply to the program, do Wharton their third year and a mix for their fourth year.

If they are doing it that way it often times gives candidates the ability to get a little bit more work experience, get more involved at Penn to hone leadership skills and things like that during two full years of law school before entering Wharton. We do offer either one of those tracks for admission.

Linda Abraham: Great. Craig has a question, "You mentioned that you were looking to grow the program, do you have a targeted size range for this year’s applicant class?"

Colleen France: We are looking for the incoming class, the class of 2016, we are looking for a cohort, given the numbers that we have had, I think we started from 11 and we have been growing a little bit steadily since then, between 15 and 18 students. So our target class size for the next incoming class would be about 15 to 18 students.

Linda Abraham: So you are actually growing. It was 12 this year.

Colleen France: Yes, definitely. That has really just been an increase in the applicant pool and again, marketing and things like that.

Linda Abraham: Okay. When you are evaluating applications, what makes a file with competitive numbers, that go into the admit pile, different from one that is going to the rejection pile?

Colleen France: Sure. I will preface this with the fact that I am not artsy or artistic at all, but I think that candidates should look at their application as a blank canvas and paint their pictures and tell us their story. The admissions committee is not looking for something that candidates think that they want to hear but rather, tell us who you are and why are your career goals going to be met by going into the JD/MBA program.

It is not going to be something like, "You know, I was thinking about law school and an MBA would be nice." It is something that is strategically thought out about in the application, showing the commitment to wanting to pursue the joint degree at Penn and the recognition of what sort of opportunities the degree is going to afford.

I think that the message that I would send to candidates is to be honest. Do not try to guess what the admissions committee wants on your essays. Make sure that if you put down extra curriculars, you are actually involved in them and doing things in terms of taking leadership role or really committing to them. If you have ten activities at 30 minutes a week or something like that, it does not exactly show your commitment to something. We just want people who are really well rounded, who are going to commit to the academic and experiential experience at Penn Law and at Wharton. Also, you need to be able to carry the brand and to be an ambassador for the program and really do it justice.

Because applications are reviewed holistically, there is no real easy answer to that. I would just say to just let your passion come through about why you want the JD/MBA. It is a huge commitment, even the application is rigorous and time consuming. Make sure that you are thoughtful in your recommenders. Make sure that you are thoughtful in your essays and you are honest. Use some time to ponder over them and think about them.

When you are finished, sit back and read the application and say, "Okay. Do I feel like this is going to tell the adcom who I am and why I want to be here? What I am going to go forth and do in life?" I think that is probably the best advice that I can give on that.

Linda Abraham: I just want to add in a couple of points. I also have absolutely zero, probably in the negative territory when it comes to graphic or artistic ability, but one of the metaphors I like to use with the applications, and this would include the essays as well, is a jigsaw puzzle.

Colleen France: Right.

Linda Abraham: Every element in the application is adding a little piece and making that picture of you, hopefully if you have done it right, become clearer.

The other element I want to say is in terms of the stress that Colleen is putting on clear goals how the JD/MBA is going to help you achieve what you want to achieve professionally in life. I actually have co-authored a book that should be coming out shortly and one of things that we are focusing on in this book is simply the importance, specifically the MBA side of the admissions puzzle, the importance of having clear goals. It is also the importance of showing how the MBA is your bridge between where you are today and where you want to be X years hence. Begin with the end in mind and plan it out. If you are going to take a journey, you get in your car and you have a destination in mind. This is an educational journey; you need to have a destination in mind also.

Now we will get back to the questions posed by the applicants here. Craig has one more, he asks, "Can you speak to the level of grant and scholarship aid that is given? What is the maximum available?"

Colleen France: There is actually not a maximum available. Aid and grant money is awarded by each school individually. We have certain candidates who may be more attractive to the Law school than to Wharton, or vice versa. We do have a lot of students in the program on scholarships or who have received fellowships or things like that.

Every applicant through Penn Law and Wharton is eligible for financial aid. If you go on the JD/MBA website which is actually on Penn Law’s website, it is directed from there onto the admissions and financial aid documents. It gives a breakdown of the cost and then it also provides length to both the financial aid departments at both Penn Law and Wharton. The nuances are pretty much spelled out there for financial aid type questions. We certainly do have students that receive aids, grants, fellowships, and scholarships for the program.

Linda Abraham: Okay. I want to ask the applicants who are here a question. How many of you are committed to apply to the JD/MBA program?

Okay, two. That is two out of the ten that are here which is obviously 20%.

The next questions that I have is, how many of you are just doing research and trying to figure out if that is something that you want to do?

Okay, three which is 30% because we have ten here today. Actually I have four.

The last question, is there anybody here who actually applied in round 1? I am just curious. I suspect not, but yes, we do have somebody here that applied round 1. Good for you! Thanks for joining us also.

Most people are here doing research, but we do have some who are already committed and one who has already applied.

Colleen France: I will encourage anyone who is here on the call who is doing research to have the opportunity to come visit the law school or Wharton. On Mondays we do JD/MBA program specific information sessions over at the Wharton school. They are at the end of the normal MBA admissions information session classes and things like that. They are offered every Monday afternoon.

Linda Abraham: Great! Do you see this program, this three year JD/MBA program, as tilted one way or the other? In other words, is it primarily to prepare people who want to go into business, be it mergers, private equity or whatever, and just want to have a better legal background? Or do you think it is primarily for people who want to be lawyers, practice law, and just want to have a good business background? Or is it varied?

Colleen France: It is somewhat both. It is definitely tilted towards people wanting to go into business and realizing that analytical lawyerly thinking edge that law school is going to get them. I think that what we have seen in our alumni pool and the alumni lunches that we do are that these JD/MBA alums that are in business and that are managing directors of hedge funds or of private equity firms and the like, can read the contracts. They can understand things analytically and in a very, very nuance style and they have a keen eye for details that training as a lawyer provides them that no one else in the room can.

I think that the take away that our students have been hearing from people who may have never practiced law is that nobody is going to say that they are going to a hedge fund, iBank or a consulting firm and the JD was not valuable. The JD, the thinking, the law courses and the exposure to the law is absolutely valuable long term, short term, regardless. While more people, at this point, seem to be leaning towards business, maybe not in the short term but definitely in the long term, I think that is a pretty steady trend too.

Linda Abraham: Do you think it also reflects the current legal job market or not?

Colleen France: Possibly. But not so much.

Linda Abraham: I am not saying that the finance market is so fantastic right now either.

Colleen France: Exactly. Penn Law employment statistics, even during the down turn, are as close to 100% as they can possibly get. While the down legal market has certainly affected law schools across the country, Penn Law, because of its reputation, brand, curriculum, and the effort that the school puts on professionalism skills and readying people for the market, has fared extremely well.

This could really be school focused, I do not know. Let’s say, comparing the program to Yale and what their numbers look like, in terms of who is going into law and I suspect that there are not as many tilting for business. With the Wharton background, people that come to Wharton want to use their business skills and have the legal benefit versus the other way.

Linda Abraham: But your graduates could go either way?

Colleen France: Sure. We absolutely have people going to law firms post graduation.

Linda Abraham: Another question from Craig, "What are the background skills and characteristics that are most prevalent in your successful three year JD/MBA program? They don’t need much sleep"

Colleen France: Exactly! Again, they come from a variety of industries and a lot of them have worked abroad. I think that this is going to be representative of a class but not necessarily indicative of their success rate because they are able to juggle. A really tough thing about the program is being able to juggle being part of the law school, community and the pedagogical approach to learning at the law school vs Wharton.

It is a five to ten minute walk between the two schools on the same campus and so to go from a marketing metrics class to corporations I think is sort of a tough thing to do because you are definitely using different sides of your brain, if you will. These students are adaptable, flexible and really understand both how to be an MBA student and how to be a law student.

Linda Abraham: They have to be comfortable using words and using numbers.

Colleen France: Exactly! That is why with the Joint application process you are still required to take the LSAT and the GMAT, it is because we want to make sure that these students are successful in both programs.

Linda Abraham: Great! When I did my MBA, which was a long, long time ago, we had some JD/MBA students in my class. I went to UCLA, and UCLA then and now is known for a very cooperative collegial atmosphere. The law school is not known for that. I do not know what Penn Law is like, is their cultural differences between the two faculties?

Colleen France: There are cultural differences between the two schools.

Linda Abraham: Yes, where are the cultural differences in law?

Colleen France: Penn Law is extremely collegial. You can feel it when you are the in the building as for being as competitive and as prestigious as the law school is. I am not going to call it Disney World, but it is the nicest place. There are 228 students in the class and it is a tight knit facility. It is a small campus that is centered around the courtyard and it is just a really friendly place. I think even a few years ago when students across the country filled out one of the surveys, Penn Law has been ranked the most collegial law school among the top 14 or something like that.

Linda Abraham: I hope UCLA law has reformed also, but that certainly was not its reputation back then.

Colleen France: Collegiality is a word that I think law firms throw out, but this is a really nice, friendly, supportive and non-competitive environment. The environment at Wharton is very student driven. There probably 50 plus clubs to get involved in and there is the graduate student association. It is a very student driven environment.

That said, it is a rigorous program and there are really smart and accomplished people in it but they know how to have fun. There are a lot of student run activities. There is a Wharton Follies and just a lot of really fun things to offset the academics of it that makes it a really nice place.

I think the really interesting thing about Wharton is that with 800 plus students in the class, you think how are you ever going to make friendships? How are you going to feel like you are really part of something when you are part of a group of 800? The way that the cohorts and the learning teams are structured, I think that people have said that when they are there, they find that Wharton is their home. It is a really collaborative and supportive environment as well.

The Penn culture in general dictates both cultures at each school. Even though they are very different and you can feel the differences. The age is going to be a big difference and you can feel the younger community at the law school compared to Wharton. Penn as a whole focuses and prides itself on interdisciplinary education and is the leader among law schools of interdisciplinary education. About 30% of the classes at Wharton are Joint degree students. There are students at both schools and all over the university at any of the paid professional gradates who are taking classes. Across the board it is a collaborative environment and a really nice place to study at graduate school.

Linda Abraham: Great. Shawna had one more question and I think it is piggybacking off the last question I posed. She asks, "You speak of the intellectual culture between Wharton and Penn Law, how is the interdisciplinary approach fostered by faculty across the schools, in different buildings and in very different places?"

Colleen France: Sure. I think that it goes without saying that law schools are probably a bit more cerebral than business schools where you are doing a lot more than you are thinking. You work in a learning team versus law school which is, by nature, individualistic. You may study in learning groups but at the end of the day, it is you sitting there taking your finals.

At Wharton, the approach to learning is multipronged in that it is lecture, teamwork, case study, and falls along those lines. There is a lot of jointly appointed faculty at each school and a lot of professors that teach in the JD/MBA program are dual appointed at both the law school and the Wharton school. I think that at the law school there are the highest number of PhDs among the faculty in economics and any of the top tier law schools in the country.

Further, the Institute of Law & Economics, which is a joint institute between Wharton, the law school and the department of economics at the college, is a very active institute and fellows of some faculty members, board members, and alumni of both Penn Law and Wharton. There is also the Penn program on regulation which is a similar type set-up. It is not at all that faculty are siloed, it is just a shame that it is not that students are programmed are not siloed.

I know that one of the professors that the JD/MBA have in the summer program has offices at both the law school and the Wharton school. I, myself, as the administrator for the program, have a dual appointment, and I spilt my time between the law school and the Wharton school. I have offices at each school and I split my time between the two schools. Across the board, the spirit of interdisciplinary education is just ingrained in the culture at Penn.

Linda Abraham: I see. So what you are saying is that it is not an issue?

Colleen France: Right. It is a truly integrated program and approach to learning.

Linda Abraham: Great. Well, I want to thank you all for participating today. A special thanks to Colleen for joining us. If you have additional questions for the JD/MBA admissions team please visit http://www.law.upenn.edu/crossdisc/jdmba/.

We look forward to seeing you at future Q&A and Events. Coming up next:

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One more time, thank you Colleen for coming and best of luck with your applications.

Colleen France: Great! Thanks so much, Linda.

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