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I demand to know... why anyone would do a JD MGA?

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21 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

I dunno. Someone gets to be an astronaut. I'd just say, have a backup plan. If you want to try to be an international criminal lawyer or a secret agent or whatever, figure out what paths can lead there and build one that, worst case, also leads to something else you like. You might still make that investment, but only if it turns out that the back-up version of it is also an acceptable outcome. 

Don't bet money you aren't willing to lose, in other words. 

I'm leaving a career of over 10 years - totally unrelated to law or global affairs - so I know that despite our most meticulous planning and best efforts, life simply unfolds in unexpected ways. That is to say, I'm not banking on any particular outcome.  The first step is to actually get into *a* law school.  

Edited by rebeccius

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14 minutes ago, rebeccius said:

I'm leaving a career of over 10 years - totally unrelated to law or global affairs - so I know that despite our most meticulous planning and best efforts, life simply unfolds in unexpected ways. That is to say, I'm not banking on any particular outcome.  The first step is to actually get into *a* law school.  

Yes, none of us read crystal balls. Doesn't negate the value of researching what paths exist. 

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On 11/17/2017 at 10:35 PM, providence said:

I speak 5 of the 6 UN languages.... that's the only potential hook I have :)

Which one are you missing?

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The classmates I know that are in the program seem to be doing it because they love IR, end of story. I agree that it's a lot of $ to spend just for a passion project but as a UofT student, I am continually amazed at how easily some students can justify spending large sums of money. That's not a dig at anyone, I just don't come from the same world :) If you take a look at the financial profiles of the class though, I don't think it's quite as surprising. 

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6 hours ago, hufflepuff said:

The classmates I know that are in the program seem to be doing it because they love IR, end of story. I agree that it's a lot of $ to spend just for a passion project but as a UofT student, I am continually amazed at how easily some students can justify spending large sums of money. That's not a dig at anyone, I just don't come from the same world :) If you take a look at the financial profiles of the class though, I don't think it's quite as surprising. 

Refreshingly honest answer. Thank you! :)

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On 12/4/2017 at 6:38 AM, hufflepuff said:

The classmates I know that are in the program seem to be doing it because they love IR, end of story. I agree that it's a lot of $ to spend just for a passion project but as a UofT student, I am continually amazed at how easily some students can justify spending large sums of money. That's not a dig at anyone, I just don't come from the same world :) If you take a look at the financial profiles of the class though, I don't think it's quite as surprising. 

I honestly don't believe anyone pays that kind of money to learn. Anyone clever enough to read books can read books on their own. We pay the money to get a credential and social capital. Getting into a graduate program is affirming - the pleasure is the sense that society recognizes you as cleverer than the average bear. There's also overwhelming evidence that school programs don't leave much of a lasting effect education-wise: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/whats-college-good-for/546590/

 

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Thought I'd follow-up on this thread.  I didn't get into the JD-MGA program in the end (and honestly, I'm kind of glad I didn't). I just wanted to thank everyone who shared their thoughts last fall. I took much of this discussion to heart, even if it was a little hard to hear at first (mainly because I'd already based part of my submitted personal statements on an admittedly naive and under-informed notion of international law).  Anyway, largely because of the discussion here, I amended parts of my PS for later-cycle school applications - one of which turned into an offer of acceptance.  I've come to realize that my initial motivations were not the problem per say, but the path I envisioned was probably unrealistic.  I know there is so much work to be done to help protect human rights and civil liberties here in Canada (criminal defense, immigration, refugee law, to name a few) and I hope to pursue something along those lines.  That being said, I'm really looking forward to learning more about the above areas of law (along with other areas of practice) and feel open to going in other directions. Time will tell.  Thanks again...  Cheers.

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On 7/23/2018 at 7:36 PM, rebeccius said:

Thought I'd follow-up on this thread.  I didn't get into the JD-MGA program in the end (and honestly, I'm kind of glad I didn't). I just wanted to thank everyone who shared their thoughts last fall. I took much of this discussion to heart, even if it was a little hard to hear at first (mainly because I'd already based part of my submitted personal statements on an admittedly naive and under-informed notion of international law).  Anyway, largely because of the discussion here, I amended parts of my PS for later-cycle school applications - one of which turned into an offer of acceptance.  I've come to realize that my initial motivations were not the problem per say, but the path I envisioned was probably unrealistic.  I know there is so much work to be done to help protect human rights and civil liberties here in Canada (criminal defense, immigration, refugee law, to name a few) and I hope to pursue something along those lines.  That being said, I'm really looking forward to learning more about the above areas of law (along with other areas of practice) and feel open to going in other directions. Time will tell.  Thanks again...  Cheers.

Case in point.

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On 7/24/2018 at 1:36 AM, rebeccius said:

Thought I'd follow-up on this thread.  I didn't get into the JD-MGA program in the end (and honestly, I'm kind of glad I didn't). I just wanted to thank everyone who shared their thoughts last fall. I took much of this discussion to heart, even if it was a little hard to hear at first (mainly because I'd already based part of my submitted personal statements on an admittedly naive and under-informed notion of international law).  Anyway, largely because of the discussion here, I amended parts of my PS for later-cycle school applications - one of which turned into an offer of acceptance.  I've come to realize that my initial motivations were not the problem per say, but the path I envisioned was probably unrealistic.  I know there is so much work to be done to help protect human rights and civil liberties here in Canada (criminal defense, immigration, refugee law, to name a few) and I hope to pursue something along those lines.  That being said, I'm really looking forward to learning more about the above areas of law (along with other areas of practice) and feel open to going in other directions. Time will tell.  Thanks again...  Cheers.

And the good news is you can still pursue an interest in international relations or any other subfield the MGA addresses! As an intelligent and capable person, you can read books without paying others for the privilege.

Universities are businesses and we need to start treating their sales pitches with the skepticism we would give anyone else who told us that for the low, low price of tens of thousands of dollars, they can change our lives forever. Scholarship is wonderful. Education is wonderful. Credentials are arbitrary, often meaningless and unhelpful for any particular career path. You can buy scholarship and education without paying for credentials. 

 

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18 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

Universities are businesses and we need to start treating their sales pitches with the skepticism we would give anyone else who told us that for the low, low price of tens of thousands of dollars, they can change our lives forever. Scholarship is wonderful. Education is wonderful. Credentials are arbitrary, often meaningless and unhelpful for any particular career path. You can buy scholarship and education without paying for credentials. 

 

For better or, more likely, for worse the greatest value in the MGA is the additional summer to pursue an internship or fellowship at organizations that are extremely hard to break into after school or absent formal recruiting relationships. 

Good luck getting an entry-level position at the UN (or similar) without an internship — and good luck securing one without being in some kind of formal educational program.

Is the additional chance at such a position worth the monetary and opportunity cost of the MGA to you? Probably not, for most people. (Especially since IHRP will fund positions at UN/WHO/World Bank for straight JD students in 1L.) But for some? Maybe. 

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4 hours ago, onepost said:

For better or, more likely, for worse the greatest value in the MGA is the additional summer to pursue an internship or fellowship at organizations that are extremely hard to break into after school or absent formal recruiting relationships. 

Good luck getting an entry-level position at the UN (or similar) without an internship — and good luck securing one without being in some kind of formal educational program.

Is the additional chance at such a position worth the monetary and opportunity cost of the MGA to you? Probably not, for most people. (Especially since IHRP will fund positions at UN/WHO/World Bank for straight JD students in 1L.) But for some? Maybe. 

I was gonna say, the law degree/IHRP already cover that for the most part. And if your goal is just be at the UN, is the law degree necessary? I don’t have a good sample size, but the two people I know at the UN are a translator and a rich girl whose dad hooked her up after undergrad.

And, at any rate, I just want to make clear that ‘I like the subject matter’ is a ridiculous reason to get a degree unless someone else is paying for it and you’re comfortable spending their money - otherwise, you can read books and teach yourself stuff. You spent the first 20 years of your life doing almost nothing other than learning how to learn.

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Posted (edited)

Agreed.

I’d only add that the MGA does appear to have a more formal placement system. 1L positions require pretty serious legwork — but what doesn’t? The only other advantage I can think of is that the MGA candidates may be better-placed for non-legal positions — positions which, in principle, IHRP can’t fund.

Edited by onepost
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On 8/2/2018 at 8:52 PM, theycancallyouhoju said:

I was gonna say, the law degree/IHRP already cover that for the most part. And if your goal is just be at the UN, is the law degree necessary? I don’t have a good sample size, but the two people I know at the UN are a translator and a rich girl whose dad hooked her up after undergrad.

And, at any rate, I just want to make clear that ‘I like the subject matter’ is a ridiculous reason to get a degree unless someone else is paying for it and you’re comfortable spending their money - otherwise, you can read books and teach yourself stuff. You spent the first 20 years of your life doing almost nothing other than learning how to learn.

[emphasis added]

If you were limiting yourself to second etc. degrees I agree with you though adding or unless you're paying for it and are comfortable spending your money (e.g. I paid for an LLM in IP when I worked in the field, I knew it was unnecessary but I wanted to pursue additional formal education and learned more than I would have from self-study, there is value to knowledgeable instructors. I knew multiple non-lawyers who pursued an LLM, one purely out of interest because they liked the subject matter).

But for first undergrad degrees, it has become a de facto norm in many, many areas that one is expected to have a degree, in any subject, for an entry-level position. Or for law, needing a degree anyway first, so take something you like and think you'll get good marks in rather than something you dislike, find challenging, and won't get good marks in (I'm oversimplifying!) seems like not a bad reason to select that particular degree (though there may be reasons to e.g. pursue a STEM degree, even if looking at law later, or for keeping more alternatives open).

Not that everyone should get a degree - in particular, many who would be happier and more successful (monetarily and otherwise) pursuing a trade are not encouraged to do so by the education system, from what I've read, though it may be getting somewhat better.

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