After nine months of intense studying as a 1L, I thought I’d be finished worrying about final exams for a while. But boy was I wrong. As it turns out, the JD-MBAs at Northwestern take classes over the summer, both at the law school and business school. Most of the group takes classes full-time, so they are able to spread the workload throughout the summer. And a smaller portion of the group, including me, work and take classes, so spend more time studying and catching up at the end. But no matter which route you choose, in mid August, all JD-MBAs have a pretty tough schedule. Even though we all saw it coming a few months ago, most of us never understood how tough it would actually be until now, where we not only have to get ready to start classes at Kellogg, move, and go through recruiting, but we also have to take final exams for our summer classes.
Don’t get me wrong, the summer has been great so far. Work was great. Classes have been interesting. And Chicago is a fun place to spend the summer. But over the past couple of weeks, the pace of everything has started to pick up. Professors are teaching us more new concepts, giving us more assignments, and really starting to push us harder. While under normal circumstances, this would be manageable, it gets a bit tricky for rising seconds years in the JD-MBA program. Because not only do we have final exams, but we also have to move from Chicago to Evanston, complete final projects for other classes, go through on campus recruiting at Northwestern Law School, prepare for our pre-orientation trip called KWEST, complete a few online seminars that Kellogg requires in advance of coming to campus, and fulfill journal obligations, among other things. As if the exams themselves were not hard enough.
In the immediate future, I have final project I have to finish for my DECS 434 class and a final exam in Accounting 430. Both the project and the exam are proving to be very tough. For the project, it’s been tough working around everyone’s schedules, and we also have to turn the project in early because of our KWEST trip, something the non-JD-MBAs don’t have to do. Similarly, in accounting, many of the JD-MBAs are taking the exam early, on Friday before KWEST. And others are taking it the Tuesday after our trip but during orientation, which is also not ideal because it will be nearly impossible to study during our KWEST trips, and attendance at orientation is mandatory, so there is no real extra time advantage to waiting.
Fortunately, exams are water under the bridge for 1Js, since we’ve been in class all year as 1Ls. So after spending much of last year terrified by 1L final exams, this summer feels a little bit easier. For one, I’ve gotten used to the fact that exam performance can be pretty variable sometimes depending on the class, the other students taking the course, and how well you perform on any given day. Second, at Kellogg grades aren’t as important as they are at the law school, at least not typically. And third, JD-MBAs go through this every year, and most of them end up doing quite well professionally. So in the end, my nervousness is tempered with a bit of ease.
On the other hand, most JD-MBAs here are starting to get a little tired, especially those that are also taking part in legal recruiting and traveling back and forth between Chicago and Evanston. My DECS group was up last night until the wee hours of the morning, and had to be up early this morning for interviews downtown about 5 or 6 hours later. The same thing will probably happen tonight. And then on Saturday morning we’ll all wake up, pack, and head to the airport to head out on our KWEST trips.
It’s definitely a hard period for those in the program, but we all have so much to look forward to over the next few weeks. Those going through recruiting will get law firm offers. After a year of working really hard through 1L, we’ll finally be able to go to KWEST, and we’ll be starting at Kellogg in just a few weeks, the reason why many of the JD-MBAs came to the program.
It should be fun to see how everything here ultimately plays out. Stay tuned to hear more about our transition to Kellogg.