JD/CPA weighing LL.M. vs. DBA

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by DeeD, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. DeeD

    DeeD New Member

    I’m an attorney/CPA that moved from an active transactional law practice to teaching full time five years ago at a Tier 2 research university as a lecturer teaching the intro accounting classes plus individual tax.

    Due to our accreditation, I not only teach full time, I have to maintain some level of ‘involvement’ in the industry which my department has defined as a part time accounting job. I also am heavily encouraged to publish so that I can be counted as a scholarly practitioner. So my workload is significant.

    I have published, though not in the traditional industry publications, I used my status as an attorney to publish in a law review which at this point has met their expectations. Despite my publication and teaching load, I still get paid as a lecturer which has prompted me to consider pursuing more education so that I can go after tenure track positions.

    With this thought I started looking at LL.M. in taxation programs several of which are offered online at highly respected law schools. But after discussing the possibilities with my Dept chair, I was encouraged to look at a PhD or DBA program. I’ve found a few hybrid programs that would work with my schedule but I’m not in a position to move for this, I have to keep working and family will keep me stationary for the midterm.

    So my question is - will a DBA get me that much more leverage? Or will the combo of JD/CPA/LLM be sufficient to get a TT position? My interest lies more in tax than business administration, and the DBA would take twice as long at twice the cost.
  2. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Let me guess: You're making $80K or so and surrounded by people making twice that and you're getting tired of doing the same work for less pay--am I close?

    You already have the credentials to go after TT jobs teaching taxation at an AACSB uni. Only issue is for every TT job that includes JD/CPA or LLM as acceptable credentials for a TT job (in addition to, of course, PhD or DBA in accounting), there are 10 or 20 jobs that just say PhD/DBA-only. So the pickings are a lot more slim. The LLM gives you very little additional value over the CPA, in fact, I think the CPA's more valuable for taxation positions, so I agree with your chair.

    You should start publishing in the tax journals, not so much the law reviews. You want to be known as a tax and accounting guy, not a law guy. That pigeonhole is death to your salary in a b-school, unless you're one of the stars in the b-law field like Richard Bird or Marissa Pagnatarro or Lucien Dhoogie.

    Do some tax and accounting journal pubs, go to AAA conferences, and go on the market. You'll probably land a TT job with your present education.
  3. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

  4. DeeD

    DeeD New Member

    Thanks for the reply. You’re close on the numbers. The other thing prompting my thoughts is shipping the youngest off to college next fall which is making me realize I have some time to spare and retirement on the horizon. Padding retirement would be a logical goal.

    The law review article was because they wanted me published ASAP and I thought that was my quickest route. I know it’s not the path of continued career development.

    So it sounds like a publishing record will be just as strong of a hiring credential than another degree. I’ll add that to my options - definitely was not the view of my current colleagues.
    FTFaculty likes this.
  5. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Don't want you to discount what your colleagues say based on my word because they know just as much as me about this.

    But there are jobs out there in TT academia at AACSB-accredited universities for people who are JD/LLM or JD/CPA--it's just that, as I was saying, they make up less than 10% of the total TT accounting jobs advertised out there, 90 to 95% of which are for DBA or PhDs in accounting only (at least for jobs at AACSB-accredited universities). Anyway, check out Higher Ed Jobs and the Chronicle of Higher Ed's job search tool (you already may be doing this) to find those jobs that hire people with your credentials. If you have three or four pubs in tax journals, that should really help. Of course, it's also a lot cheaper in both dollars and opportunity cost than pursuing an AACSB-accredited distance DBA or PhD with an emphasis in accounting. However, if you really want to bite the bullet (and it's quite a bullet at roughly $100K for most DL programs, and four to six years of grinding), that would pretty much make you golden and guarantee a TT job the year or semester before you graduate. Of course, in that amount of time with essentially no dollars out of pocket, you could probably get a half-dozen pubs in taxation and accounting journals, present at several AAA conferences, and make yourself very marketable for TT accounting positions.

    It will be difficult for you to make the move up to TT at your present uni unless they're unusual and/or they really love you and have an inkling they'll lose you if they don't give you a chance when a job comes up. Reason is, of course, they hire you to go on the TT, then they have to go find someone to replace you as a lecturer--they won't gain much and will have to do another search.

    If you want to PM me, by all means do so, we sound almost like twins in terms of what we're going through, what our credentials are, and where we're trying to go.
  6. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Is it me, or is the structure when a person is good enough to count as a SA for the department but not good enough to be paid a TT wage a bit... convenient? Not blaming the dean or anyone in particular, of course; they probably didn't have much choice in their action. But still.

    P.S. I had similar thoughts when FTFaculty wrote about pressure on him to publish. Schools want everything for the bargain-basement price.
    DeeD and FTFaculty like this.
  7. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

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  8. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    KSU has a fine program, and it would fit the OP, he just needs to decide whether it's worth the massive expense ($100K) and the time (3+ years).
  9. DeeD

    DeeD New Member

    Technically, they've classified me as SP but either way they're using my intellectual property with minimal compensation.
  10. Stanislav

    Stanislav Well-Known Member

  11. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Only thing is it's not AACSB, though that may change, per EBS's website.
  12. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    Where does it say that?
  13. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Just saw it two weeks ago, something about an administrator saying they were embarking on that path to go from member to accredited member. I just looked on their site and couldn't find it, so it might be a quote from that administrator not specifically on the website, but elsewhere, maybe a press release or something, so I may stand corrected (though the main point would remain). I'll look for it.
  14. Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius Active Member

    Very interesting. I do see on their website where it says the school is a member of AACSB.
  15. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Being a member and being accredited by them are two different things.
  16. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Yes, membership and accreditation are very different animals. I just got out of class, so didn't have time to look that up, and heading back into class in minutes, so I'll keep looking later--but I swear I saw that comment on the progressing towards accreditation from someone in charge there at H-W. Starting to wonder now if it's not something an administrator said, had put up on the website (or somewhere), then got his/her hands slapped and told "you're acting out of line, no officials announcements about our intentions, where we are in the process, etc., etc", and it got taken down in the last couple weeks (either that or I hallucinated it and am farther along the path to complete addlement than I've previously suspected).
  17. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It is a solid school but I would do the PhD instead of the DBA. The PhD is easier to sell as few schools do not like the DBA title. AACSB accreditation matters more in the US than Canada, in Canada the main requirement is that the school is ranked and HW.
  18. Taxing

    Taxing New Member

    I am a JD/LLM/CPA currently in a non-tenure position at an R1. I am currently out publishing multiple TT PhD's in my program in accounting journals on our approved list. This has gotten me very very little traction for moving into a tenure position. Accounting deans/chairs want to hire and promote people with the same credentials that they earned. I am actually working on a puff piece paper that examines the latter statement.

    I have friends/acquaintances with a JD that moved into teaching accounting by acquiring one of the online Tax LLMs. If you are making 80K to 100K you are already in a similar academic and financial position as the positions they acquired. A tax LLM from one of the top 3-4 programs MAY get you into a non-TT at 125K to 150k. I think NYU's LLM is the only online that fits that criteria and it will cost at least 100K.

    As FTFaculty advised, many schools are all about publications. The top paying schools do not consider law review publications. The "research" schools are all about publications in top accounting journals. If you hit 3+ top 6 journal publications they don't care if your degree is in basket weaving. They will pay a basket weavinig PhD with 3+ top 6 accounting journal publications 250K or more. Although those journals have "blind" peer review, it is unlikely to land a publication without an in-person PhD or a co-author with those credentials.

    I think the DBA would be far more beneficial. An AACSB DBA will make you a lock for a "teaching" school at around 125K to 15oK. That said, if you do not have 18 to 21 graduate credit hours in accounting, it may be more difficult to find a position. Teaching schools will generally look for you to be able to teach tax and other areas of accounting.

    Another option is the University of Florida Post Doctoral Bridge Program. This program is about 26K and has very high placement at the teaching schools.
  19. Taxing

    Taxing New Member

    SA is an AACSB category and generally requires a terminal degree and continued research (can be evidenced by a practitioner publication every few years). Obtaining tenure is generally based on publishing to a standard set by the school. Depending on the school and the research focus, schools have a journal list that is created and voted on by TT faculty, reference a commonly published journal list such as ABDC https://abdc.edu.au/research/abdc-journal-list/, or schools may just require a certain number of publications in "peer reviewed" journals.

    In summary, each school sets its standard for maintaining SA and it is almost always more liberal than the requirements to achieve tenure. The AACSB evaluates the SA standard and the tenure requirements against "peer" schools as part of its evaluation process.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
  20. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Probably the Georgetown LLM would fit into this category also, but all else equal, I'd rather have the NYU.

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