Penn Carey Law students pursuing joint JD/MAs with the Lauder Institute travel around the world to prepare for positions leading global business sectors.
The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School is committed to equipping each student with the knowledge and experience they need to enter their field and lead with confidence. As part of that training, the Law School partners with schools across the University, cultivating a suite of cross-disciplinary joint degree and certificate programs.
Through a partnership with the Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies, JD/MA students explore the world, hone their language skills, and gain pragmatic skills in business management. Students enrolled in this joint degree program obtain their JD and their Master’s in International Studies in only three years.
75-person interdisciplinary cohort currently studying at the Lauder Institute, appreciates the Institute’s “own very specific character.”Manuel Diaz Corrada L’24, WG’24, one of a
“Lauder is very practical,” he added. “It gets you on the ground, touching the soil, and meeting the people. The Lauder Institute is built for taking risks and expanding internationally.”
Educating Multilingual Legal Leaders
Penn Carey Law students have the option to apply to the JD/MA program with the Lauder Institute after being accepted into Law School. The program is both academically rigorous and formulated to fit into a law student’s already busy schedule. Crucially, each student must demonstrate basic proficiency in a language other than English to enroll; over the course of the program, students will grow their language skills to a level of professional business fluency.
After a JD/MA candidate’s first year of law school, the first foray into the Lauder Institute occurs over their 1L summer, with an eight-week long immersion program in their regional area of focus.
The Lauder Institute permits native Spanish speakers, like Corrada, to join the Portuguese track without any prior experience. After traveling to Brazil this summer with other students in his regional cohort, Corrada reports that he is now speaking Portuguese with a basic fluency and is eager to continue to lean into his Portuguese classes and global immersions to grow his vocabulary and familiarity with the language.
Frank DeSimone L’15, WG’15, whose language was French, recalled meeting with executive-level business leaders from major companies, like Amazon and Pernod Ricard, when he and his classmates traveled to France. The trip helped him bolster his language skills and gain valuable insight into elements of contemporary international business, and DeSimone also suspects that the experience helped him stand out at On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) at the end of the summer.
“Particularly for the firms that worked with a lot of international clients, I could speak to this direct experience of having already developed an understanding of the issues faced by large global companies,” DeSimone said.
Adventurous Career Opportunities
DeSimone worked for large law firms in Philadelphia for about five years after he graduated, but when the pandemic struck, shaking up everyone’s preconceptions about work, DeSimone decided to make a change. Now, he works for a legal technology company called Ontra, which has grown immensely over the past two years. By leveraging AI technology alongside savvy legal and business minds, Ontra helps companies across the globe to streamline their legal needs, saving both time and money.
DeSimone’s role at Ontra is primarily on the business side – which means that the skills he learned at the Lauder Institute have come in incredibly handy. In addition to the business classes he took, DeSimone also points to the ways in which the Lauder Institute teaches students about how to competently interact with a diverse array of cultures.
“I’m working with attorneys and colleagues all around the world, and the Lauder program really instilled a level of confidence in me, even in the context of countries where I’ve never been, know nothing about, and don’t speak a word of the language,” DeSimone said. “The Lauder program really empowers and enables students to understand how to navigate the unexpected, read cultural cues, and adapt to different situations.”
Corrada also hopes to forge a career path that encompasses both time in a law firm and creative entrepreneurial ventures. At a NYC alumni event recently, Corrada presented his idea for generating manufacturing jobs in Puerto Rico in an annual pitch competition, soliciting both feedback and potential capital to put his acquisition-by-entrepreneurship business plan in motion.
“I’m a big advocate of nearshoring and onshoring,” Corrada said. “I want to bring economic activity in Puerto Rico. I don’t consider myself a philanthropist, but I consider giving people jobs and stimulating the economy to be one of the best things you can do as a person, and that’s what I’m striving towards.”
Both Corrada and DeSimone underscored the intrinsic and immeasurable value of the tight-knit community cultivated within the Lauder Institute. Paired with the connections made in the Law School, the network to which JD/MA students belong stretches into countless industries and sectors across the world.
“The Lauder network is just an incredible group of people. I have friends and classmates who are all over the world and in every industry you can imagine,” DeSimone said. “Anytime the company I work for is talking about potentially expanding into a new country, I probably know somebody in that country, and I probably know somebody who’s in an interesting business in that country who could help open doors.”
Corrada echoed DeSimone’s sentiment, underscoring that the experience of meeting and learning from his classmates in the Lauder Institute has augmented his time as a law student.
“The Lauder Institute gives you an outlet to explore the world within a safe environment. In the program, you’re going to meet people from all over the world,” Corrada said. “Lauder is built around people that are adventurous, international, and ambitious.”