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Dalhousie University Rowe School of Business: The Legal Business 

How Michael Coady developed a deeper understanding of corporate issues

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Even before enrolling in the JD/MBA Program at Dalhousie University, Michael Coady was an acknowledged community leader. The Magna Cumme Laude grad of Saint Mary's University had always played a key role in his community by volunteering with the Strongest Families Institute, Independent Living Nova Scotia, Easter Seals Inc. and the Conflict Resolution Society.

But as he sat on the board of non-profit organizations, Coady wished that he had a stronger understanding of financial statements, and of operating a business in general. Coady was just beginning to realize his interest in corporate law when he received an email explaining the possibility of completing the MBA program at Dalhousie, as part of a joint degree with law. This was Coady's opportunity to blend law and business together, and to strengthen Coady's understanding of the corporate world.

At Dalhousie, they offer a combined JD/MBA which takes four years. Many students are drawn to complete a JD/MBA program to prepare for careers in corporate law, securities law, investment banking and mergers/acquisitions. Many pursue corporate counsel roles on the client side, managing regulatory issues, government relations, compliance or enterprise risk management.

The value of a JD/MBA is the multi-disciplinary perspective it gives young professionals, to be able to look at a problem from both a legal and business lens.

Combining his JD with an MBA allowed Coady to dive deep into topics such as taxation, financial statement analysis, administrative law and corporate law. This gave Coady strong business acumen, but it also helped to build on already strong communication, presentation and analytical skills.

Coady joined KPMG Management Consultants in Halifax for his eight-month corporate residency work experience. During his time as a risk consultant with KPMG, Coady worked with a team of professionals who provided services to a variety of large clients. He worked with excellent colleagues, and ultimately learned about "big firm" life.

"My biggest challenge was balancing the volume of work required in law with the frequent deliverables required in the MBA program," says Coady. The greatest reward that Coady experienced from the program came from his increased understanding and comfort with business and strategic issues—which had been his goal from the start.

When starting the program, Coady hoped to end up working at an Atlantic law firm after graduation and has since secured a job with Stewart McKelvey.

"Completing my MBA provided me with experience that helped to differentiate me from some of my competition, and Stewart McKelvey hired me to article with them after graduation," says Coady.

Between his MBA courses and the lived experience with his residency, the two had provided him with the context for many legal issues facing businesses, and will continue to aid him in the future in providing the best service to his clients.

His piece of advice for anyone considering the MBA program is to pick their corporate residency carefully. It is an amazing opportunity to gain experience in an area of interest and can be a key step to landing your dream job.

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Vol 26, No 34
January 17, 2019

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