Introducing Suzi Jones, Director of Joint Degree Programs

Introducing Suzi Jones, Director of Joint Degree Programs

For the vast majority of Boothies, the two years we spend in Chicago will end in us receiving a single degree. However, there are a number of joint degree students in every class.

In the Class of 2023, there are 43 Full-Time joint degree students; in the Class of 2024, there are 48. These students are spread across the three-year JD/MBA, four-year JD/MBA, MD/MBA, MPP/MBA, International Relations/MBA, and MPCS/MBA programs.

For joint degree students, Suzi Jones, Director of Joint Degree Programs, is an important person to know. Below, find some information about Suzi’s role in supporting joint degree students and her thoughts on the joint degree application process.

What is your role at Booth and your role in supporting joint degree students?

Booth has newly created a Director of Joint Degree programs role on the Student Life team at Booth. What I’ll be doing is supporting joint degree students in a variety of ways: planning events to foster community among the joint degree students, collaborating with other departments to meet the needs of joint degree students (say, for example, students in a particular joint degree program would find it helpful to have a session with Career Services—I would help liaise to get that set up), and being a resource for prospective and admitted joint degree students. Joint degree programs are complex: students are balancing their academics and career goals across two programs, so I’ll be a resource for joint degree students to help them navigate the complexities of their program. I come from a background of being an advisor for joint degree programs [which helps in my new role].

Over time, my role could change a bit. We’ll see where the needs of joint degree students are, and I’ll move toward that need so students can feel like they’re having a more integrated experience.

How have the joint degree offering and support for it changed over the years?

We’ve had joint degree programs since the early 1990s (JD/MBA; MD/MBA; MBA/MPP; and MBA/International Relations). Those programs were smaller then. In the 2000s, we gained the MBA with Crown, the MBA with Middle Eastern studies. The MPCS program was launched more recently, and the three-year JD/MBA is the newest program—the first class just graduated in 2022.

Support-wise, we’ve had support from the Booth side. There’s been more and more attention paid to joint degree students, especially recently; there’s a more dedicated effort between Booth and the partner departments to make the programs more integrated. You have two advisors, which means you go to each; so the advisors work together to make sure students understand the complexity of their program. All the other programs have great support for their joint degree students.

I know Career Services is also working to understand joint degree students’ needs, and Student Life created this position. This shows that Booth wants the joint degree programs to be a really robust and great experience for students; and I see those desires across the board at Career Services, Student Life, Academic Services (there is an academic advisor dedicated to joint degree students). So we’re moving in the right direction.

What advice do you have for aspiring joint degree candidates?

Joint degree programs are wonderful because you get an interdisciplinary experience. And you’ll end up with two master’s degrees. But it’s hard. I encourage aspiring joint degree students to think about why the joint degree program will be good for you and your goals.

Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with readers?

The interdisciplinary nature of joint degree programs is a unique opportunity that can set you apart in your recruiting efforts and long-term career, so these programs are worth taking a look at to consider if it’s a good fit.

Important stats: in case you’re curious, this is the breakdown of joint degree students across Booth programs (Full-Time and Part-Time).

Evening/Weekend students in MPCS/MBA: 19

Full-Time Class of 2023: 43
–             3-year JD/MBAs: 10
–             4-year JD/MBA: 1
–             International Relations (MA)/MBAs: 2
–             MD/MBAs: 2
–             MPP/MBAs: 7
–             MPCS/MBAs: 21

Full-Time Class of 2024: 48
–             3-year JD/MBAs: 12
–             4-year JD/MBAs: 3
–             MD/MBAs: 3
–             MPP/MBAs: 13
–             MPCS/MBAs: 17