Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Student Profile

Melissa Nonsrichai GordyMelissa Nonsrichai Gordy

J.D./M.B.A. Program

Having lived and traveled around the world, Melissa Nonsrichai Gordy knows the importance of exploring and expanding opportunities. As an undergraduate at Cal State Long Beach, she was a political science major and economics minor, where she says a good professor turned her on to law and reinforced her decision to go to law school.

Gordy actually chose Southwestern because "I thought originally I wanted to go into sports and entertainment law, and there's no better program than the one we have here." Plus, her mother-in-law, Desiree Gordy '82, is also an alumna and speaks highly of Southwestern. When Southwestern introduced its collaboration with The Drucker School of Management, she knew that this would be a good fit for the goals she was developing. Gordy started law school as an evening student and switched to the part-time day program so she could accommodate afternoon and evening courses at Drucker.

"Southwestern gives me the critical thinking skills I need, and Drucker gives me the way to apply them as well as the knowledge surrounding business concepts, which I did not learn as an undergraduate," she said. She also appreciates the diversity of the campuses and programs. "Many of the students at Drucker are international, and it's great to meet people with such different backgrounds from both schools," Gordy said. It's also great to break up the day, and split my focus between business and law. I thought it would be difficult, but it helps me feel refreshed, going back and forth between each subject consistently."

That being said, Gordy strongly recommends that anyone thinking about completing the joint JD/MBA program manage their time meticulously. "I am thoroughly enjoying my time at both places, and I truly believe that the two schools go hand in hand," she said. "However, since the programs are not at the same location, incoming JD/MBA students really need to stay on top of their game with every aspect of both programs. Scheduling classes to accommodate both schools, figuring out how to fit in studying (especially during finals time), fitting in time to do the hefty group work that is required of an MBA student with the massive amounts of reading time of a JD student, to balancing a life outside of school - this all takes a lot of planning."

She credits Molly Selvin, Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs at Southwestern, with helping her meet the challenges of the dual program. "Molly has really encouraged me along and helped me get through this. I struggled my first year here. It was a hard transition from undergrad. She helped me figure out that I could handle it. She's been a terrific advisor throughout this process."

Her favorite Southwestern classes have been constitutional law with Professor Kushner and Criminal Law with Professor Williams. "I've always been interested in government and politics, and it came naturally to me," she explained. "Although I'm not sure I'm cut out for criminal law, I found that class fascinating, too."

To garner some experience with consulting and business planning, Gordy had also worked part-time for the public relations firm Indie Vixens, helping to scout talent and develop marketing strategies. It was a good experience that helped her realize this was not the area she wanted to pursue. Although she is not entirely certain what aspect of law she wants to practice, she is leaning towards working for a non-profit business or organization, thanks to Southwestern's emphasis on public service and The Drucker School's "really strong program of non-profit management and organization."

In addition to a schedule that includes six days of class a week at two campuses, Gordy married her fiancé, Terry ("T.J."), who just recently earned his MBA in September. The couple will honeymoon in Botswana and Zambia, South Africa during winter break. "I've only been to Northern Africa before because my uncles were diplomats, so I'm very excited about this trip. The day I finish finals, I'll go straight from school to the airport."