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Christian Union: The Magazine
June 2, 2021

CU Gloria Law Leader Pursues Dual Degree

By Kelly Parks, Staff Writer


After serving in the Marines for seven years, Joel Malkin made a major career change and enrolled in the joint degree program at Harvard Law and Business Schools in 2020. One year into pursuing his Juris Doctorate and Masters of Business Administration, Malkin has been an active participant in Christian Union’s ministry at Harvard Law, CU Gloria Law. 

CU Harvard Law Joel Malkin editedHaving studied at Dartmouth College as an undergraduate, where he double majored in linguistics and classics, Malkin was already familiar with Christian Union. In Malkin’s words, “I knew of the group as one dedicated to promoting a lifestyle of faith, close study of the scriptures, and discipleship within a devoted community.” 

The summer before returning to school to further his education, Malkin had reached out to Christian Union, where he connected with Justin Yim, the Ministry Director of CU Gloria Law. The connection was a natural one, as “faith, family, and community have always been tightly intertwined in my life,” he said. Malkin came to faith at an early age, having grown up in a Christian family that was involved in a non-denominational church in the Phoenix area.

For Malkin, his time as a Marine also served as an important time of spiritual growth. “The Marines have a way of bringing everyone to their limits—physically, psychologically, spiritually. For Christians, we know in those moments to turn to God. Service in the Marines deepened my faith by the constant need to face my limitations. There’s also a leveling effect: no matter who you are, you will eventually reach a point where you have to trust and rely on others. There’s no self-made Marine. Success is always through the strength of the team. In the same way, the life of faith is never a solo act. We follow the Lord as a member of the Church, not as an isolated individual.”

Looking forward to his studies at Harvard Law, Malkin plans to continue placing his faith at the forefront of his education and future career. “Faith is the bedrock,” stated Malkin. “The scriptures teach that we should do everything out of a desire to serve and glorify God. Whatever we do, we work ‘as unto the Lord’ and pursue excellence as a way of worshipping Him instead of glorifying ourselves. That keeps us humble and hardworking. And it puts the question of career in the right perspective.”

While Malkin is unsure what profession he will pursue once he graduates in 2024, public service will always remain important to him as he looks at career options. He said his two degrees “offer the chance to work across sectors and have a greater impact in the long run” than if he had just chosen to study one or the other. “On a more abstract level,” said Malkin, “the combination of a JD and an MBA offers a chance to learn about the American system in detail: free enterprise resting on a foundation of the rule of law.”

For Malkin, his dual degree also serves as a pivot from active duty to the civilian workforce. “While the military puts a premium on leadership, the joint degree retools that leadership for use in a different context.” At Harvard Law specifically, there is also a strong community of veterans who understand the nature of the transition from active-duty service and have been supportive in this new stage of Malkin’s life.

When asked why he chose to apply to and attend Harvard Law, Malkin replied: “The main reason was the academic challenge. The school pushes its students to grow in ways that few other places can match. The second was the student body. Harvard Law offers a larger-than-usual class size, offering a range of viewpoints that you can’t easily replicate in smaller cohorts.”

As Malkin moves forward with his education, he hopes to continue to live out the lessons he learned from the Marines: “The Marines teach discipline like no other. They also teach sacrifice for the sake of something greater than yourself, whether for your unit or the mission.” 

While the future remains unclear, it is certain that Malkin will continue using his leadership skills, military background, and education to draw those around him to Christ.

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