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Thread: Will a 'policy' based program inhibit me from working in the private sector?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Jakers's avatar
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    Will a 'policy' based program inhibit me from working in the private sector?

    Hello all,

    I am applying to a heavily 'policy' based program in the next few months. For various reasons it is the only one I will apply to.

    As of now, I want to work in the private field after graduation. (Consulting, Design firm, or Real Estate Development) Does coming from a policy oriented school inhibit me from being as attractive as lets say somone who went to a design focused school?
    For the record, I would try to get my required internship with a private company to help boost my chances of keeping in that field. Is my worry justified? Or is it not a factor? Or is it a benefit to go to a policy school before working in private companies?

    Of course, this is all assuming that by the time I graduate the market will have turned

    Please help, I just dont know!
    "Inside Joke"

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jakers View post
    Hello all,

    I am applying to a heavily 'policy' based program in the next few months. For various reasons it is the only one I will apply to.

    As of now, I want to work in the private field after graduation. (Consulting, Design firm, or Real Estate Development) Does coming from a policy oriented school inhibit me from being as attractive as lets say somone who went to a design focused school?
    For the record, I would try to get my required internship with a private company to help boost my chances of keeping in that field. Is my worry justified? Or is it not a factor? Or is it a benefit to go to a policy school before working in private companies?

    Of course, this is all assuming that by the time I graduate the market will have turned

    Please help, I just dont know!
    Depends on the firm, if they want to work in "grooming" you, and the workload. I work for a design based firm and i cam from a school that split design and policy, however had lab courses that placed the emphasis on both. A firm like mine (if we were hiring) would want to take a look at how well you could design and but at the same time look at what was needed. We hired a gal that had more policy experience than design because we had a need, but she could still design if asked to do. Try your hand at interning at firms where you would like to end up in (even if it is for free, which might be in this economy). Some of the larger private firms have full blown internship programs, which you definitely would want to look into, but they are highly competitive.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jakers View post
    I am applying to a heavily 'policy' based program in the next few months. For various reasons it is the only one I will apply to.
    I'm going to make a wild-ass guess and ask ... is it Cleveland State? They have an outstanding planning program, but it is very heavily oriented towards public policy, advocacy planning, and community development. The things the vast majority of planners do -- current planning (zoning administration, development review, etc), comprehensive planning (drafting multi-element comp plans, urban design, etc), and transportation are downplayed.

    I'd hire a CSU grad in a minute for a position involving think-tank research, housing programs, or an urban-oriented CDC. For a more typical current or comp planning position ... well, it depends on their internships. The Cleveland area has very few traditional planning agencies for a metro of its size, so finding an internship in a nuts-and-bolts planning department will be hard to find. For example, my former employer in the Cleveland metro area, a suburban county of some 250,000+ residents, is down to two planners.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    UIowa is very policy based and we have very successful grads doing almost everything planning related. Also if I had went to a design or other program I don't think I would have been able to move so easily into city management.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I would say that the program at my university is another one based in policy and while I think the majority of our students tend to go into the public sector or the non-profit sector, I know of quite a few graduates and current students who work for local (both large and small), real estate, design, LA, and architecture firms.

    In the end, I think most of it will come down to how effectively you market your skills, education, and experience.
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

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    Cyburbian Jakers's avatar
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    Dan,
    Actually it is the University of Louisville, which is to be accredited this April. They do have some design studio courses in conjunction with the Architecture dept at UK. Speaking with some student s though they were not happy with the programs design side whcih is understandable considering it is a new program originating out of the school for public affairs.

    I would have to agree that it is how I market myself after graduating that will ultimately determine where I end up, just like anything else. That gives me solace. I know that the education does not define me or what I do. I define the education.

    Judging by the comments I would have to say that it is not a factor. Or at least not to the extent that it will inibit me as long as I stay on target.

    Thanks all.

    Feel free to comment more with your experiences
    "Inside Joke"

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    You're in a city which has an excellent school with a design-based planning program. Am I missing something? It sounds like it's exactly what you're looking for.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Depends on what you want to do, what your internships are, and what classes you take at the school that may be outside of the core. I went to a heavily policy-oriented school but there were opportunities for urban design work outside of the program. In the end, its not just where you go but what you make of it.

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    If the skills you learn are transferable, you'll be fine.

  10. #10
    What do y'all think about earning an M.P.P. (Master's of Public Policy) and then taking that into the private sector? I thought about applying to several public policy programs but then thought it might be a hinderance to a private sector job. I'd like a degree that's flexible and allows me to work in either public, private, or non-profit work.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by Jakers View post
    Judging by the comments I would have to say that it is not a factor. Or at least not to the extent that it will inibit me as long as I stay on target.
    Right on. Experience is a big thing too. Get yourself into an internship or volunteer work doing what you want to end up doing and you'll be better set up for employment down the road.
    I made the mistake of getting an internship in a side of the field I'm not crazy about and a bit apart from my academic focus, just to get a job. Now I'm applying for other positions and that experience is what employers are most interested in.
    Point being, seek out intern work in something you're interested in. In addition to putting you in the right direction, you'll be more passionate about it and you'll do better work (thus get better recommendations)!

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