I've lived in these forums after stumbling across it a few weeks ago and have benefited from reading all of your patient, balanced insights and about your diverse experiences. Thank you all in advance for considering this (long) post.
A bit about me. I will be graduating with a public policy degree (in 6 weeks!) and have been accepted into Harvard's MUP and Berkeley's MCP program for the fall term. My ultimate goal is to do economic development and planning China, dealing not only with development and design but with associated labor and environmental issues (since I have a policy bent).
However, I am uncertain how to assess the potential benefits of each program and whether they're worth the cost. Here is how things are weighing out it my mind, and I would appreciate your thoughts about my assessment:
Pros - Great breadth of planning courses, has a stronger policy/social science orientation, strong reputation, inexpensive (relative to Harvard, anyway).
Cons - limited access to international community (relative to Harvard, but I could be wrong about this), few international courses, name might not be as prestigious internationally and would limit job opportunities (relative to Harvard, but again I could be wrong).
Pros - Strong studio and physical design training, ability to cross-register at KSG and MIT thereby providing access to international people and courses and making up for the dearth of policy-oriented courses within GSD, recognized name brand in China which would help with international employment.
Cons - Cost, might not have enough policy-orientation (a subjective matter, I know) even with cross-registration.
With financial aid still up in the air, I'm going to assume the worst case scenario that I'll have to pay for both. Thus, for me the primary issues are cost, international employability, and sufficiency of policy training. Is it worth the cost of going to Harvard if it will help with breaking into China, or is Berkeley quite well-respected internationally as well? What are your thoughts about the ability to attain a design training that does not come at the expense of policy-oriented training at GSD?
Thanks for making it through this post and for any insights any of you may have.