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Thread: Planning degree with MBA or not?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian drjb's avatar
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    Planning degree with MBA or not?

    I am currently getting my master's in urban planning and am considering getting an mba simultaneously. I want to go into real estate development, preferably green design. Is it worth it to try and get into the mba program? Does anyone out there have these two degrees, if so what do you do with them. Any advice.

  2. #2
    Before you sign up for an MBA program, you should read these first:
    http://www.businessweek.com/bschools...3490_bs001.htm
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...2/b3976089.htm
    http://joshkaufman.net/personalmba/

    Unless you're already rich, the only reason you should get an MBA degree is if you absolutely need it as a requirement for a job you want to apply for. If all you want is to learn business skills, you'll be much better off, and much less indebted, doing it at your own pace by reading, The most valuable aspect of an MBA are the "intangibles" meaning your email contact list. Alumnis help each other's career, but that means unless you went to one of the top schools (and paid top money) you won't be getting much help.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I have been giving this question lots of thought.

    I just started my MBA, I have a planning background.

    While the stats presented by business week are compelling reasons to not take it, and in reality alot of the work you do in your MBA is self taught (readings/group work), the articles tend to forget that people like to have some assurance of the quality of learning. So reading this book, that book, attending this conference and doing a task give you the same knowledge, people are unsure of the overall quality of your education and knowledge. I know alot of people who don't have their MBA's and are doing very well in business, I also know quite a few who have them and are also doing well. it is more based on the person and how they present themselves and what they want.

    I am taking mine as a way to transition into a new career in a different sector that I have only practical experience in, so I need it. If I wanted to stay as a planner, I probbaly would not need it.

    Finally, it is somethign I want to do, so spending the $$ on it is worth it to me. I look at it like taking vacations every year for the next 3 years, except my vacationis every week and I have something at teh end of it.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Dashboard's avatar
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    So Donk, you want to transition out of planning huh? I am in the same boat. I have looked at numerous other programs, while at the same time trying to figure out what I really want to do. I looked at design programs, MPA programs, and MBA programs. In my view, the MBA is very valuable, especially for someone seeking a career change. It is a degree that opens up a lot of options. I am still deciding what I really want to do...but I am quite certain that it is not what I am doing now.

  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Huh...I often question the usefulness of college educations in general, especially if you are a motivated, intelligent doer.

    Though, having an MBA and a planning degree will make you make marketable for private consulting (you could do both the market analysis and comp plan work) or for economic development with public agencies and/or municipalities.

    But I strongly encourage you to do it having no or little debt after the degree. The money for pay for the debt may have been more wisely spent/invested for "doing".
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    i don't know how far you are from finishing your planning degree, but i'm in a real estate development master's program, and it's awesome for so many reasons. if you're in LA, i would look into USC's program--it's available part time, like mine is. i'm really glad i am doing a real estate degree instead of planning or an MBA. if you want to do real estate development, get a real estate degree. email me if you want to talk about my program or other real estate programs, i've spent a lot of time looking at them.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dashboard View post
    So Donk, you want to transition out of planning huh? I am in the same boat. I have looked at numerous other programs, while at the same time trying to figure out what I really want to do. I looked at design programs, MPA programs, and MBA programs. In my view, the MBA is very valuable, especially for someone seeking a career change. It is a degree that opens up a lot of options. I am still deciding what I really want to do...but I am quite certain that it is not what I am doing now.
    I flipped back and forth between taking an MPA and an MBA, and since they both cost the same I decided to do the MBA. I also figured that considering my interests (organizational behavior, strat planning) an MBA would serve me better in the long run. plus I want out of the public sector, so changing the P to a B made sense.

    I find it interesting that Business week presents articles that say MBA's are less than necessary and then devote issues to ranking them. Makes me wonder.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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    Quote Originally posted by The District View post
    i don't know how far you are from finishing your planning degree, but i'm in a real estate development master's program, and it's awesome for so many reasons. if you're in LA, i would look into USC's program--it's available part time, like mine is. i'm really glad i am doing a real estate degree instead of planning or an MBA. if you want to do real estate development, get a real estate degree. email me if you want to talk about my program or other real estate programs, i've spent a lot of time looking at them.
    I have always been very interested in Real Estate Development. I honestly didn't even know that real estate development masters programs even existed. I just graduated with a B.S. in Finance and marketing, with minors in accounting and economics, and am a bond trader. I am already bored with bond trading... and would love to break into real estate. I was starting to look at some masters programs... but have noticed that most programs want you to have a good deal of experience in real estate, which I do not have, and am finding a hard time getting. I don't want to be a construction worker, but want experience in the field. Any suggestions? How selective/competitive are these programs?? What angles do you think I could work to get in? This just seems like a tough industry to get into... but I am realizing that it is where I want to be. Any suggestions/ guidance would help. thanks!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jdean123 View post
    I have always been very interested in Real Estate Development..... I just graduated with a B.S. in Finance and marketing, with minors in accounting and economics, and am a bond trader...... Any suggestions? What angles do you think I could work to get in? This just seems like a tough industry to get into... but I am realizing that it is where I want to be. Any suggestions/ guidance would help. thanks!

    As I am at school and kind of looking for a new job, I keep my open for jobs that may be of interest and have seen quite a few where your background in Finance and Accounting can be easily and readily transfered. These jobs tend to be with large development /faciltiy managment/ REIT firms in the back office "running the numbers". It may be worth a shot looking for this type of employment to get into the industry then seeing if you can transition to another section of the company.

    You may also want to get your real estate license in your state while you are at it.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  10. #10
    There's some good advice in this thread, but much of ignores the question of why you're unsatisfied with the planning practice. I think most people feel that there's a disconnect between what they expected to do and what they're actually doing. It's been my experience that the legal and procedural background of a planning degree (Masters--Bachelor degrees need not apply in this world) augments virtually anything else you might pursue. I have good friends who do more econometrics work for assorted development firms than would an MBA or an economist by virtue of their understanding of the finer points of the housing market.

    Whatever you decide to do, don't stop your planning education. If anything, consider concentrating heavily in economic/land use development.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    I have always been very interested in Real Estate Development. I honestly didn't even know that real estate development masters programs even existed. I just graduated with a B.S. in Finance and marketing, with minors in accounting and economics, and am a bond trader. I am already bored with bond trading... and would love to break into real estate. I was starting to look at some masters programs... but have noticed that most programs want you to have a good deal of experience in real estate, which I do not have, and am finding a hard time getting. I don't want to be a construction worker, but want experience in the field. Any suggestions? How selective/competitive are these programs?? What angles do you think I could work to get in? This just seems like a tough industry to get into... but I am realizing that it is where I want to be. Any suggestions/ guidance would help. thanks!
    jdean:
    admissions for masters in real estate vary greatly. email me if you want some more info.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    As a consultant who would like to rise up in my company, I wish I had the practical knowledge from an MBA - business plans, marketing plans, personnel practices, etc. As I get closer to ownership and management, I need to know more about running a business as well as being a planner. So, if you are interested in the private sector and would like to have ownership in a company, or hope to start your own business, I think an MBA would be very helpful.
    SOME say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate
    To know that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    Robert Frost (1874–1963) (From Harper’s Magazine, December 1920.)

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    Quote Originally posted by The District View post
    jdean:
    admissions for masters in real estate vary greatly. email me if you want some more info.
    I cannot figure out how to use this forum. There is no "Email" link to email you like the FAQs suggest.... Can't figure out how to email you. AH!

  14. #14

    all good advice

    I'm getting a MUP with essentially a real estate concentration/major. I also recommend the Master in RE or RED degree. But it all depends on the school and the contacts you will get while you are there. Check out the school website to see who hires the grads. Or talk to your favorite RE firm and ask where they hire from. I think you will find that largely real estate is still a local/networking game and not one based on education or other tests of merit (not that it should be). In the process of seeking advice on the masters in real estate...you might actually land yourself a job. Most RE firms hire on a need basis, as they come across a guy/girl with good energy and a wit and a willingness to ask questions and meet people. That could be you.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian IlliniPlanner's avatar
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    Being in the public sector for over 16 years, I would go for an MPA (Public Admin.) rather than an MBA. Leaves me open to consider positions such as village administrator as well.
    One lot of redevelopment prevents a block of sprawl.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Or find a program that is an MBA/PA so that you have an emphasis in Public Admin but you still have the overall MBA.
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  17. #17
    I was actually contemplating the same thing....MPA with a MBA. I would also like to get into "Green" development and urban infill. Anyway to get in contact with people on this thread?

  18. #18
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    RED advice

    hi there. i'm interested in what you think about real estate maser's degrees. i want to get involved in green building development -either with a builder or as a consultant. right now, i don't have any experience in construction or real estate. i live in LA and looked into the RED at USC and it seems they only take folks with experience. hmm. what advice can you give? thanks.

  19. #19
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    i was thinking the mba route as well, but was hoping to do it online, however i can't find one that focuses on planning. does anyone know if any are out there? ncu has an MBA program that i was looking at

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