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Thread: MUP vs career experience

  1. #1
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    MUP vs career experience

    Hi all,

    Looking at relocating from New Zealand to Toronto in a years time, because my girlfriend will be studying at U of T.

    I have a Bachelor of Planning, 2.5 years work experience, have partially completed a Grad Certificate in Project Management, am not currently working (thank you GFC).

    I hear Toronto is a saturated market so I want to be in the best position possible. I'm trying to decide between accepting a job and working for a year or studying for my MUP (12 months via thesis) here in New Zealand. In a years time I would either have:

    A: MUP, Bachelor of Planning, (partially completed) Grad Certificate in Project Management, 2.5 years work experience.

    or

    B: Bachelor of Planning, (completed) Grad Certificate in Project Management, 3.5 years work experience.

    Which do you think is a better position for finding work in Toronto (or any other major city in North America)?

    Thanks for your 2 cents

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by toomanyclowns View post
    Hi all,

    Looking at relocating from New Zealand to Toronto in a years time, because my girlfriend will be studying at U of T.

    I have a Bachelor of Planning, 2.5 years work experience, have partially completed a Grad Certificate in Project Management, am not currently working (thank you GFC).

    I hear Toronto is a saturated market so I want to be in the best position possible. I'm trying to decide between accepting a job and working for a year or studying for my MUP (12 months via thesis) here in New Zealand. In a years time I would either have:

    A: MUP, Bachelor of Planning, (partially completed) Grad Certificate in Project Management, 2.5 years work experience.

    or

    B: Bachelor of Planning, (completed) Grad Certificate in Project Management, 3.5 years work experience.

    Which do you think is a better position for finding work in Toronto (or any other major city in North America)?

    Thanks for your 2 cents
    I think most people would take a job at this point. If you can pay for the college and living expenses, then two years of being a waiterWal-Mart shelf stocker, I say go for it.

    (My glass is half full, but its half full of tainted groundwater from industrial agriculture)

  3. #3
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    I can manage the tuition fees without going bankrupt, but not sure about being a Wal-Mart shelf stacker

    How much work experience can you subsitute with an MUP?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I would focus on trying to nail down a job. IMHO 2.5 years of experience places you in a better position for landing work than most recent masters graduates. Personally, I'm not seeing the payoff in my M.Pl. In Canada (at least as it appears to me) experience seems to rule any day over education.

  5. #5
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by toomanyclowns View post
    I can manage the tuition fees without going bankrupt, but not sure about being a Wal-Mart shelf stacker

    How much work experience can you subsitute with an MUP?
    Here in the States it is usually something like 2 years. But it all really depends. Honestly I would try and stay in school for as long as you can right now... that is unless you know of a job opportunity, then I would say take it. The market is tough now, so even if you have experience, there are bound to be people with more education and more experience.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    What type of work experience is it? This is a rare time that I would say choose the MUP over the work experience (only if you could complete the MUP in less than 2 years).

    1. You aren't working.
    2. You have 2.5 years (hopefully planning or planning-related) but that might not stack up against others with more experience AND a degree AND licensure/certification.
    3. I assume the MUP is just to boost your planning resume, correct? If you complete the MUP in a reduced time (without going into significant debt) 1 to 1 1/2 years is not going make a huge difference. The market will still suck, but at least you will have a greater chance of landing interviews. Again, make sure you don't go to an expensive school, live within your means, and preferably go to school on someone else's dime.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  7. #7
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    Thanks for your comments fellow Cyburians

    My experience is 2 years as a planning consultant in New Zealand and 6 months as a local government planner in Alberta (I had a 1 year working holiday visa).

    Yeah, thinking the MUP will boost my resume. I can go to my hometown school, where I got my undergrad, and complete in a year. Fees are relatively inexpensive too.

    Was thinking in larger cities with more applicants, like Toronto, perhaps employers are making their first cut based on qualifications, then looking at experience levels second? Anyone experienced this? I guess thats where my question came from re how much experience is substituted with the MUP.

    @Tingbudong - where did you study your M.Plan? Did you go straight to grad school after your undergrad?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by toomanyclowns View post

    Was thinking in larger cities with more applicants, like Toronto, perhaps employers are making their first cut based on qualifications, then looking at experience levels second? Anyone experienced this? I guess thats where my question came from re how much experience is substituted with the MUP.
    I would consider very carefully whether there will be jobs in a year after you graduate. The world economy will likely not be picking up by then. I don't know what its like up there, but down here in the States we're looking at probably two more years of moribund economy where construction will be slow, possibly more. No construction, no planning, no openings.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    @Tingbudong - where did you study your M.Plan? Did you go straight to grad school after your undergrad?
    5 years between my undergrad and masters. 1 working in forestry and 4 international.

    Went to Queen's. The planning schools love to play up how 'interdisciplinary' and 'diverse' their student bodies are and how this is such a great strength of the profession. If I had known before how utterly worthless my past experiences would be in the workplace and that an M.Pl doesn't compensate for much...

    That's just me though.

  10. #10
    Experience trumps superfluous education every time. As long as you have the basic educational qualifications for a job, employers care about experience abd specialized skills, not your awesome degree.

    Think about the opportunity cost... a graduate degree may be nice to have and everything, but if you can enter your career's job market with what you have now, do that instead of forfeiting momentum to go lock yourself away in academia.

  11. #11
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    Hmmmm. What happens to planners that look like job hoppers? If a resume lists employment as 2 years, 6 months, then 1 year, would that be seen as job hopping - irrespective of having valid reasons for having to leave?
    Also, I don't think I'd get a good reference from an employer, if leaving after one year

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by toomanyclowns View post
    Hmmmm. What happens to planners that look like job hoppers? If a resume lists employment as 2 years, 6 months, then 1 year, would that be seen as job hopping - irrespective of having valid reasons for having to leave?
    Also, I don't think I'd get a good reference from an employer, if leaving after one year
    #1. You are talking about a 3 1/2 years total, which isn't a whole lot to draw conclusions, including loyalty. Now, if you were switching jobs one a year or once every two years over a 10-20 year span, that would raise more flags.
    #2. It depends on what you did in that 1-2 years. If you could leave a good impression as a summer intern, you can still leave a good impresison even if you worked 6 months.
    #3. Be VERY careful how you phrase your reasons for leaving a job to a prospective employer. This is a trap on job applications/interviews. Never bad-mouth an employer or a company. Spin your answers to a positive and stress what you learned and how that can apply to the job you are currently going after.

    Hope this helps-
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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