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Thread: Graduate programs in construction management

  1. #1
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    Graduate programs in construction management

    Hi folks,

    I joined Cyburbia for a few reason, mostly those on career development. My 3 years of experience in planning has had me in a land trust, a municipality, and now at the county. The land trust was most enjoyable because I was one part planner, one part GIS and mostly spent my day outside looking at properties.

    Now I'm at the county level, the benefits are nice, the salary sucks, and I miss the sunlight.

    I find that a multitude of jobs prefer graduate level education, but I'm not so sure I want to pigeon hole myself into planning. Design would be fun, but I can learn that in my free time. Drafting would be useful, but a salary cut.

    Construction Management seems worthwhile. Could be applied to public works, planning, parks and recreation, private and public sectors, code enforcement, natural resources, etc.

    By the time I'd actually apply for such a program I'd have 4-5 years experience in planning (and be out from under my undergraduate loans), and would probably continue in planning while in school. Future positions could be in planning based on experience or else-where based on education.

    Seem reasonable?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Have you considered an MPA? At least in my mind, construction management could be useful but it's not one of those degrees that people necessarily associate with the things you mentioned. MPAs on the other hand are shoe-ins for most public sector and non-profit work.

  3. #3
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    I'm not really interested in an MPA because I work with a few. Most of them are paper pushers. Even more so than a planner.

    I want to learn more about construction, maintenance, and operations management.

    Professional experience of a planner, but the hands-on experience of a foreman.

    I think it'd be very useful in parks and recreation, borough/city manager, etc.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PHeller View post
    I'm not really interested in an MPA because I work with a few. Most of them are paper pushers. Even more so than a planner.

    I want to learn more about construction, maintenance, and operations management.

    Professional experience of a planner, but the hands-on experience of a foreman.

    I think it'd be very useful in parks and recreation, borough/city manager, etc.
    I worked with some CM folks from Penn St on several grad school projects, and dated a PSU CM grad, but I'm not an expert, so caveat emptor. I wouldn't say the highlighted was what these folks were striving for in their education. A CM isn't a foreman per se. A CM is a CM, gives foremen their tasks, and doesn't want a job in a Parks Dept (if you could get someone to give you an interview and you move to the final cut). You might do City Manager stuff, but you'd be competing with Policy folks in cities. Unless you go out into rural lands and manage a town of several thousand, then you'll want to have public works knowledge, which might be covered in your CM program.

    Nevertheless, the program seemed interesting and I enjoyed walking around with the woman I was seeing, hearing her talk about this building or that project.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Design would be fun, but I can learn that in my free time.

    Prove it.

    Drafting would be useful, but a salary cut.

    I have done drafting as side jobs in the past to bring in extra money to a main job. BTW, you can't learn drafting (which is NOT just all CAD) from a course or by learning in your free time. It takes month of intense practice.



    I know you aren't focusing in those areas but don't write them off as something you can casually do. I know a few draftsman who work in gas pipelines using Solidworks (non-planning work) who make much more than planners (and they are only the draftsman).
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Welcome to Cyburbia!

    Moved the thread to the Student Lounge and back again, so there would be a redirect to this thread (expires in a week) in that forum.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    I wouldn't say the highlighted was what these folks were striving for in their education. A CM isn't a foreman per se. A CM is a CM, gives foremen their tasks, and doesn't want a job in a Parks Dept (if you could get someone to give you an interview and you move to the final cut). You might do City Manager stuff, but you'd be competing with Policy folks in cities. Unless you go out into rural lands and manage a town of several thousand, then you'll want to have public works knowledge, which might be covered in your CM program.
    My goal has always been to raise the eyebrows of a potential employer in the variety of background that I have. While I appreciated a long-time professional in a given field, eventually there comes a point where that professional is just going through the motions.

    I consider myself a very adaptable person, borderline on requiring situations to change so that I may have new stimulus. Once I have done something too many times, the quality of my work decreases. I challenge myself in my profession to always find a faster, cheaper, more efficient way of doing something, so I can take on a new task, new challenge, and new stimulus.

    What I love about Planning is the community aspect. Our profession is inherently people based, and people change. Communities are constantly changing, and you've got to adapt in order to effectively solve the problems of today and tomorrow. What I hate about planning is well...the planning. We can talk all day about what we think should be done, but someone eventually has to do it. My currently position doesn't allow me the freedom to engage the public in the way I wish I could. I'm bogged down in mundane tasks that occupy 85% of my time and unfortunately, most of my office is this way.

    I'd like to combine that interest and background in community outreach (the planning profession) with the "how can we get this done" aspect of the construction industry.

    Are there graduate programs that cover Public Works topics?

  8. #8
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    Did my last post even register? it was a good one...I hope I don't have to type it again.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    I wouldn't say the highlighted was what these folks were striving for in their education. A CM isn't a foreman per se. A CM is a CM, gives foremen their tasks, and doesn't want a job in a Parks Dept (if you could get someone to give you an interview and you move to the final cut). You might do City Manager stuff, but you'd be competing with Policy folks in cities. Unless you go out into rural lands and manage a town of several thousand, then you'll want to have public works knowledge, which might be covered in your CM program.
    My goal has always been to raise the eyebrows of a potential employer in the variety of background that I have. While I appreciated a long-time professional in a given field, eventually there comes a point where that professional is just going through the motions.

    I consider myself a very adaptable person, borderline on requiring situations to change so that I may have new stimulus. Once I have done something too many times, the quality of my work decreases. I challenge myself in my profession to always find a faster, cheaper, more efficient way of doing something, so I can take on a new task, new challenge, and new stimulus.

    What I love about Planning is the community aspect. Our profession is inherently people based, and people change. Communities are constantly changing, and you've got to adapt in order to effectively solve the problems of today and tomorrow. What I hate about planning is well...the planning. We can talk all day about what we think should be done, but someone eventually has to do it. My currently position doesn't allow me the freedom to engage the public in the way I wish I could. I'm bogged down in mundane tasks that occupy 85% of my time and unfortunately, most of my office is this way.

    I'd like to combine that interest and background in community outreach (the planning profession) with the "how can we get this done" aspect of the construction industry.

    Are there graduate programs that cover Public Works topics?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    long-term versus short term goals

    It seems like you know what you want to do it the short term (construction management/science program) and that makes sense for getting out from behind the desk and more involved with people as you say you would like to do. I wonder however, how well these goals would gel with your long-term goal of PW director of CM. From what I have expierenced in my brief time working in cities these positions seem to only leave their offices to go to meetings. They often face endless discussions about a project, which can drag for months to even years, when the projects do get to be a go they then have to hand them off and get to little first-hand work.
    That being said most of my expierence has been with large suburbs and there may be a lot more hands-on and outdoor work in a small town where the CM wears so many hats. It seems in larger towns and cities in my area though, there is a slow and steady shift in the background of CMs away from Engineering and Public Works toward more people with a Finance/HR/'I-have-always-beennan-executive-level type background.

    I also just want to second nrschmid statment about the difficulty of self-learning drafting. At the land surveying and development firm I work for now I have to train all the new drafters and in my expierence even with close supervision someone with an associates degree in drafting takes about 3 months to get up to speed and for someone with no expierence it takes about 6 before they aren't loosing us money.

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