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Thread: Am I on the right track? Young, female would-be urban planner/developer

  1. #1
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    Am I on the right track? Young, female would-be urban planner/developer

    Hello all! First post here, but Iíve been a longtime lurker. I have a question about education and career trajectory. I think some of you will be able to bring answers to the table that have lots of experience and perspective behind them.

    Iím a 23 year old woman holding a degree from Queens College (NY) in Urban Studies with a concentration in planning. I have always loved this city and have a passion for our urban environment. I like knowing what makes this city tick, how it works, how itís planned and how to keep it running smoothly for everyone. I am particularly enthusiastic about new developments and new ways to beautify and revitalize communities through ďresident-friendlyĒ developments. My ultimate dream would be to own my own development firm specializing in community revitalization and/or middle income housing (pipe dream, I know!!)

    I currently work for a very high end real estate development and investment company on the Upper East Side. Our company has a really impressive portfolio and I go to work every day so happy to do what I do because I really feel like weóin some wayómake a mark on this city. I like taking a walk and recognizing buildings that we have owned, developed or have been involved with in some way. I work as the assistant to the director of all development; this means I go to construction sites with him, speak to subcontractors, get bids on materials, assist in project schedules and cost analyses, etc. While I love what I do, I feel it is time for me to further my education and start to really advance in my career. I do not want to be ďstuckĒ being an assistant forever and feel now is the time for me to go for it. This would either mean taking on more responsibility within this company or elsewhere.

    My question is this: if I like the design/construction aspect of development MUCH more than the financial/acquisition aspect, what would be a good Masterís Degree for me to get? Iím torn between urban planning, real estate development or civil engineering. Ideally, I would like to be able to work on a project from conception to design and then completion. I want to be brainstorming with other developers/designers/architects, drawing up plans, figuring out ways to fit a development in with the character of a specific community or neighborhood and be on site making sure everything is going to plan. Am I on the right track?

    Iím leaning towards an MSRED (Master of Science in Real Estate Development), but I can definitely see the merits of an M.E. (Master of Engineering). Should I do both? Iím almost positive my company will sponsor at least one of those degrees.

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Go for planning

    Quote Originally posted by nativenewyorker View post
    ...I am particularly enthusiastic about new developments and new ways to beautify and revitalize communities through ďresident-friendlyĒ developments. My ultimate dream would be to own my own development firm specializing in community revitalization and/or middle income housing...

    I currently work for a very high end real estate development and investment company... I really feel like weóin some wayómake a mark on this city. I like taking a walk and recognizing buildings that we have owned, developed or have been involved with in some way. I work as the assistant to the director of all development; this means I go to construction sites with him, speak to subcontractors, get bids on materials, assist in project schedules and cost analyses, etc. While I love what I do, I feel it is time for me to further my education and start to really advance in my career. I do not want to be ďstuckĒ being an assistant forever and feel now is the time for me to go for it. This would either mean taking on more responsibility within this company or elsewhere.

    My question is this: if I like the design/construction aspect of development MUCH more than the financial/acquisition aspect, what would be a good Masterís Degree for me to get? Iím torn between urban planning, real estate development or civil engineering. Ideally, I would like to be able to work on a project from conception to design and then completion. I want to be brainstorming with other developers/designers/architects, drawing up plans, figuring out ways to fit a development in with the character of a specific community or neighborhood and be on site making sure everything is going to plan. Am I on the right track?

    Iím leaning towards an MSRED (Master of Science in Real Estate Development), but I can definitely see the merits of an M.E. (Master of Engineering). ...
    Real estate development is more of an associates degree level, IMHO. (I have a BS in urban planning and several semesters of grad-level coursework in urban & regional planning; worked as a "real estate specialist" which was actually project management. That was all seat-of-the-pants and did not require any higher education. In my view, that's a job you could step right into from where you are.)

    Civil engineering will teach you all about the co-efficient of friction of various materials, which would be helpful if you want to design bridges or specify the tensile strength of various types of concrete.

    Perhaps you can find a program that will let you select courses that will be practical on the job, and compile a specialized degree.

    N.B. Being female is not part of this equation. To quote my favorite governor, "just sayin'."

  3. #3
    What you describe enjoying about your current job has very little to do with planning. If you want to do design and construction, that sounds a lot like architecture or maybe engineering. You're happy seeing things happen. Planners don't see things happen very often. My advice: stay exactly where you are, put your job first.

  4. #4
    maudit anglais
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    Sounds to me like you are already on the right track and you are getting great experience. Have you talked with your supervisor about your goals? One of the first things I would look at is, what is his/her background? That should give you an idea right there about what additional education/experience you might want to pursue.

    If you like the "big picture" side of the industry I would tend to stay with the real estate development degree idea. I'm not sure a Masters of Engineering would be all that useful.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Just want to say that if you plan to do the Engineering Degree, you would be doing a 2nd bachelors. You could also bridge in to a Masters if you took about a year or a year and a half of pre-reqs.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I would go for the Real Estate Development.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I would go for the Real Estate Development.
    agreed.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

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