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Should I give up my admission to a MCRP degree?


I'm a newly admitted grad student for a city planning degree in the US starting this fall (2019), and I decided to specialize in transport planning.
But after working in the DOT of my hometown for a while, I found my real interest is in the private sector, especially tech companies like Uber, Lyft, and other sharing economy services.

And I further found in these companies the core seems to be IT and business people, instead of transport planning, even hardly find transport engineering positions. Although Lyft does have some positions require urban planning/GIS background, but still very few.

I admit that I did not think thoroughly enough before applying. I'm very interested in urban issues and want to make people's lives better. Even though, I found that collaborating with my teammates, creating some service really useful, developing our business and making a profit because of our good work is what I want. Thus, I start to feel that a MCRP degree may not be the best fit of my interest.

Should give up studying this MCRP degree and just start applying for jobs among sharing economy companies? Or should I look for courses and career opportunities during this 2 year's study (which I consider very long since I already have a master's degree in geography..)?

Looking forward to any suggestions!


If it was me and after the stint @ your DOT, I think I'd look for a job in what you want to do. Doesn't sound like your interest is as strong as it was for that work. Therefore form what I'm reading, you're going to grad school for a 2nd masters you might not use.


With a master's in city planning, you'd basically end up in a policy role (either in lobbying/government relations, business development, research, or public-private partnership type of role) if you wanted to work at these companies. But because there are so few of these roles, your best bet is to to go to a well-known program with strong ties to the Bay Area or other large cities where this work is happening, like Berkeley, MIT, Columbia, NYU, etc.

As for whether you should give up or defer your MCP, it's a tossup. You're right that the only "engineering" these companies value is software engineering and coding. In one sense, you're better off learning some information science and data analytics, but that wouldn't put you in the policy role you'd be interested in. With a planning or policy degree, you'd be one of the "progressive/holistic thinkers" at a tech company. Given that you already have a Master's in something related, you might not need the MCP and instead start interning at a non-profit like Shared Use Mobility Center in Chicago, NACTO in NYC, etc. and then work your way into a tech/ridesharing company from there.

some other ideas are also scooter and bikeshare companies/organizations - those are exploding right now all over the country. They'd likely give you a chance to travel and learn from or implement new programs all over.