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Should I give up my admission to a MCRP degree?

ggggrace

Member
Messages
1
Points
0
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!
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
11,883
Points
38
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.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
431
Points
11
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.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
431
Points
11
@ggggrace apply to this at Seattle Dept of Transportation! It might just be up your alley :). Or at least, read the description so you can get an idea of what a tech policy role might look like in the public sector/local government.

 

bentobox34

Cyburbian
Messages
63
Points
4
I've watched the TNC revolution for the past 8 years or so and the trend I'm seeing is that more transit agencies want to think like tech companies and more tech companies want to think like public transit agencies. What I mean is that pretty much every metro area is trying to have some kind of "flexible/innovative" approach to transit using new technology, and the ridehailing app companies are finding more and more that they need to partner with public agencies to increase their footprint. Therefore I would think that anyone with experience on both sides of the fence is going to be in demand in the near future. I'm seeing jobs like that Seattle posting seemingly every week lately.
 
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