Saturday, August 9, 2014

Joint Degree: Worth It?

I'm not sure if you remember me, but around seven years ago I sat in your office as a student in College Park and you told me to apply to Michigan. Two years later you gave a lecture to my class at the Taubman College of Architecture in Ann Arbor about becoming an architect. During the lecture you called me out in the audience, which confused the hell out of my classmates. I graduated with a BS in 2010 and have been working in New York and the Middle East since then. 

Lately I've been contemplating a return to school in order to pursue an MArch. My boss is critical of the idea, mostly because of how much work we're getting at the moment, but I think in the long run, it's the right move. I've been doing a little bit of research into the MArch/MBA dual degree and I came across this link:

Pretty weird coincidence. Figured I'd drop you a line and ask your opinion of these dual programs. My main hesitation is the intensity and workload. I can't imagine pursuing an architecture degree while simultaneously attending a school like Wharton or Ross. I also feel like I'd inevitably miss out on some useful architecture electives (fabrication, processing, etc). At the same time, I've worked for enough offices to recognize that architects are generally poor businessmen, which is what led to my interest in this option in the first place. For students who do complete the dual degree, what kind of jobs are they getting out of school? 

Sorry for the monster email, but it's not often that I randomly cross paths with the same person, even if it is over the internet. Just by suggesting that I check out UMich, you've already had a pretty big impact on my career, so I appreciate any other advice I can get.    

On the surface, I wholeheartedly support the pursuit of joint degrees at the graduate level.  It makes you as the candidate more marketable in the job market.  In most cases, it allows you to complete two degrees in less time and less investment.

To best determine what graduates are doing, I suggest you contact the programs that offer the joint MBA/MArch degree. From my experience at Illinois, some depart architecture for various reasons.

As to whether you should pursue the degrees now or not will depend on your situation.  If your firm has work, perhaps now is NOT the time but you can research, take the GMAT, etc.

In the long road having two degrees creates options and opportunities; what those will be is determined by you.


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