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Accepted to both programs, but Harvard is offering 15.5k. The long term plan is to ride the architect/developer wave but right now i'm in a pleasant pickle. For anyone plugged into this industry, been through one of the programs, or in the same conundrum i am, please feel free to share your thoughts. Is it ultimately about networking, and if so, which Uni is the better choice? -thanks
wouldn't the GSAPP MSRED top Harvard MDesS anyday? Unless it's a Harvard MBA
If you're looking to stay in nyc then MSRED for sure. From most of my research, Harvard has a much better brand name internationally. I've heard MSRED is the place to be for RE development/finance but having said that MDEss gives you more flexibility and intellectual depth (smaller class size, focus is on learning not so much networking). And for those interested in finance, you can take classes from HBS or MIT. MSRED is probably better for networking and finding jobs in the short term.
I'm in the same dilemma and right now learning towards Harvard, it's also cheaper for me.
@re1234 I've heard the same. In fact, all my coworkers swear Harvard is the easier choice as the international name will stretch further with project financing than Columbia. Although this may be so, I find it easier to believe that I could fall right into a cosy job in New York coming right out of Columbia. I've been speaking with Columbia about further grant funding, and there is no budging.
@batman why do you believe the Ms RED is the better program?
"ride the architect/developer wave"
Its funny I don't think I have ever seen you write a positive, or even optimistic, post on an archinect board. Hmmm.... you must be just an awesome architect - super happy with every decision you have ever made. (Presumably running your own extremely profitable office and building some of the best buildings in the world)?? Man... I wish I could be an amazing and infallible architect fulfilling all of my dreams by just wishing them like you.
You should post your portfolio of work, so that we can all bow to you. And post your CV too...
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
@amlocke, did you end up making a decision? anyone else trying to decide between the two?
here is a link that i was reading
it seems like the top schools for MSRED are: GSAPP, NYU, USC, and MIT.
it's a long thread, but it's good and funny. I did remember some people talking about the GSD Msdesds but it's a very different focus than the 4 programs.
Batman keeping it real! I owe you an email. Just been swamped.
As for miles Jaffe. He ain't an architect.
Harvard or Columbia...come on guys. Splitting hairs. Anyone or any employer who turns there nose at either school is obviously a lunatic. I'd say make it easy on yourself and take the most affordable option or in the place you want to work.
Amloche...wherever you go, it would be great if you could blog about it. A lot of people including myself are quite interested in this topic. The more insight the better! Congrats on the admissions and good luck.
I have yet to meet a real estate developer with social consciousness, environmental responsibility, or even basic human decency.
You'd think that the kind of young idealists who would be interested in architecture would aspire to at least some of these qualities. Then again, maybe it's just me that thinks this way.
yea no worries, man!
I have a question, if you don't mind answering.
What made you decide on this new career path? Do you currently practice as an architect and if so, how long have you been at it? Were you inspired by your professional interactions with real estate developers? What specific observations did you make that lead you to this?
As a recent graduate, I've had the opportunity to learn more about the developer side of the equation. I find it interesting, but I am wondering at what point one might say "that is not only interesting, but I think I might want to be on the other side of the table".
Or is it just that studying real estate development with an architectural focus enables you to simply be a better architect?
...Maybe I should start my own thread.
didn't realize there was such a developer vs.architect "selling your soul" battle. fyi..i'm not an architect, never studied it either..always been on the development and financial side of RE. what i can say however though is that even developers can contribute positively towards urban development (if not aesthetics) (think infrastructure, affordable housing, healthcare, educational facilities) ..in fact, in some ways, doesn't architecture fall under the umbrella of development? be it single units or mixed-use schemes. someone's gotta commission the architects. they all work in tandem as different parts of a machine. obviously this is subject to the type of architecture and in a lot of ways yes i am generalizing. but then again, generalizations exist due to some semblance of a rationale.
i went over to the r.e. side after M.arch studies. love it.
taking the gmat this summer and doing msred &b-school applications this fall.
personal and biased view of columbia msred is that it's 75% networking and 25% skillsset. what the program lacks in rigor it makes up for with enthusiasm.
C - Why do you need more education, you already have a masters in architecture? Are you leaving architecture completely for finance or trying to balance the two? If you want to go and do the balancing act, I'd save yourself the time and money and try to make you own project happen. Any developer will tell you that, that is best way to learn.
I couldn't imagine going back after having an MArch to do another graduate degree unless you did your degree 20 years ago. Or you've fallen in love with complex investment analysis / strategies.
I personally have no interest in the later. Load the chamber and pull!
I appreciate this thread going the way its going. I've got a B.Arch from a west coast school, and am looking to head east in 1-2 years to either the GSAPP MSRED or MIT's program. I took a look at the Harvard program, but one thing is it goes beyond a 1 year commitment. I see a lot of reciprocity between Harvard and MIT, and would figure that spending time in MIT's 1 year program and getting HBS classes would be a better investment (considering any MSRED program is going to be 50k+ per year)
And M Jaffe, I agree that there aren't a lot of developers out there with a social consciousness or environmental responsibility, but there are certainly architects that fit that mold as well. As you know, more often than not, architects are forced to wear multiple hats and have "expertise" in so many areas outside of their general education. When it comes down to it, buildings are always going to be a slave to financing, and if more architects could have the background to apply whatever philosophy they hold about the built environment, more power to 'em. Personally, I don't find it attractive to put years of my life into a profession that essentially boils down to a service profession for people with gobs money, hoping that one day, you'll find that client that really trusts your opinion and gives you creative freedom. I don't think Real Estate is the end-all solution, but at least it gives architects with that background a bit more leverage and conversational ability when partnering with developers.
mfischer3387, optimistically put. Hopefully in practice you can implement a higher level of ethics in both professions.
spackle - its a can of worms. leaving architecture, but it doesn't feel like it because I'm making buildings. And its partly that i really dig the finance side, though i'm no quant. I agree w. you about how much one stands to learn on doing a project of their own. Statistically I tend to find the folks who are doing work I would like to be doing have mba, a handful have msred. I turned 30 a few days ago and its now or never..or one of those lame e-mba's years later.. I am undecided between msred/mba, and figure I'll apply to both and see where it leaves me.
for sure, CPC bros are doing sweet work ( no pun) and i don't think either has deg.
@m.jaffe.. 'leaving' architecture has allowed me to continue to love it. Had I not, its likely i'd be spending my friday pm still in my office making embittered posts on some architecture forum !
amlocke: I went the B. Arch / MBA route myself and spent about 1/2 of my career in Real Estate Development and the other half practicing architecture. I retired at age 60.
I can't give you any specific advice about either of the academic programs you are considering, other than to say I'm sure both programs are excellent. However, whichever school you choose, the extra 'business oriented' degree from a top school will open doors to you that simply won't open (easily) to those possessing nothing beyond a degree in architecture.
I will say this -- if, and when, you move to the other side of the table, I can guarantee that you will have much more influence over the quality of the architecture than you ever will have in professional practice. What you decide to do with that influence is up to you -- I hope you exercise it well.
Even if you decide later that you want to return to professional practice, your time in development will make you a much better architect because you will understand the challenges that your clients face. At that point, you truly will 'speak their language'.
Don't let the naysayers here put you off -- there's really no reason not to embrace BOTH a greater control over design AND an opportunity to make more money. It's your life -- spend it as you wish.
Firstly, I apologies for the late reply. It seems work has commandeered my nights as well.
@re1234, no decision yet, as I feel I don’t have a strong enough grasp of the Harvard program. I’ll be attending the open house, so hopefully that will shed some light on the prospect.
@batman, after reading about Harvard on that thread it actually makes me want to go there more. According to the form, Columbia is the better RED school, but the fact that Harvard is so “special” and oriented towards entrepreneurial spirited individuals seems to be more analogues with my intended architect/developer career path.
@spackle, splitting hairs indeed, but a difficult decision between two great things, is a difficult decision none the less. I thank you for the blog idea. I currently have a blog on archinect, and was considering starting a new one covering the development of my RED education. I’m glad to find that there is some interest in the topic.
@ drewjmcnamara, In my third year undergrad in architecture I began to realize what little power the architect has over his project. I previously held aggrandized ideals of the master builder which were shattered to pieces by the present day predicament. I decided I wanted more control of my projects, and mentioned this to a friend who pointed me towards the work of Jonathan Segal. After meeting him and Ted Smith down in San Diego, I was sold. I even probed them for jobs but they’re a tight knit little group, and they instead recommended their RED program at Woodbury. After looking at that program, I broadened my search, my eyes eventually fixating on Columbia and Harvard.
I’m still young. I took two years off after undergrad to diversify my portfolio and resume before applying to grad school. I just picked up work in Los Angeles at a notable design firm and have barely scratched IDP. My interaction with developers is minimal and I see my “new career path” as merely a modification of the modern usage of the word architect. As I too found interest in the development, it has never been my intent to be on the other side of the table, but to redesign the table around the architect.
@c- I got that impression as well by doing a simple facebook search. Columbia has a substantial presence, participating in weekly dinners, excursions, ect, while MDesS has no facebook representation whatsoever.
@quizzical, thanks for the insightful advice. It sounds like you had a successful career as many baby boomers do not have the luxury of retiring early. Congrats to you for that. The gain of influence is my primary drive for the pursuit of this education, and I wish to wield it in a manner which reflects positively on the built environment. If you don’t mind me asking, what caused you to shift industries from RED to architecture, and was this transition easy at that time?
@quizzical Care to share some of your experience with those of us who have similar inclination ?
on the RE side were you working on commercial ? resi ? other ? Any scenarios when your arch trumped in a situation ?
I'm thinking a little about my application 'narrative' and curious to know how you see the combo background working out in hindsight
(amlocke if you feel this hijacks original question we can do another thread..)
amlocke / c: a brief summary of my career. After architecture school, I started working for a "corporate" firm and became licensed in 3-1/2 years; I then returned to school (full time) to obtain my MBA; I then went to work for a large commercial development company in retail development - mostly regional malls; from there, I was recruited back to a design firm, into a management position; after a time, I left that position to start my own company; friends who earlier had left the large commercial development company to do their own thing recruited me to join their firm, where I stayed for some years in a development management and ownership position, doing big-box retail; when commercial real estate collapsed in the early 1990s, we found it impossible to do any new deals, so we disbanded and I returned to the world of design as a principal - with partners - where I stayed until my retirement.
I guess you might say that I drifted between design and development as opportunities arose -- and, as the spirit moved me. Throughout it all, I always thought of myself primarily as an architect, no matter the specific job description I carried at any one time.