Archinect
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MBA or not

LOOOL

I'm an architect with two years experience, and planned on doing my masters in computational design, but now, especially after the pandemic I realise how important it is to have your own savings,  I've been wondering if I should do an MBA instead, and wanted to know if anyone knows of architects who've got team lead positions at big architectural firms like Skidmore Owings, or Perkins and will, etc after the MBA Degree? Would this degree make a difference in the hiring process or will I be hired solely on the basis of my design experience?

 
Oct 1, 20 3:00 pm
Jay1122

is this a joke? You think an MBA will get you a team lead position in SOM etc?  I can tell you in confidence you can land those lead position even without college degree. It is all about actual knowledge, skill and experience. Does MBA help? Of course, but not much. Everyone values experience more than resume title. MBA is way better than computational design if you ask me. I don't know who will care about that absolute niche of niche. maybe Zaha? Morphosis? MAD? Gehry? Way too limiting. Just consider your tuition cost and opportunity cost. If its 2 years program, you lose 2 years work experience. No one can tell you whether master is worth or not. But if you go into it with full debt private school, my advice is hell no.

Oct 1, 20 3:47 pm  · 
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LOOOL

Right right, thank you for your input! I don't necessarily mean a lead position as soon as you graduate, I just mean 2 years exp + an MBA vs 2 years exp + an March, would it be the same? Is there any value the MBA adds is all I'm trying to figure out

 · 
awkeytect

If your intent would be to leverage it to jump to a team lead position in an architecture office, I think you may be disappointed. (i.e. they're still going to be interested in your experience). The optics of hiring someone with two years of experience to lead a team with 2-3x the experience just doesn't work. 

Generally speaking, I do not think the architectural profession values an MBA like other professions might. Depending on where you land, it might do you more harm than good..."is this person going to be constantly bringing us market data to support comp and bonus adjustments?"

If you're investing in an MBA for the purposes of 'savings' - the quickest path is a different profession. 

Oct 1, 20 3:52 pm  · 
1  · 
revitmonk
Your MBA may help more if you go for an office director or director of operations position. These are usually not project focused, but rather more about running the logistics of the firm itself.
Oct 1, 20 4:13 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

If one is to be hired as director to oversee firm wide operation. I would expect the resume to be full of amazing experiences and prior management roles. More often times the role is promoted from their own managers. At least 10-15 yrs experience above with proven track record. I doubt MBA matters much at that stage of game. Reading through the AHPP book will probably teach you more than the MBA regarding firm management in architecture.

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revitmonk
True. To clarify, I meant with experience under your belt, the MBA would put you in a good position for a role like this. At larger firm all the people in these roles have MBAs, and a lot of them are not even architects.
Oct 1, 20 6:15 pm  · 
1  · 
thisisnotmyname

This. A well-run big firm is going to have a non-architect CPA or MBA running financial matters and a non-architect running HR. Same thing with marketing. If you like the above stuff, an MBA would be great. If you want to stay primarily in design, I'm not so sure it's the best use of your time.

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whistler

MBA is a great addition, but I would strongly recommend your goals of working in a design capacity and look beyond to more managerial positions with larger arch firms / developers / or project development. The MBA isn't going to help your design prowess but it will be a great asset in managing projects / teams / larger interdisciplinary groups.

Oct 2, 20 5:09 pm  · 
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quizzical

I have an MBA, obtained after licensure.  More than anything else, the combination of degrees gives you incredible flexibility with respect to career path ... properly pursued, you have the options of real estate development, asset management with investment companies, design firm management, large scale project management, construction management, etc.  But, while the MBA will help you get a wider range of interviews, you still must have the requisite design and technical skills (and experience) to land the job.

Oct 4, 20 9:06 pm  · 
1  · 

LOOOL 

Do you have an accredited degree?  

Oct 5, 20 10:36 am  · 
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gwharton

Pro: Most architects know less than nothing about how business and money work. An MBA will help you understand those better (theoretically). An MBA will also let you do a deep dive on learning about specific aspects of complex business activities, particularly in finance, if that's what you specifically want to be doing with your life.

Con: Graduate school is generally a waste of time and money unless you are pursuing a very specific career path or intend to teach. MBA is not a teaching degree, so that means the former. If you're doing it "just because" or to list a credential on a resume, it's a waste.

If this is a case of "moderately smart person with no direction in life who is bored and looking for something to do for a few years", do the traditional thing and go to law school instead.

Oct 6, 20 12:00 pm  · 
1  · 
bhardy

I can chime in as an MArch/MBA person.  I would offer a few items for you.  Firstly I don't generally see many MArch/MBAs in executive positions at "traditional" design firms.  Those folks tend to have just the MArch.  Not that the MBA can't be helpful, but I think more often then not the MArch/MBA folks gravitate towards more tangential career paths - usually development focused.  I think MBAs are useful if you want to gain skills that don't exist based in your current job environment or prior education.  In terms of "moving up" to an executive role in an architectural office that appears to be more based on experience and leadership than more general "MBA" type skills.

Oct 13, 20 10:13 am  · 
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monosierra

Some firms are founded by MBA/M.Arch (Or B.Arch) graduates who focus on business development while their design partners handle the architecture side of things. More often than not, such firms are in the multifamily/commercial markets.

Oct 13, 20 10:25 am  · 
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