Would You Rather


Woodbury or Yale.

Woodbury MArch + MSRED

  • Commitment: 3.5 years 
  • Estimated Total Cost: 30,000 w/ max scholarships - 125,000 No Funding

Yale MArch + MBA

  • Commitment: 4 years
  • Total Cost: 125,000 scholarships - 200,000 No funding




Feb 19, 13 10:16 am

these programs, at least in my mind, are polar opposites. 

Yale, clearly a school of great history and global branding. Incredible staff, facilities and the proximity to New York is great. Networking and connections from here are probably second to none.

However, Yale will bury me in debt and we are talking 4 years of education.

Woodbury - an up and comer with modest branding and a limited alumni network. I took a few drafting classes there while at community college in San Diego back in 06. Liked the informal, chaos feel of the place but San Diego ain't a real city.

Woodbury is currently offering great financial scholarships to recruit students to whom can help build a legacy. I love that scrappy and underdog thing but sometimes it's better to go with the path of least resistance. 


Love to hear some feedback. 

Feb 19, 13 11:50 am

I think you pretty much have a solid understanding of the benefits of the two, I think there still is a concern at Woodbury about their instructors being poached by other schools once they become relevant. 

Me personally, I would choose Yale for the network connection and it is closer in line with my desires of where I want to work, what I want to do, where I want to go. That would also bring with it a ton of financial debt, but for me, my philosophy is I only live once and if I have a dream I need to go for it.... though I certainly understand those that would weigh the financial implications heavier.

Feb 19, 13 12:31 pm

I know Jonathan Segal teaches at Woodbury. So if you plan on doing development (and it seems that you are) it might be a great resource. But then again Yale has a rich history, alumni network, prestige, proximity to NY and is only 75K more expensive (based on your stats). An MBA would seem to be more versatile in this economy. And you can always do RED with an MBA. But I guess it depends on your own career goals. 

Feb 19, 13 2:25 pm

I went to NewSchool of Architecture down the tracks from Woodbury - Segal would come by as a guest juror and set us straight Marine style - he got me squared away right then and there and I went on to a major firm  in San Francisco and was working alongside many Ivy types who paid way more than I did. It really comes down to how much you bring to your education - 

Feb 19, 13 5:54 pm

If I had a choice between them I prefer to watch paint dry.

Really. Anyone who would even consider a career in architecture is either deluded or a masochist.

But if I had to choose between the two: San Diego. You'll probably never earn enough to pay off your loans at Yale, and it's much easier to be homeless in a warm climate.

Feb 19, 13 9:49 pm

That's why I told him to get his MBA. He can always do architecture as a hobby. 

Feb 19, 13 10:10 pm


Thanks for the feedback everyone.

I like this topic as many people encourage prospective students to go to the cheapest program they can. I think that is dangerous advice.

The opportunity to go to Yale is a once in a life time thing. Woodbury is very compelling but the points made before about location and networking are too meaningful. The cost is what it is. 

Schools decisions aside, I never tire of the jaded people out there, like Miles Jaffe,  who rag on architecture for education and as a career. It's easy to see why they struggle to find happiness or success when their perspective is so clearly 2 dimensional. 

People like Miles Jaffe would rather watch paint dry because they either lack creativity,  are lazy or are simply too scared to take a chance at starting their own venture. possibly  all of the above. likely all of the above.

I take Miles Jaffe to be a person who went to school, got a degree and expected the world to be handed to him. 

That's the total opposite of a bootstrapper; a person who leverages there skills, passion and experiences to make something out of nothing. I'd like to consider myself a bootstrapper. I think this is what will allow me to continue to be happy and successful.  

Anyway, with all the skills and comprehensive exposure learned in architecture school and exercised daily in practice, things like; construction, design, real estate, urban planning, marketing, business development and so on. It's amazing to me people can't find something within this gigantic industry to fatten their wallets and / or put a smile on their face. 

A new day is here. There is no room for small plans or narrow thinking. 


(end of rant)








Feb 20, 13 12:00 pm

Well you seem to have the confidence. 

Feb 20, 13 12:24 pm

Sorry, I should have said "watch Spackle hang himself out to dry".

If you already have the answer, why bother to ask the question?


LOL, your cup is already overfull. Good luck, you are clearly going to need it.

Feb 20, 13 12:35 pm

Take it from me. I don't think I got accepted to Yale. Go to Yale.

Feb 20, 13 1:14 pm

My cup is overful? Hopefully with Jack Daniels. 

I have to be honest. The real reason I want to back to school is to get in on one of those massive harlem shake parties. Those things are awesome.

When you are making life changing decisions and are preparing to spend huge amounts of time and money, anyone not committed to those sacrifices, shouldn't be doing it. 

Miles Jaffe...You hardly offered an opinion and openly insulted my ambitions.  You are a clown. 

Feb 20, 13 1:37 pm

being a little deluded is helpful in any profession.  it keeps you happy.

Feb 20, 13 2:24 pm

Self-delusions are clearly the best.

Feb 20, 13 2:52 pm

Have you looked at the how the "other degree" would work (in conjunction to or in addition to, I can't imagine a scenario of "at the same time" working too well with too many MArch programs.  Too many people got in a panic when the $3k+ monthly loan bills hit, because they didn't have the means to put it off-give 'em a break.

After a Yale MArch, wouldn't you prefer a Harvard MBA?  Yale's isn't all that prestigious.

Feb 20, 13 3:59 pm

anyway - spackle, the question you should be asking is what market do you want to end up -  california or NYC?  aside from a very small handful of programs, the vast majority of grad schools are pretty much about building a local/regional network while you're there.  Yale is a somewhat more "local" program - good connections to some NYC firms...

Feb 20, 13 4:40 pm

Should have done a BS/BA in Arch, not license, and get the MBA.  If you want to be a corporate type mucky-muck, you just need a basic understanding of architecture, and more time devoted to networking in development, real estate, whatever.

I find that people with dual degrees usually pick one, or the other, as an occupation.  One of my physicians had a MBA, after his MD.  He spoke of it in a borderline scoffing manner.  He did it at night as something to do, it seemed.

Feb 20, 13 5:08 pm

I am faced with 3-3.5 yeas of A school. Pursuing a dual degree with business pushes that number to 4. The opportunity cost of staying an extra year just makes sense to me. 

Ultimately, the goal is to start my own business. After school, I'd prefer to work in New York or continue working internationally in architecture / development for a few more years. 

My background is in planning. I currently work as an urban designer and business development manager in Costa Rica. Before that I was the marketing and business development manager for a construction company in Iraq and Turkey. Before that I did master planning and landscape projects in Indonesia. Before that I worked as a planner for the San Francisco Transit Agency doing bike lanes and streetscape stuff. 

In July this year I started a business on the side working with small, local businesses in Africa and Iraq, providing front end business development support. We primarily help find foreign aid or DoD opportunities for qualified businesses who generally lose out to under qualified American contractors. 

Anyway, all the work I currently do is very labor intensive. An architecture degree enables me to stay in design and have greater influence on projects. It also opens the door to teaching one day. 

I believe the business education will help build connections and help me with the financial aspects, which is my weakest area.

Feb 20, 13 5:22 pm

Knock yourself out.

FYI You don't need a degree in *anything* to start your own business. I know some very successful people who never went past high school.

Feb 20, 13 6:33 pm

observant, I completely agree with you with regards to picking one. some might say, it's an inconvenient truth! bazinga! 

honestly, the thought of all that education makes my head spin. 

because i lack a design credential or a business degree  I feel much more disposable and my growth ceilings are lower. 

Feb 20, 13 6:36 pm
future hope

Nobody wants to think about the money, but given your work experience, I don't think the architecture degree will increase your salary at all.  The business degree will if you choose to go in that direction, but if so, might as well skip the architecture degree.  You can get that exposure in other ways. 

Are you already in a serious relationship?  If not, that kind of debt is going to seriously limit your relationship/kids/house options later in life. 

I wouldn't think of going to Yale as this amazing once in a lifetime opportunity.  Almost every experience we have is once in a lifetime.

I went to the GSD and left for a cheaper school before graduating.  Best decision I ever made.  Yeah, it was a good school with really talented people, but I realized that it wasn't living up to the hype and costs.

Feb 20, 13 9:52 pm

Go to Yale an MBA from there will make you your money back if the architecture one does not. I think it would be worth it and I would think Yale would give some kind of money?

Feb 20, 13 10:07 pm

200K for Yale + 4 years (say 200K in lost salary) = 400K

400K for tuition and time you could've spent earning money at a job.  Is it worth it?  Will you become the next Gehry? or just another CADmonkey? or perhaps like thousands of unemployed grads taking odd jobs at starbucks to survive? :P

Feb 20, 13 10:24 pm

You guys are wasting your time, Spackle's cup is full.

Feb 20, 13 10:48 pm
Peter Politi
spa•ckle - (noun)
a luciferous pixelated presence of omnipotent gnosticisms, a gradualistic torch runner for the pupating pupas of ideogenic innervation! his cup is full, you bet, of amatuerexistentialism stew for the drawingboard's soul, his ladle is the big dipper, his mission is to open a soup kitchen that serves the ontosophically starved. yikes, its late. ive no business tryin to add words to the dictionary at this hour
Feb 21, 13 1:49 am

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. Including you miles Jaffa...i realize you are only trying to help. friends? Future- I'm engaged. We've talked about it a lot. I think at this point she just wants me to get it over with if I'm actually gonna do it. I also appreciate hearing about your experience at gsd. It's pretty rare to transfer once in grad school, right? glad it worked out. Where did you end up? So where do we go from here? Do a dual degree but somewhere cheaper? Skip it all together? Keep working and do a barch part time? I'm open to anything.

Feb 21, 13 7:22 am

Is cramming MBA and an arch degree in 4 years equivalent to adding a spoiler to a pickup truck? Who would hire such a person? A developer? You'd think developers would prefer at least some construction experience. 

Feb 21, 13 12:22 pm
vado retro

mba's are about as plentiful as architecture grads. if you have experience in the field you're interested then an mba makes sense. otherwise, why bother. i like spoilers! and pipes!

Feb 21, 13 12:40 pm

MBA Must Be Asshole

Feb 21, 13 1:09 pm

the initial question was yale or woodbury because they represent two different approaches to school. branding and legacy vs cost effective and a more casual environemnt. 

if someone wants to get more education, what is the best way to maximize their time and money? 

I'd like to keep working for a small design build developer like I do now.. I'd like to also eventually be one.

What mistakes did people make that they can help others avoid falling short of this goal?

Feb 21, 13 2:04 pm
future hope

I think coming out of anywhere with over 100K (or even 70K) in loans will cause you to fall short of your goal.  It would be very difficult to start your own design-build business with that kind of cash flow required.  I would go somewhere cheaper for Arch (so that you can become licensed) and maybe skip the MBA.  Or maybe just get the MBA.  If you already work for a design build developer, you should probably have a good idea of the qualifications you will really need.

I was only able to transfer because I went back to the school I got my undergrad Arch degree from.  They already knew me and were willing to make an exception.  Yeah, it's pretty much impossible to transfer midway through a grad degree otherwise.

Also, I recommend going to a school in the area you would like to settle and work in (for the connections).  I think Yale connections are going to help you most in the NE.  I don't think they will do much for you on the west coast, for example.

Feb 22, 13 12:00 am

Spackle, I am so glad you posted this topic.  I am considering MSRED programs as well, albeit as a single degree and not in combination with an M.Arch.

It has been great to read the responses because most of the information is directly applicable not to Woodbury or Yale but really to the value of both degrees versus picking a direction.  This is something I struggle with:  should I pursue both degrees, or pick either MSRED or M.Arch?

I think it really comes down to what you wish to pursue.  Surely having both credentials in the long-run won't hurt, but the additional debt will.  You mention you will open your own business after you graduate- could you give some specific insight as to what kind of business?  It seems to me you're shooting for a business model similar to Alloy Development-

Feb 23, 13 12:45 pm

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