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Career transition- Architect to Policy Making/ Developmental Economics


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Hello gradcafe!


I am in a situation which is probably pretty unique as I don't think too many people make such a major career switch. I'm currently a practicing architect in the state of California and have been working for about 3 years. As much as I enjoy architecture and design, my real interest lie in 3rd world economic development and I feel that a graduate degree in policy making or developmental economics could help me transition into that carer path.


First, a little bit about myself-

-Born and raised in India. Finished HS from a private school there.

-I have a 5 year B.Arch. degree from a top 5 UG architecture program in the US. Major GPA 3.88, Overall GPA 3.44

-3 years of work experience at a prestigious global firm, headquartered in the US.

-Applying for Fall 2014 semester


I am uncertain of which degree and what schools would be best suited to my interests. Ideally, I would like to work for a think-tank at the merger of public and private in India, where I feel that better policy and planning are sorely needed. My background in architecture should be a plus, I hope.


I have looked at some MPP programs, MPP/MBA programs as well as some MA/MSc programs in Developmental Economics. My list of schools includes Berkeley and Stanford on the West Coast (the best coast) as well as Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Princeton, Yale and NYU out east. I have not yet taken the GREs, but I am certain I will do fine after a couple of attempts, if required.


What do you guys think? Is such a switch possible? I have a minimal knowledge of economics and political science. What is the value of an MPP degree vs an MPA degree vs even an MBA? What are some other schools I should consider, and are the ones I have listed above strong in these programs? I am sure some are more quant based, whilst others are more writing intensive.


The floor is open, I would love to hear your opinions and advice.

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