Sep 3, 2009

M. Arch + M.B.A.

At the beginning, an architect was an autodidact, a real apprentice that learned the trade, hands on in the field. A Brunelleschi, a real orchestrator of all the construction. Then, the professional degrees weighed in. And for a while, having a plain Bachelor's degree in Architecture was good enough. Later on, the Masters in Architecture came along. And it seemed like it was the 'it' degree to move up within E/A firms...

Now, numerous universities are offering the new deal: M. Arch + M.B.A.

Among them, Yale, U Penn, Washington University at St. Louis, University of Michigan... You must apply to both architecture and business schools separately in order to be accepted in this dual program. And then it will get you more graduate credits that you've ever dreamed of. But is it worth it? Is it really a good ROI?

I'm still debating on this. But time is ticking and time will tell. Soon the new wave of graduates will be out there sending out their resumes. Will it be to architecture or financial/consulting firms? It might be a very objective and financial decision itself, where b-students will prove their strategic skills. Four or more years of graduate school and living expenses can't come cheap. And that I know of, MBAs can easily make 3 times interns going through the IDP will in the first couple of years. What kind of job will pay for being both a MBA and M. Arch. right after graduation? If you know, let me know, I'm still scratching my head here.

After being in several architecture and E/A firms for over 5 years (and counting, knock on wood), I even question the value of the Master of Architecture degree if you already have a professional Bachelor of Architecture. Of course, the NAAB and NCARB might disagree.

If you are set to be your own boss in your own architecture firm, the MBA might be an overkill. All the successfull and self-employed gray-haired architects out there didn't seem to need it. But if your plan is to go along with the MBA as your primary degree, the M.Arch might be the back-up plan you'll never need to have.

On the other hand, will the M.Arch + MBA degree become the new must-have to move up in the A/E world ladder? Will this force already-licensed architects to go back to b-school? What happened with learning experience along with Amazon books?

We shall see.

For the time being, the Masters of Architecture can visit . We might save a few bucks, or thousands for that matter.

1 comment:

  1. Architects have a reputation of being deficient in areas of management and running a business.

    I believe the profession needs a an infusion of management principles; however most architects that get an MBA or Law degree for that matter will most likely not work directly in Architecture afterwards.