The Bloustein School hosted an alumni career panel on Transportation Policy and Planning early in the semester, where graduate students had the opportunity to hear from four Bloustein School alumni about their career paths. Moderated by Bloustein School professor Mike Smart, Danny Yoder MCRP ’15 (New York City Department of Transportation), Heather Martin MCRP ’13 (WSP), Patrick Brennan MCRP ’10 (New Jersey Office of Legislative Services), and Garrett Hincken MCRP ’11 (Philadelphia/Center City District) offered perspectives on the trends, challenges and opportunities facing our communities in the area of transportation policy and planning.
Each panelist reflected on the changing needs in the transportation labor market. Overall, through their various work experiences they believed we will see the impact of changing or increasing transportation infrastructure and increased demand for freight. This could be an opportunity for planners that historically may have been typically a place occupied by engineers.
The panelists also had many suggestions for current students. They shared that students and recent graduates are always better candidates with technical skills. These can include GIS experience, AutoCAD, and Stata. It was also suggested that students start building a portfolio to share in interviews. They do not have to be graphics or design based, but can also include papers students write. When coming into an interview, the panelists encouraged students to show their passions and to be curious about people, what they are working on and not to treat interviews—whether formal or informal—as a transaction. For first year students, the panelists recommended looking at job descriptions of positions you may want to pursue and try to figure out what skills they are looking for in candidates so that you can make sure to take those classes before you graduate.