Lawrence B. Burrows BA Urban Planning ’74 visited the Bloustein School to share his story and give career advice to current Bloustein School students. Currently a Senior Planning Fellow at the Bloustein School where he teaches a real estate development class, he received a Master of City Planning (MCP) from the University of Pennsylvania.
With over 40 years of a career experienced focused mostly in development, consulting, and home building, Mr. Burrows’ presentation was extremely relatable to students interested in either a planning or public policy career.
During his visit he covered many topics of where planning students can expect their career to go and what skills they should aim to gain. He listed affordability, balancing community needs with the marketplace demands, and the importance of comprehensive planning as trends students will likely see to increase as they seek employment. A planning degree, in his opinion, gives a good foundation for lifelong learning. As students go through classes they should remember to focus on gaining both quantitative and qualitative technical skills, get experience in problem solving and critical thinking and remember to always ask the ‘So what?’ questions to stay results oriented. Mr. Burrows noted that students should take studio and other group projects seriously as the collaboration and communication skills will be really relevant no matter what job they find themselves in.
Mr. Burrows concluded by reflecting on his time at the Bloustein School, noting that he still values the foundational skills he learned. He received support and encouragement from a variety of professors who kept him motivated, and this fact remains one of the primary reasons he is still involved and connected with the school.
“Find someone who gives a damn about you, who takes an interest, as a way to become successful,” he said, recognizing this as something anyone early in their career will need. Networking, work experience, certain projects, and informational interviews were also listed as other ways to accelerate one’s career. Mr. Burrows suggested that students use school as an opportunity to try things one might be unsure of or uncomfortable with doing to determine one’s interest level, citing his real estate course as an opportunity for students to better understand the real estate market.