My degree built the foundations to a career in urban planning

Older map of Sheffield
Mark Leitner-Murphy
Planner at Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners
MPlan Urban Studies and Planning
MPlan graduate Mark's degree gave him the option to train in a professionally recognised discipline while maintaining an academic focus. He talks about how nothing really compared to Sheffield.

What attracted you to study at the University of Sheffield?

Sheffield was the first university I visited on an open day and if I'm honest, not much else really compared. Not only was the department and course impressive, the whole experience was very well organised and left a great impression.

What attracted you to the MPlan course?

The MPlan course seemed to be broad enough to cover a variety of urban issues whilst also having a focus on career prospects and professional development. The MPlan is RTPI accredited and this was very appealing, considering all those looking to work in the field of planning must become members it provided a smooth route to chartership.

The fact the degree also offered opportunities to study abroad was also very attractive and in fact led me to spend a semester in Milan enjoying the sunshine and ice cream.

Tell us a little bit about your current job.

My current role at Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners is incredibly varied but focuses on regeneration, urban design, masterplanning and consultation.

Since I started I've been working on a project which will deliver a new cultural and education district for east London, where I've been heavily involved in project managing the consultation programme. This has included working closely with clients, local stakeholders and the architectural design team here in the studio.

I've learnt a lot in my short time here and look forward to more of the same.

How did your degree help you with what you are doing now?

My degree was incredibly useful for my current work and gave me a lot of confidence when applying for the role.

Throughout the four years you will practise valuable skills like working as a team, presenting, writing essays and reports, numerical analysis and aspects of urban design.

Specifically, in order for my degree to be RTPI accredited I actually had to undertake two separate work placements, of which one I undertook at Allies and Morrison. This obviously set me up well with professional connections before I'd even graduated.

Why would you recommend that students consider a career in planning?

By its nature planning is a broad subject which allows you to explore many aspects of geography, economics, politics, design, sociology, the natural environment and more.

Studying planning gives you the option to train in a professionally recognised discipline whilst its academic focus provides you with highly transferable skills; leaving you well prepared within the graduate employment field.

Top tip for future planners?

As I'm about to kick off my career in planning I'm not sure what tips I'd offer yet. Though I'd say I'm hoping to always push for high quality and inclusive design processes, taking into account social and environmental responsibility.

What are your ambitions for the future?

In the immediate future I'm very happy working towards chartership and developing more skills in the workplace.

Once chartered I would be interested in opportunities to work abroad and expand my experiences of different cultures and approaches to planning.

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