Name: Alykhan Mohamed
Program: MUP 2013
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Undergraduate school/major: Architectural Studies/ Russian
What was your work experience/background before coming to the GSD?
Architecture/International Development: I worked at a non-profit architecture firm in northern India, working on governance and urban infrastructure.
Why did you decide to pursue planning as a career?
I actually attended the MArch open house, but after speaking to several students and seeing their projects, I decided that urban planning would be a better career than architecture because it would enable me to combine aspects of both architecture and international development.
What made you decide to come to the GSD?
I decided to come to the GSD because I was impressed by the quality of the students, the studio based curriculum for urban planning, and the ability to study and learn with architects, urban designers and landscape architects as well as urban planners.
What are your main interests in planning and concentration area?
I am interested in urban design and international development.
Are you involved in any student groups? What have you gained from the experience?
I am currently one of the community outreach chairs for HUPO. Our term is just beginning, but I hope that the experience will both enable me to develop a stronger relationship with my peers, compel me to develop my own views as an urban planner, and facilitate the transition from a student to a professional.
What has been the most surprising aspect of the GSD?
The most surprising aspect of the GSD is how immersive the studio culture is and how strong the community it creates is.
What has been your favorite class or project? Why?
So far, my favorite course at the GSD has been the course on public participation in planning and development. Everything about the class clicked: the curriculum complemented my career goals and interests, I developed close relationships with several of my fellow students, and one of the many insightful guest lectures led to my summer internship.
What did you do over the summer? How did that add to your education and goals?
I spent this summer interning with a planning and design organization called Solo Kota Kita in Indonesia, funded by the GSD Community Service Travel Grant and the Kennedy School’s Ash Foundation. I worked on projects to increase transparency and participation in governance, helped to facilitate an urban design workshop, and did independent research on different mechanisms for slum redevelopment. This internship was especially valuable because in addition to the projects I worked on, I also learned a lot about the process of running a small non-profit organization.
What are your career ambitions?
I am interested in urban design, international development and governance. Whether my first job after the GSD is at a design firm, a planning department or an international organization, I hope to eventually start or join a small non-profit design firm.