Student Q&A: Ning Pei (MUP ’15)

Hometown: Beijing, China

Undergraduate school/major: Bryn Mawr College, Urban Studies

Why did you decide to pursue planning as a career?

Growing up I witnessed rapid transformations of my hometown Beijing; I’ve developed sensitivity in observing cities and an interest in exploring the forces behind the transformations.

What made you decide to come to the GSD?

I wanted to gain technical skills and to work on real world projects. GSD’s very practical approach of studio drew me in.  I was also attracted to the opportunities beyond GSD, particularly in other schools at Harvard and MIT.

What are your main interests in planning and concentration area?

I am interested in pursuing infrastructure and transportation planning and possibly international development.

What has been the most surprising aspect of the GSD?

The GSD is a tight community, the planners especially. I felt really lucky to be surrounded by such a wonderful group of peers and to become close friends with them. Definitely cherish the time you spend in studio with your peers!

What has been your favorite class or project? Why?

I liked first semester studio a lot. As someone who has no design background, I enjoyed the nature of studio. I also liked getting feedback and critiques from instructors and peers – it’s a type of interactive learning experience which I’d not experienced before.

What did you do over the summer? How did that add to your education and goals?

I spent two and a half months interning at the Urban Redevelopment Authority in Singapore. I got to observe firsthand the planning process in Singapore–the coordination among various agencies and the procedures and steps it takes to implement the plans–through working on infrastructure and transportation projects.

What are your career ambitions?

I’m hoping to contribute to shaping the built environment and eventually make positive impact on people’s lives.

Anything else?

Cherish your time at the GSD, 2 years is just so short.

Get to know people, within the GSD and beyond.

Prioritize things, learn to manage your time and make sure to get enough sleep.