April Swanson

BAUP December 2015; Minor in Anthropology

What is your current job and how did your planning degree prepare you for it?

I am currently an Analyst for Affordable Housing Investments at J.P. Morgan. Although I never expected to work for a big bank with a planning degree, my current manager was looking to fill the role with a recent Urban Planning graduate. That’s because a lot of what I do involves market analysis research in cities, towns, and neighborhoods across the nation in which the firm is looking to invest in affordable housing properties. Pursuing a planning degree at Illinois helped me develop a strong desire to be involved in community development and gave me the ability to think critically about how thoughtful development can transform communities.

Why did you choose to study urban planning?

I chose to study Urban Planning because it combined my social, economic, environmental interests into one very multi-faceted field that touches nearly everyone on this planet.

What advice would you share with someone who is considering a career in urban planning?

If I have one piece of advice for someone who is considering a planning degree, I would say to never narrow your interests too early. There are so many ways to apply a planning degree in different focuses; a municipal planning job is just one of the many opportunities to apply what you learn in a planning program.

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