This is what I did; I decided to save enough money to get a upper end prof. flute, so I got a job and I endedup with 5k ; and bought a Powell (: with a split e and a c# trill (: and I love it; smartest thing I did!
I'd say try the different flutes out. What may work for you may be a different case than say, someone else. My flute professor makes my studio upgrade to powells, and one of them tried out two different kinds and one of them worked better or her than the other, for instance.
Why would your professor make everybody upgrade to Powells? I mean, they're nice flutes, and some people really like them, but they're not everybody's cup of tea and your professor should know that. If you're going to spend all that money on a handmade flute, it should be the flute that works well for you, not your professor.
I'm sorry, I think it's irresponsible to make everybody in the studio upgrade to one specific brand. Does your professor get some sort of kickback from Powell?