I am quoted in the US News and World Report article on which MBA programs are best for aspiring real estate professionals.
Please read on below and see the link for more.
INDIVIDUALS WHO LIKE the idea of buying and selling tangible things are often attracted to the real estate industry, since it is a business sector that involves the exchange of material assets such as land, buildings and natural resources, according to experts in the real estate profession.
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Creative people who want to make something new and beautiful may be intrigued by the possibility of becoming a real estate developer, experts suggest, adding that the real estate sector may also appeal to workers who have strong soft skills and hard skills and desire an opportunity to use both.
Thriving in real estate requires competence in multiple aspects of business, ranging from quantitative specialties such as finance, economics and data analysis to more relational fields like marketing, leadership and entrepreneurship, experts emphasize.[
“Real estate is an industry that draws from a lot of different fields, and so the people who are successful at real estate need to be able to run a business, and they need to be able to finance it,” says Todd Sinai, chair of the real estate department at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the top-ranked school in the U.S. News real estate MBA program rankings. “They need to be able to understand the real estate, and they need to be able to read legal documents, so there’s a lot of pieces that flow into being a successful real estate businessperson.”
A career in real estate can lead to a six-figure annual salary. Compensation statistics collected for the U.S. News Best Business Schools survey reveal that the average annual salary among 2019 MBA graduates of ranked B-schools who entered the real estate sector was $112,086.
Prospective real estate MBA students should investigate a business school’s track record of placing students into desirable real estate internships and jobs, according to experts, and check on which real estate firms recruit on campus.
The breadth of the real estate industry means that MBA hopefuls who want to work in it should look for business schools that offer an excellent real estate department and academic strength in other areas of business, says Sinai, a professor of real estate, business economics and public policy.[
Ishan Puri, a real estate agent who is pursuing an MBA degree at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in California, notes that the study of real estate requires an interdisciplinary approach. He emphasizes that many nonbusiness academic disciplines are relevant to the real estate industry, ranging from art and architecture to engineering, urban planning and psychology.
Psychology is important in the real estate field because many people are emotionally invested in their real estate decisions, Puri says. “I would try to see what the school’s reputation is for offering cross-disciplinary opportunities to interact with other students and faculty.”
Puri also recommends examining an MBA program’s course offerings regarding valuation and macroeconomics, since understanding these two topics is essential for future real estate leaders. Success in the real estate sector depends on accurately assessing how much a piece of real estate is worth and how much the price of that asset might fluctuate depending on market conditions, Puri explains.Play Video
When a real estate MBA student enrolls in a business school, he or she is joining a community of business professionals, Sinai notes. So when choosing a school, a prospective real estate MBA student should look for a school where they will not only have a significant number of like-minded classmates who they can learn from and network with, but also many opportunities to hear from and meet with real estate industry leaders, Sinai says.
He notes that Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center at Wharton hosts luncheons where MBA students have a chance to connect with real estate titans, and the center also runs a career mentor program where students can be paired with real estate executives who are offering advice.
An academic concentration or specialization in real estate and a real estate student club are also pluses, Sinai says. Another important quality indicator, he adds, is whether a business school offers a significant number of real estate courses and professors. An abundance of those resources means that MBA students with an interest in real estate will have the flexibility to tailor their curriculum based on their interests, Sinai suggests, adding that a significant investment in its real estate department is an indication that a business school cares about real estate.[
Jonathan Wasserstrum, an alumnus of Columbia Business School, says future real estate leaders should seek an MBA program that will give them an exceptional general business education. He says he regularly uses knowledge from disparate business fields, ranging from accounting to organizational change.
Wasserstrum, CEO and co-founder of SquareFoot real estate company in New York City, says one of his favorite courses at Columbia was a real estate class where he did case studies on multiple actual dilemmas that real estate executives had faced. The central characters of those case studies were guest speakers who offered their own perspectives to the class, Wasserstrum adds. He says that prospective MBA students with an interest in real estate should see if their coursework allows them to hear directly from real estate industry influencers.
Derek Pershing, a real estate attorney who has an MBA degree and who is a partner with the Wilson Cribbs + Goren real estate law firm in Houston, says it’s ideal if a real estate MBA program includes a variety of project-based learning opportunities and problem-solving competitions. Such immersive experiences are necessary for someone to become marketable in a field where experience often trumps education.
Another positive sign is when real estate MBA courses are created in conjunction with real estate industry trade organizations such as the CCIM Institute or the Urban Land Institute, Pershing says. Those classes can be counted toward reputable industry certifications, which improve the odds of finding a real estate job upon graduation from business school, he says.