1) Since I am 30 now, I’ll probably be 31 when I attend grad school, the cost and benefit is something that I am concerned about. Since my GMAT score (consider retaking in a month) and GPA aren’t of top tier. How much of a difference would a first tier school vs. second tier school have on my employment prospect and career?
Retake the GMAT! Absolutely! 100% For sure! I think in all of your profile, it's your weakest point, so any improvement here will be totally worth your while, even if it means you have to delay some of your applications to R2.
2) The past 5 years in China was a great experience for me. As a real estate development consultant, I was involved in several large scale investment/development projects (Urban planning projects of over 10 million sqft in GFA) as well as a number of investment due diligence (also in the range of 3 to 7 million sqft in GFA). How much of this experience would help in the application process, given my lower GMAT/GPA score?
It should help a lot. In general, the rule of thumb is the bigger the better, and the better results, the better (okay, it's a bit of a no-brainer, but it's important)
3) I am interested in the Cornell Real Estate Program. However, after reading a few posts from various forums, it seems like Ibanks tend to prefer MBA candidates rather than MSRE. Since both real estate funds and REITS are not limited to a certain geographical region, would attending a real estate program help me less to get into a real estate fund or investment trust? Is it better to have a top tier real estate degree or a less prestigious MBA degree?
Probably Top Tier Real Estate. There is something about being the best that you are, or coming from the best school, which is super helpful. I don't care if you study Japanese Art, Psychology, Business or Cheese-making, you come out of the best school it WILL be recognized.
4) Based on my profile, what are my chances in the following schools:
Cornell Baker Real Estate
These will be tough if you don't get a higher GMAT.
Notre Dame MBA
Boston University MBA
These schools are within range.
But like I said totally totally retake your GMAT if you can get 40 or better yet, 70 points higher, it's a whole new ballgame (and one which you will come out winning)
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