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gixxer, I'll address your questions from what I've learned thus far. Also, since it sounds like you are planning to apply next year, feel free and contact me while I continue through the MRE program at Cornell. I'll also try and bring what I learn to the board, since RE people are uncommon here.
You mentioned that if you could do it over that you would apply to the MRED programs instead of the MBA programs. Would the same hold true for some of the MBA programs that have a respected following in real estate. For example I agree that Cornell's real estate program would be better than say an MBA from Yale, but do you think it's better than an MBA from Wharton.
As I perceive it, the Masters in Real Estate programs seem to be the best options outside of the very top MBA programs with a real estate emphasis. Schools such as Wharton, Columbia, Haas, and UCLA, that have strong real estate concentrations within a top tier MBA school would still be hard to top. In my opinion, other strong MBA programs with real estate concentrations - Kenan-Flagler, Wisconsin, etc. - may not get you as far as the real estate specific programs. Again, I want to emphasize, this is only my opinion from what I have learned through the search process.
My decision in fact came down to Kenan-Flagler or the Cornell Program in Real Estate, and I am choosing Cornell. I will be able to tell you in a couple of years if it was the right decision, but my conversations with students at both schools were very positive. As you mentioned and artshep mentioned, real estate is largely about your network. Cornell's PRE has the largest dedicated real estate alumni network, so that was a big difference maker to me. Given a choice between Wharton and Cornell's PRE, I would probably choose Wharton. But I think either program is strong, with a great network, and each has its own advantages. And, of course, as your application process evolves, you'll get an idea of what feels right.
Or looking at Columbia's MRED program, it is only one year. If you go to their MBA program you'll be able to take advantage of most of the opportunites the MRED program has (classes, forums, etc.) as well as all the resources of the MBA program. So in my view their MBA program would allow you access to network with two MRED classes (which are smaller). I get the feeling that the their MRED program is more for people with more experience in the real estate field.
Regarding mixing with MBA students and the various resources, at Cornell's PRE, we actually take a number of courses with the MBA students. However, I'm not sure if the same thing goes at USC, MIT, or Columbia. Talking with current students, I have heard there is increasing preference among employers in the real estate industry to hire MRE students rather than MBAs. One student put it this way - they like knowing that after you come to their interview regarding real estate development, you aren't going straight to a finance interview.
For example Cornell recommends the joint degree program stating it is "Ideal for students with less real estate work experience".
I think Cornell is recommending the dual degree "for students with less real estate work experience" because if you haven't worked in real estate, choose only the MRE, and then find out you hate real estate, you're going to be a little bit stuck. Having the MBA as a backup will allow you to more easily transition out of real estate if you really don't enjoy it. But if you know you enjoy real estate, the MRE is the way to go.
I have also talked with pretty much every student at Cornell who will take my phone calls over the past month or so. Universally, they've told me that all connections to the real estate industry come from the PRE, not the MBA. All the students have also mentioned that there are basically two reasons people like me would choose the dual-degree option (PRE/MBA): (1) Brand name, (2) Uncertainty about real estate as a career. To elaborate, real estate programs are relatively new. MBA programs are still more recognizable. And, if you get a real estate degree, you better be planning to work in real estate. An MRE won't get you into investment banking.
Cornell is also the only school on that list whose program is two years. Do you think one year will be enough time for a career switcher to effectively make that transition?
I'm less sure about this, because I've grown up around real estate and am currently working in the industry. Even with my experience, I still prefer the two years at Cornell over 1 year in the other programs. There are a few career switchers in the Cornell PRE and there are also quite a few who have worked in real estate before attending. I think that mostly has to do with the focus that those of us with prior experience have on wanting to stay in real estate. If you are a good candidate and communicate clearly to the admissions people in the MRE programs that real estate is something you are passionate about with good reasons, they will appreciate that. The nice part about the MRE programs being so small is that they really do choose candidate by candidate.
What companies do you know specifically recruit at what schools. Outside of Wharton and Columbia I can't really seem to find any of this information.
Thanks for the detailed response. I think were pretty much coming to the same conclusion. A top MBA program if you can get accepted but if your choosing between two similar programs the focused MRED will provide you more benefit if your sure you want to do real estate.
These are the things that frighten me from the MIT MRE vs MBA comparison.
"Limited. However, there is the opportunity for participation in the MIT Alumni Association's externship program during the January Independent Activities Period. After the completion of the program, students move to full-time employment."
I'll be moving from another state without any present connections where I want to go. At least at Columbia and Cornell you seem more likely to get an internship.
"Each year, approximately 5 to 10 companies interview on campus. However, most hiring in the real estate industry is done based on need. Therefore, the 12 to 20 informal opportunities for students to meet with company representatives and industry executives, position students well for meaningful access for self-initiated job searches. Investment banks do not tend to recruit at the Center."
This sounds like its ruling out options like working in the merchant banking divisions at GS on their real estate funds, etc.
I guess it seems your going to live and die by the network you create. Another thing was that only half of the 34 people reported thier employment. If you only have 34 people you would think it would be easy to get their salary information. Programs with 900 people are getting over 90% of their students to report. I don't know if I'm reading to far into this or what.
Artshep and I have exchanged messages in the past and he seems like a great guy. My guess is that he is just having an off day.
I treat every such incident as my personal failure to communicate the power of community. We have to believe that all of us working together benefits us all. Let the spirit of community prevail. I have found that the best way to communicate my point of view is to let it stand on its own. As soon as I become personal, people stop take me seriously. I may be right with my answer, but that does not give me license to become personal.
Good points. The chance for an internship is a big advantage and one of the reasons I am glad I chose Cornell's MRE program over the others.
Regarding job hunting, real estate is tough right now. The Cornell PRE traditionally has approximately 95% of the class employed by graduation. Talking with the director of the Cornell program, he said this year it's more likely to be about 70%. Employers are very cautious right now.
I actually just got off the phone with a current student at Cornell's PRE. This person is currently pursuing the dual degree. From the conversation, it sounds like development and investment companies are looking more toward MRE grads, but if you are looking for that GS job you mentioned, having both the MBA and MRE will be helpful.
Not sure why so few reported at MIT. Cornell's breakdown is a little more detailed:
I don’t want to bore you with my life story but the problem is that I don’t know exactly what I want to do within the real estate field. I currently work in Construction Management where I manage the day to day construction activities between contractors as a representative for the Owner (schedule, billing, change orders etc.). My company also bids work as a General Contractor so I have had to opportunity to estimate, negotiate contract buyouts and manage self-performing work as well.
I love the fact that I get to work on something that is tangible. I can take my family to a downtown sky rise or on a trip to the Zoo and explain what it took to build it and how I was involved. The problem is that working for the Contractor only allows me to be involved with the job once everything has been determined. I have no input in the acquisition of the land or existing property or the design. I also have no input once it’s built, so I’m not exposed the asset management or disposition of properties.
So I’m leaning more towards development but I don’t want to get pushed into just just managing larger projects. After the military I began my education in construction management but after my internship I decided to just get an A.S. in construction management and then went on to get B.S. in Business because I felt it was more versatile. While studying business I excelled and was very interested in my finance classes (IRR, NPV, etc). So I would like to be able to use some of that information as I find it more interesting then determining the load bearing of a column wall.
But I sure as heck don’t want a job sitting at a desk crunching numbers all day. I love being able to go to the job site and being a part of the “action”. I have seen where there are PE and finance positions that retain close relationships with the developers allowing a broader view of the industry. I could be wrong as I am just trying to understand the industry as a whole.
Im in teh same boat your in. I am a civil engineer for a government agency and handle heavy construction and management all day. I would love to go into development as well. Shoot me an email, I have done quite a bit of research and I am applying in 2010 - maybe the real estate markets will have settled by then.
I know nothing about quality of real estate programs but I do know Kellogg has a RE conference and a real estate department. http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/academic/realestate/index.htm I would bet any school with a focus on RE probably will have connections and the ability to provide you with some opportunities. Reaching out to clubs is a great way to get a sense of how active it is at a given school and the level of support. Find schools you like and determine the depth of their RE program, do they have a major, a club, conference, lots of classes, companies that recruit, alums in the industry, etc. _________________
Kellogg Class of 2010...still active and willing to help. However, I do not do profile reviews, don't offer predictions on chances and am far to busy to review essays, so save the energy of writing me a PM seeking help for these. If I don't respond to a PM that is not one of the previously mentioned trash can destined messages, please don't take it personally I get so many messages I have a hard to responding to most. The more interesting, compelling, or humorous you message the more likely I am to respond. GMAT Club Premium Membership - big benefits and savings
I also know nothing about real estate, but as far as Wisconsin is concerned, I could not have a higher opinion of the people and program. That was my safety school and their helpfulness and personal interest was completely unmatched by anywhere else. I do know they're strong in real estate, but I couldn't give any other specific details. _________________
Funny now seeing my last post in this thread about a year ago, because I have gone from talking to a current dual degree student at Cornell to being one. I am in the real estate portion of the dual degree right now, and monkbent you are right, Wisconsin is great for real estate. James Graaskamp started the real estate program there, and he is more or less the father of modern real estate academia.
And as always, riverripper is right, explore the various real estate focused aspects of any school and you will get a good feel quickly for whether or not the school is big in the area.
I am starting the 1Y MBA program this summer at Kellogg and plan on majoring in finance and real estate mgmt.
I am curious to hear what the recruiting atmosphere is like at Cornell for real estate students. I imagine that this year has been rough, but would like to know what you are seeing firsthand. Are RE firms still visiting campus?
Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).
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Re: Top 5 B-schools for Real Estate
22 Sep 2014, 19:07
http://blog.ryandumlao.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_20130807_232118.jpg The GMAT is the biggest point of worry for most aspiring applicants, and with good reason. It’s another standardized test when most of us...