Five Top MBAs for a Career in Real Estate

By - Sep 9, 10:04 AM Comments [0]

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This article first appeared on Sia Admissions Blog

An MBA’s general core curriculum offers an excellent opportunity for future business leaders of virtually any sector to gain insight into the fundamentals of business. Over time, business schools have also developed strengths in specific industries, allowing for a deeper understanding of various fields. With the commercial real estate market now exceeding $16 trillion in the United States alone, the sector offers many opportunities to have a meaningful impact. It comes as no surprise, then, that candidates are interested in MBAs that provide insight, exposure, and training to prepare them for a career in the real estate sector.

If your objective is to launch or enhance a career in real estate post-MBA, you should evaluate these programs. To help with your school selection process, we have outlined five (5) top MBA programs with strong resources and ties to the industry. Backed by impressive job placement records of their respective students, earning an MBA from any of these institutions may yield a high ROI in your post-MBA career in real estate.

The Wharton School

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For candidates interested in real estate development, real estate finance and economics, urban fiscal policy, real estate law, and housing markets, Wharton offers an MBA with a focus (major) in Real Estate. Through the required courses and electives, students gain insights related to the many tangents of real estate. Furthermore, The Samuel Zell & Robert Lurie Real Estate Center offers deep international and national industry insights. Their sponsorship of research, conferences, seminars and special programs for Real Estate MBA students provide a web of knowledge and connects for students to be “in the know.” The Center also hosts annual panel discussions whose topics run the gamut from geopolitics affecting real estate and real estate technology, to real estate investment trends and capital markets. In addition to an active alumni engagement, students also gain first-hand experience and insights through annual treks. 

UNC Kenan Flagler Business School


Of the top 20 U.S. MBA programs, University of North Carolina (UNC) Kenan Flagler tops with 11% of its 2018 graduating class accepting positions in Real Estate. Kenan-Flagler’s Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate Studies offers students exposure to and preparation for a successful career in the sector. Comprehensive coursework and hands-on training, conferences, treks, and certifications, are all components of the Real Estate Center’s effort to prepare future leaders for successful careers. The alumni network is also very active, serving as mentors to students and helping them develop into leaders the sector needs.  

Columbia Business School

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With its central New York location, Columbia Business School offers MBA candidates opportunities to enroll in electives that pave the path for a successful post-MBA career in Real Estate. With a spirit of entrepreneurship, students with a career-focus in Real Estate have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Real Estate Finance and Investment Management. Through the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia’s MBA candidates gain theoretical and practical insight incorporating both national and international themes. In the classroom, students work on over 60 proprietary cases to increase critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills. The center also hosts a speaker series where industry experts – which often includes Columbia alumni – are invited to discuss the trends in the real estate market.

UCLA Anderson School of Management

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The UCLA Anderson MBA program offers students opportunities to choose a Real Estate career path through a variety of electives, applied management research project,  and other resources. MBA candidates benefit from resources sponsored by the Ziman Center for Real Estate and participate in the annual symposiums, competitions, speaker series, and conferences to hone their understanding of the sector and build essential skills for a successful career. About 4% of UCLA Anderson’s 2018 MBA graduates accepted jobs in Real Estate spanning the gamut from development, strategic planning and analysis, and diversified commercial and development companies, including REITs and private real estate regional firms. 

The University of Texas at Austin - McCombs School of Business

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The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business offers excellent resources for students interested in careers in Real Estate. The Real Estate Center at McCombs helps MBA Real Estate concentration students prepare for careers in real estate finance, investment, and development. In this program, students have opportunities to participate in career training and development, competitions, industry conferences, etc. To gain hands-on experience, students also have the chance to manage both REITs and Private Equity funds, one of the country’s only business school to offer this privilege.

Sia Admissions Consulting is a boutique firm based in New York City. We specialize in coaching applicants of diverse background navigate the admissions application to top-tier institutions. Our goal is to partner with applicants and help them characterize and reflect their individuality in all areas of the admissions process. At Sia, we firmly believe that “one-size” does not fit all—each applicant has his or her story that, if communicated properly, a university admissions committee is eager to hear; therefore, we coach each applicant in originally telling his or her story. Our partnership with applicants consists of – (i) recognizing their story by asking poignant questions which help us (ii) identify the quintessence of his or her strengths and aspirations, so we may (iii) build an idiosyncratic strategy that helps the applicant distinctively present his or her story. Our aim is to coach applicants in showcasing a unique application that communicates their individuality as an ideal candidate for the field and institution of choice. The student benefits from a professional relationship with a counselor committed to coaching him or her from beginning to the end of the application process.

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