I've been cruising through the various threads and forums here for about 4 months now (which is about how long I've been thinking if not really preparing for the GMAT). I've come to somewhat of a crossroads and would like to see what you distinguished individuals think. I apologize if this is a bit long or if this is in the wrong thread (you'll find this intersects peer review, GMAT prep, Bschool questions, and masters programs).Background
: As a new member of this forum, I'd generally follow the template for a thread like this, but my case will cover most of the info without the clutter of seperate responses and then explanations. To begin with background, I am currently in the summer before my senior year. I'll be graduting early in December of 2010 from George Washington University with a degree in International Affairs (Int'l Economics concentration) and a minor in Business Administration. I've had three internships, two at the same organization (A quasi financial services org that acts as part commercial lender and investment bank and part development organization). My future professional interests lie somewhere at the intersection of real estate finance and private equity, property development & design, and developing country infrastructure. My family’s business is in real estate development and I have spent many summers at work sites and in the office doing research and planning.Grad School
: This is where it gets complicated. I realize that I both want and need to work and gain experience to both have a chance at getting into Bschool and to get the most out of it. Ideally, I'd like to go within the next 5 years and as such I have begun preparing to take the GMAT (I got Q40, V36, 620 on my 1st GMAT Prep two weeks ago—so we’ll see). I’ve purchased most of the recommended materials (the GMAT Club recommended providers list was very helpful!). I’ve signed up for the GMAT in early December which is 3 weeks after my hypothetical GMAT Prep class ends and because I only have class 2 days/week this fall semester, I’ll have 5 days/week to study. I’ve looked into the in-person prep classes with Manhattan GMAT
(I liked their trial) and I’m leaning towards enrolling this fall.
What complicates matters is that my interest has also led me to believe that a Masters of Science in Real Estate would also be helpful. As I’m sure some of you know, there are dozens of threads throughout those “intertubes” dealing with the MSRE vs MBA debate. I personally believe that as someone extremely interested in real estate, it makes since for me to get an MSRE and develop niche knowledge and then develop greater business owners and management skills in though an MBA later on.
All this to say that I’ve looked into the proper programs and I’m not here to ask “What is the best MSRE program or what is the best MBA program” because I don’t want to start WWIII here; I’m leaning towards the new Carey School at JHU’s MSRE program because the full-time is geared towards those with less experience and is close to my DC base. I think it makes the most since to go soon after undergrad (unless I get a really compelling job offer that I’m not expecting). Now the questions begin.
1. The Carey MSRE application comes out in September, but I have only recently started GMAT preparation. I want to apply this fall for JHU MSRE Fall 2011 enrollment, but I have signed up to take the GMAT this December which I fear is too late. Should I take the GMAT in September and risk a lower score but be able to use said score in my application or wait until I’m better prepared?
2. Am I crazy in believing that MSRE and then MBA is the best option for me? This isn’t an existential question. The one issue I have with the MSRE is that there are many MBA programs which offer something like a concentration in real estate, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to break deep enough into the RE field without an MSRE or MBA to demonstrate true leadership.
3. Similarly, will my MBA application package be too lightweight if I have the MSRE but then at max only 3 years experience (if I graduate MSRE in Spring 2012, then I have 3 years until GMAT expiration)?
4. I’m a little concerned that I’m jumping the gun on the GMAT, especially during my last semester when I want continue getting decent grades. Do a lot of undergrads attempt the GMAT? Is it better to focus on trying to secure an internship exclusively within real estate?
5. Should I just bite the proverbial bullet and screw the MSRE and try and get a full-time gig?
I realize I probably sound like Lindsay Lohan on her way to jail with all this stuff, but I sort of just need someone to talk it through with because my career center, while helpful, doesn’t have answers for the type of specific, situational questions I have. I know it’s a lot of ask for a newbie “Intern” to come in and spill their beans as if this is Oprah’s couch, but if someone could just offer some guidance, even just somewhere to look—another site, a book, something so I don’t feel that each day is without sufficient decisions. I realize this is becoming the 8th Harry Potter, but thank you in advance to any brave enough to read this beast and thank you ll for being a welcoming committee.