MBA Programs for Real Estate

To all Real Estate Finance professionals out there. I am applying to B-School next year and would like to concentrate in RE. Would you agree these following MBA's have the strongest RE programs with strong RE recruitment for IBRE and REPE?

1, Wharton
2. Columbia
3. NYU - Stern
4. Northwestern - Kellogg
5. Berkeley - Haas
6. Dartmouth - Tuck
7. Cornell - Johnson
8. UCLA - Anderson
9. UNC - Kenan-Flagler
10. Georgetown - McDonough

Thank you for all your help!



My quick two cents:

I was a career changer(military officer) so I needed something to set me apart from every other former military officer with ehhhhh grades in a social science. Plus I had no idea what I wanted to really do. If you're in REPE, and planning on staying, I would say go for the MBA as you don't necessarily need the network or specialized knowledge(I don't think) that you'd get from a straight MSRE program, but you may need the actual business and management knowledge later on down the line. It's a broader program that gives you a much more diverse experience. Hell I thought I was going to shoot for W$ or consulting when I finished, and look at me now haha. You never know what you'll learn.

That being said, maybe the network of a straight MSRE program would be better for you in your current role, maybe you don't care about management or growing as a leader, or maybe there isn't a program in your area.

What would honestly influence me the most is cost and location. So if you live in a city that has a part time MBA that's reasonably ranked, or an MSRE that's at least regionally appropriate for you, I'd give that a shot because you can keep working and still get the benefits. If there's neither in your area, well, there are a couple of top 20 MBAs with online programs now(Indiana, UNC, and I think Mellon) that may work for you, and I think Georgetown is the only actually reputable MSRE program that's fully online. Your other online option there is like FIU or something, and don't waste your time. I actually think that for our industry and assuming availability, a part time program in your area would be better because you can network within your cohort, still work on deals, and apply what you learn every day.

YMMV, hopefully that helped a little!

Forgot to mention, for planning purposes I'd start working on GMAT prep before I worried about anything else for an MBA, it can be a kick in the nuts and you may want to take it more than once. The other bonus for MSRE's is that many of them don't require it. Good luck!


I was recently accepted (and will be attending) at top 10 program, a program that is not known as a a strong real estate program. My recommendation is this: apply (why not?). By applying you are not committing to anything. You are just opening the door to make a future decision. Then if you get in, you can make the final decision. But until you apply and get in, there is really no decision to be made. Does that make sense?

For me, I was really on the fence about enrolling in an MBA program until I started applying, meeting alums, visiting campuses, etc. By doing the legwork of applying, I solidified my decision to go (assuming I was accepted).

Here are my reasons (in no particular order) for getting an MBA:

1) Network: Recent and not-so-recent alums all told me that one of the most valuable aspects of their MBA was the alum network and the relationships they developed w/ their classmates. Many people will say that you can also get a strong network by continuing to work in real estate. However, your MBA network will be a much more diverse set of people from a range of countries, industries, and backgrounds.

2) Optionality: As of now, I want to remain in real estate post-MBA. However, I wanted the option to explore other careers within the finance world. The worst case scenario is I graduate from a top MBA program and go to work for a solid real estate company or a REIB group. I don't see too much risk in getting the MBA from a career standpoint.

3) Credibility: I am not looking for "prestige" or "golden tickets". If anything, it is to prove something to myself. I grew up in a low-income family, neither parent went to college, and went to an extreme non-target. Getting an MBA will add one more notch on my resume and give future investors (I want to raise my own fund one day) slightly more comfort of my background.

There are many other reasons but I'm starting to get lazy and want to go to bed. I'm happy to answer other questions.

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