MSRE/MSRED with no RE experience; Naive to think I’ll land a job afterwards?

First time poster.. and I think I’m a rather peculiar case. I graduated from a solid NY private university with a 3.7 in finance. Had a full-tuition scholarship, so I didn’t take out much in student loans at the time. I got a job in Project Finance after graduation, but didn’t last very long (<1 year). My heart wasn’t in it at the time (I regret quitting so much) and I wanted to pursue a childhood passion in architecture. After a year of art classes to build a portfolio, I got into a Master of Architecture program. Lasted only 1.5 years before realizing I wasn’t going to be able to make a career out of it. I loved my studies, but my graphic and artistic skills were too far behind and I was really struggling as a result. I’ve been working in restaurants since just to make ends meet, but I’m getting kind of worn out and don’t see much of a future in it. My idea now is to try to blend my love for architecture/urban design with my prior education in finance to get into real estate development, eventually. Unfortunately, I’m faced with a 5 year career gap in my resume and haven’t been able to land any entry-level real estate jobs. I don’t blame them, I’ve practically lost any excel/modeling skills I barely had. It’s been 6 months of applying, 0 interviews, and I’m thinking now I might have to go back to school to refresh and prove myself again. Am I naive to think an MSRE/MSRED degree (without any prior work experience) is enough to land a job afterwards? I’ve been advised by one real estate professional to go get my broker’s license instead, but after reading up on the requirements I’d still need 2 years of real estate experience to sit for the test. That would probably mean becoming a residential real estate agent first, living off commission and paying out of pocket for health insurance. I really don’t like the sound of that. I have 70k in student loans at the moment. Going back for an MSRE/MSRED will make it ~180k, because I’ll have to go part-time and work in restaurants at night/on weekends. I know I wouldn’t get into a top school like USC, Columbia or NYU, but I talked to admissions already at my Alma mater and they said I should have no problem getting accepted into either MSRE or MSRED program just based off of my undergrad GPA alone. If my goal is to eventually get into real estate development, what would you advise as my best path?

 

I had a similar gap and made it work. Just have to be flexible on location, role, and comp to a certain degree.

Don’t mean to sound harsh and it’s none of my business what you do but I would think long and hard before committing to more school. My first job post real estate grad program wasn’t my ideal role and I was always looking to leave. Don’t go in expecting you’re going to get your dream job. If you’re ok going in and grinding for any real estate outcome you can build on then I say go for it. 
 

Lot better things you can do for money than going to school for real estate. I like real estate but realistically if I could make more doing vanilla finance or CS id do it. My dad worked for jobs he didn’t like for 30 years. Real estate is a grind especially at the lower levels. At the end of the day it’s a job and comes with stuff you like and don’t. 

 
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Finance + Architecture makes for a deadly combo in real estate development and it is rare for someone to have both. I have a friend who I went to NYU MSRE with who started as an architect and worked a couple jobs here and there as an architect. She then got her MSRE in finance and the combination landed her a really good role at a REPE/dev shop, paying her all in something like $250k…that was almost 5 years ago. She’s now killing it there as a VP. You will get into NYU MSRE eyes closed, but whether or not you choose to take on more student debt is up to you. Really depends if you can get a gig like hers afterwards that determines if it’s worth it or not. I will also say that your 5 year gap is a bit of a question for future employers. My advice is to take on internships during the day if you do pursue an MSRE. Other than that, all you can do is put together a good story that justifies how you arrived to where you are today. Don’t say things like “I didn’t know what I wanted to do for 5 years” even if that is the truth

 

+1 A finance degree and architecture background is a highly marketable combination.

 

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