MUP - valuable for CRE?

Curious if anyone can provide insight on if a Masters in Urban Planning would have any merit for the commercial real estate field. 

I feel like this degree may hold value, especially if one wanted to work in development, which is my goal. Searched urban planning on here and didn't see much, especially recent, so would be interested to hear communities thoughts on this degree.

There are a few things I am dubious of

  • would an MUP be worth the time & capital, relative to a MSRE/MRED? Surely a MSRE/MRED (+MBA) is more desirable for real estate employers than a MUP?
  • do people that get these degrees go into real estate/development or do more of these MUP holders go on to work for municipalities/gov? 

Comments (10)

Most Helpful
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

my random thoughts on this....

- Urban planning (which I think of as an off shoot of architecture, with a lot of policy/govt overlap) is relevant to real estate like you think. And yes, I can think of many people with urban planning degrees and prior careers in real estate (mostly development but even investments and brokerage tbh). So, if you want to be an urban planner, then "jump" over, it has been done before and prob can be done again.

- Would I recommend a MUP over an MSRE or MBA if one's desire is to be in real estate (as a legit real estate person)? NEVER! Unless you really really like the field and discipline and want to go to work in it for a real period of time, I would not do this. It's too far field, you get near zero finance/market exposure, and tbh... the true architects and engineers can easily outclass the urban planners in getting real estate roles. 

- That said a successful career in urban planning, including working for a municipality, can totally have huge benefits to developers and other real estate fields. The key is the career in UP... not the degree or even the knowledge to be blunt.

Full caveat... I'm a finance backgrounded person, like most in this forum and frankly, in real estate. Thus, we don't give as much natural respect these "far field" roles, so I may be biased. That said, if you don't have an urban planning background now, I wouldn't recommend one to get into real estate. Now, if you are in school or going back and you add on some UP classes or even a minor or something like that... totally cool and good value add. Just without a more solid core (like finance/real estate) you are going to be needing to fill too many holes in your knowledge/skill set to get direct hired in most cases. 

Prefers_Real_ASSets, what's your opinion? Comment below:

thank you for your reply. I am a couple years out of school and haven't been able to break into industry yet (state school degree was re fin). I was contacted by someone on LinkedIn for the USC EMUP prospectively but wasn't sure what to think of it. Your thoughts here have definitely helped, so again appreciated. 

Grid, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Most individuals that I know who hold a MUP/MUD work for municipalities connected to some part of the planning/historic review process. I have also seen MUD holders work for master planning firms which provide advisory services to municipalities when they update their general/specific plan(s).

I think that MSRE degrees tend to lead people towards asset management, acquisitions, REIT funds. Interested to hear other perspectives on MSRE degree placement.

If your end goal is development I think MSRE/MRED make more sense.

Prefers_Real_ASSets, what's your opinion? Comment below:

thank you for your insight. I agree with your sentiment MSRE/MRED should be my goal. However, don't think I can get into reputable MSRE/MRED programs without prior work experience in the field. Ideally I want at least 2 years as an analyst before applying to those programs, and have struggled to break in after I left my prior role beginning of 2022. then rates changed and it has been even harder to get interviews. 

CREnadian, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Highly applicable to development if you want to work on the execution side of the business (entitlements and project management) at a shop that focuses on pushing properties through the entitlement process, less so if you're interested in the deal side of the business (sourcing and structuring before it's handed off for execution) or in working at a shop that buys shovel ready land.

The reason you don't see much about it on here is this forum generally attracts those in the latter category.MSRE would be more well rounded for sure. MBA would be best if you're purely interested in deals.

Prefers_Real_ASSets, what's your opinion? Comment below:

highly appreciate your comment. Definitely see how it can hold merit in entitlement and planning processes as well as oversight, but yes, I'd rather get a more robust Re-specific masters (MSRE/MRED). Thanks for your thoughts! 

  • Associate 2 in PE - Other

Something that people are leaving out of the equation is school strength. If you want to work in real estate, a MUP from Harvard, Yale, Penn, and the like will likely go farther than an MBA from BYU (no hate, just an example of a school with limited presence in RE) or an MSRED from a school people have never heard of. It just takes one alum from the school to hear you out and push for you.

Is there a reason you're not going for MBAs or MSREDs? 

  • 1
Prefers_Real_ASSets, what's your opinion? Comment below:

yes school prestige definitely will play a factor with the post-grad degrees. The reason I haven't been shooting for MBA/MRED/MSRE is because I don't have experience in industry at the moment. I didn't think it would be smart to spend $ & time on these applications considering I haven't worked in the space. I have a degree in re fin from a decent state school but just haven't been able to get into brokerage or repe. I recently purchased a.cre in hopes to bolster my technicals and resume, and hopefully after I complete this, I will be in a better spot to land more interviews. thank you for your comment and insight here, friend 

  • 1
OffshoreMentality, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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