RE online courses: Are certificates from Universities helpful for job search?

Good evening everyone! I've had minimum, even zero knowledge in Excel and financial modeling, so I am trying to catch up with some industry knowledge before my actual MSRED program starts.

There are a couple financial modeling classes on 1) websites like "Wall Street Prep" or 2) schools such as NYU and MIT, in which they have the options for people to take their online courses with a certificate afterwards. Here is my question:

I am just wondering if it is it helpful for future job search to show on my resume that I have completed this online course from another school's real estate department (option 2)? Or do those certificates don't matter for job search/ interviews as long as I have the skills? I just thought the fundamental elements of both options are probably similar, but courses offered by an university with certificates (option 2) I found are all more (almost 10 times) pricier, so whether or not the certificate is going to be helpful is a key factor in my decision here.

Above are just my thoughts as an inexperienced professional, thank you guys ahead for helping me out. All comments are appreciated!


Generally I'd say the classes/certificates look good on a resume if you have no relevant prior experience. It won't get you an interview and obviously not a job, but can help you separate yourself compared to some art major with absolutely 0 knowledge of business overall.

The classes are also a good way to learn, so I would do them just for that purpose. You can put them on your resume, but it's mainly for you to learn. You should however, become proficient in excel via whatever platform because that is a necessity at the analyst/associate level.

Curious as to what program you're in considering you said this ... "I am trying to catch up with some industry knowledge before my actual MSRED program starts"


Dear Ralph_Lauren4122, thank you so much for your input, I really appreciate it! I just got into the MSRED program at Columbia University and am starting this fall, that is why I want to take online classes before the semester so hopefully I can have a less bumpy start loll. An extended question: I agree that you pointed out the courses are mainly for myself to get familiar with the tools and industry, but since I will be doing job search at least after enrolling in the program, does it do the job to separate myself from the big pool already? Or is still still a plus to show that I've had some prior experience before the program? Thank you so much again for your comment!


Makes sense. Congrats on getting into Columbia!

To your other question: I think it shows eagerness to learn which is great. But it won't get you into Columbia, you already did that. And I don't think it would separate you far enough as your MSRED from Columbia will.

Basically, your MSRED will open more doors than a few MIT online courses. Even while you are a student.


Hey! I know this post is from a few years back but just wanted your thoughts on how one can make themselves stand out *without* a masters. Quick background is: went to an ivy for undergrad, 5 years work experience in client facing/mostly IR types of roles at top bank, and own/operate portfolio of resy RE. Trying to break into CRE as of now (crappy timing, I know) and have taken modeling courses (A.CRE), reading RealDeal, BisNow, etc. and networking but it seems still not enough to even get first round interviews anywhere - and I'm looking at entry level analyst positions!


It will not be helpful for your future job search (and would be rendered completely irrelevant anyhow by your Columbia degree).

That said, if you have the time and the money, you should definitely take a course while ignoring if it comes with a certificate or not. Why not get a leg up on your learning beforehand, especially if you lack experience with modeling?

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Dear CRE, thank you so much for your advice, those are really helpful! I planned to take a course no matter what, just wondering which platform should I tale it from. Since I have an idea of what the value of the certificate is for future job search, I am more confident in making this decision now. Thank you again for your help, I really appreciate it.


Dear MonopolyMoney, thank you so much for your help, I really appreciate it. I just checked out the website and it seems very resourceful.

I also have an extended question: I've made a post regarding this before, but in your opinion, what are some other important skills/ books/ things to keep in mind for someone who has no previous related experience?

Thank you so much for your advice again.

Most Helpful

Skills will be learned through courses and job experience, so all I would recommend on that front is to get familiar with the industry. It would probably make sense to start reading CRE magazines/ websites. For news, I would recommend Real Capital Analytics, The Real Deal, CoStar once a week or so, and for other terms, I would recommend following a few of the large brokerages on Linkedin and reading through some of the materials they put out.

Once you join the masters program, I would look at joining a professional organization or two with your student discounts, ULI is great, NAIOP is great for Office and Industrial (they are starting to get more into retail and multifamily), both organizations also publish a quarterly magazine that would be great to thumb through. Great for networking into a job and learning.


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