Best grad programs for real estate?

ch66220's picture
Rank: Baboon | 102

Hi all,

I am a senior at a public (flagship) school in the midwest (not a particularly well known one). Finance major. GPA is good. Have always been interested in real estate and have taken classes in it, learned relevant modeling, gotten my license and sold some residential (basically just for family). However, I don't have much internship experience in CRE, simply because I don't live in a city that has major developers or RE finance. It is very scarce here. I've interned at a small development firm, but nothing that's going to be super impressive to potential employers.

I don't see myself getting a RE job after graduation, because of my lack of experience. It makes it even harder because I am interested in potentially moving elsewhere, so networking would be difficult.

So, I am thinking of going for a masters. Probably a MSF, simply because most of the MRE/MRED programs require more experience.

My question is, are there any MSF programs known for placing well into RE? I am most interested in development/acquisitions but would be fine taking RE AM (later moving into PE), REIT, or an underwriting type gig. I don't think I could get into Vandy. Think I could get into SMU, maybe UT (heard they don't like finance majors though), WUSTL, maybe USC, etc. Do any have a good real estate presence/good OCR?

I could also apply to the TAMU real estate program, depending on what the placements are like. My concern is that if I don't want to stay in Texas and want to move to either coast or even back to the midwest, it would probably be good to have the option to do a MRE in those areas (which wouldn't be possible if I'd already done one at TAMU). However, if the TAMU placements are good and could get me into a solid position with a nationally known firm, I could possibly move to another location and get a job based on experience, without needing a MRE from somewhere local.

Thoughts? I realize I'm a little late to the game.

Sorry this is was so long. Let me know if clarification is needed.

United States - Midwest
United States - South
United States - West

Comments (24)

Aug 10, 2017

I would start networking in a bigger city, and find a way to land an Analyst job whether it be at a brokerage shop, investment firm, etc. With a couple years of experience you will be better equipped for grad school. Also, look at some MBA programs that have a strong real estate focus and placement opps (UNC, Columbia, etc.).

Aug 10, 2017

There are a handful of MSRE/MRED programs that are objectively "better" - such as MIT's that requires 3 years of experience - or at least "very, very well known with extensive alumni networks" - such as USC's or Cornell's - but for the most part there is no real ranking and all of these programs are going to be regional. USC is going to place in California, Cornell is going to place in NYC & Boston, MIT is going to place in Boston & NYC, TAMU is going to place in Texas, etc.

You need to figure out where you want to live before you pick a school and for someone in college who hasn't ever lived in other places that can certainly be difficult. You're definitely late for this year, as a lot of these programs have already started, but you're at the perfect time to be thinking of MSRE/MRED programs for next year and, presumably with a year of experience by the time you start, you'll be at the perfect point in your career.

    • 1
Aug 10, 2017

To latch onto @CRE - I have heard UF's MSRE program has a strong southeastern presence as well if that is of your interests. My advice is to use your experiences for leverage whether it is breaking into industry as a brokerage analyst to gain experience or finding the school of your fitting. But no matter, have confidence in your own brand and don't sell yourself short!


Aug 11, 2017

The south has a number of programs these days:

  • Clemson
  • Auburn
  • Florida
  • Georgia Tech
  • Texas A&M

Not to mention UNC's MBA has an actual real estate concentration that looks really strong - not just two electives that they call a concentration like some MBA programs.

Aug 10, 2017

If your willing o come to Europe for the masters Cambridge, LSE, CASS and Reading have pretty good programmes.

Aug 10, 2017

If your willing o come to Europe for the masters Cambridge, LSE, CASS and Reading have pretty good programmes.

The only good thing about LSE program is the brand name. Other than that the content of the program is very weak. It's trash tier compared to good American programs like MIT, Cornell, USC.

Also, UK has atrociously low salaries compared to US (combined with very high housing costs in London), I'm not sure why you would want to go there.

Aug 11, 2017


I am contemplating doing this program.

Why is it that bad according to you and do you know how it compares to Cambridge and Cass?


Aug 11, 2017

Fwiw I know a girl who did 3 years as an analyst at a developer, then the LSE program -> Associate at Carlyle. So the brand can take you places for sure. Those places just may be limited to London.

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Aug 11, 2017

I just finished up my first semester at NYU's MSRE program. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.

May 25, 2020

I'm currently looking at this program and would love to hear how you liked NYU's MSRE program and why it looks like for you after graduation. I'd love to talk more

Aug 13, 2017

I know you asked about a master's program, but Wisconsin has a real estate MBA. If you're interested in staying in the midwest, tough to top their program.

Nov 6, 2017

Get an MBA (with a real estate focus) instead.

Nov 6, 2017

And I also read several posts from WSO and realized that starting from brokerage might put me into disadvantage for getting a job in REPE, is it true?

most of us here don't know how things work in Asia, but what they mean is that here in the US, a kid from Sperry Van Ness can't really compete with someone from morgan stanley M&A when applying for a job at Fortress.

Nov 6, 2017

they're looked at as a joke, some of them don't require the GMAT, which kinda wrecks its image. Do an MSF, or MMS, but not "real estate."

Nov 6, 2017

Really? I thought at least the top programs like Cornell and MIT are recognised. My main concern is that getting a master in real estate will be too narrow, which makes it hard to get a job, especially if I'm thinking to come back to Asia. I thought about MSF too, any good suggestions? My GMAT is 770 and I got a first honour in my undergraduate, so I guess it wont be too hard to get in a top school.

Nov 6, 2017

Please don't waste a GMAT like that on a joke real estate program.

Nov 6, 2017

I work at a major REPE (real estate private equity firm), and am heading to CBS for my MBA (will concentrate on real estate there).

Masters in Real Estate at Columbia/Harvard/NYU/MIT are solid, but not great.

You should focus on getting an MBA at a top RE program like at Wharton, UT Austin, Columbia, Stern, Wisconsin, Berkeley

Nov 6, 2017