eCornell commercial real estate certification for b-school resume

Planning to get into b-school fall of 2022. I am currently in the construction management industry and plan to pivot into real estate with MBA. My undergrad was in India in civil engineering with a low gpa of 2.64/4.00 and I have a masters in construction management from USA with a decent gpa of 3.57/4.00. My GRE is 326/340. I am a prospective HBS CORe candidate. Do you think that getting the Cornell commercial RE certificate will look good on my resume and increase my odds of breaking in into top b-schools. Workwise, I am into commercial construction cost estimation wherein I work for a contractor and bid construction jobs which puts me in a good position for pursuing RE. Or do you think the Cornell certificate won't be worth the money and pursuing some other cheap courses would help too?

Thoughts? Comments?

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Comments (10)

May 23, 2021 - 11:42pm

Do you think civil engineering and construction management would be considered by adcoms as something related to real estate? It did not involve any finance-related material in it. Thoughts?

May 23, 2021 - 11:44pm


Sure it had no finance related aspects, but that's why you're going for an MBA. You have something other MBAs (interested in RE) with only finance exp don't have, both WE and a masters that focused on the operations / construction side of RE. You can easily craft a story in your essays how this masters degree plus your WE makes you a perfect hire for a RE related role. I think you're in very good shape with your related masters and don't need an expensive certificate.  

Best of luck! 

May 23, 2021 - 11:50pm

Also, I had a low undergrad gpa if you see my post. Assuming that it might be a problem, I was thinking of pursuing the course to offset the low gpa. Do you think my undergrad gpa would be a problem or should my masters and work ex help me get through?

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May 23, 2021 - 11:56pm

Yes, I saw your UG GPA. I don't know why a certificate would help more than the masters you have already. 

In general adcom focus more on UG GPA and standardized test scores, of course they will taken into account the masters you have, but not sure what the added benefit of the certificate would have. I would focus on your essays, esp the optional one where you explain away the low GPA.

Essays are not easy as ppl make them out to be. You really need to tie together where you are in your career pre-MBA, your goals post-MBA and how the MBA will bridge the gap. All while weaving in leadership, team work and other stuff b-schools care about as well as why that specific b-school is so so so important. 

Best of luck!  

May 24, 2021 - 1:00am

Makes sense. I guess focusing on the essay part will be the key. I was just thinking of taking the RE course since RE aspirants would be the ones who must already have some sort of experience directly related to the industry coupled with a good UG gpa whereas in my case, experience is more related to construction than the hard core RE and a below par gpa and from what I've heard, universities compare UG gpa so that it is level ground for admission. Is there any truth in this?

Most Helpful
May 24, 2021 - 9:04am

Yes, admissions primarily looks at UG GPA and test scores, as well as WE and essays, in a comprehensive package. UG GPA and test scores are very important as they feed into the rankings. A graduate GPA can partly offset a weak undergrad GPA, especially if you can frame the weakness in your undergrad GPA (i.e. health reason, did it trend upward, etc...) BUT grad GPA doesn't factor into the rankings at all. Definitely use the extra essay to explain it. I would also apply as early as possible. 

Given you have a masters already with a good GPA, I'm not sure what the point of the additional certificate would be. I get that you want to show your RE finance proficiency, but I'm not sure admissions is going to care to that level given your WE and related masters. Most certificates are utter nonsense and admissions knows this - you show up, pay and get a piece of paper saying you completed a course. Not sure on eCornell's cachet, but I haven't heard it widely discussed as a go to value add certificate for applicants (unlike HBX).

Best of luck!

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May 25, 2021 - 3:22pm

adding an extra 5-6 points on GRE or 10-20 on GMAT will be far more impactful than any certificate. 

May 25, 2021 - 3:49pm

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