Grad School Cost: is it worth it?

Cadmonkey117's picture
Rank: Baboon | 126

Hi guys,

My head is spinning with all the different factors to evaluate in applying to grad school. For a career switcher with some architecture experience, what are the most important factors in selecting a grad school? I would like to work in development and eventually open my own shop.

I'm going to assume I would get an analyst job with 65k + bonus pay after graduation. That being said, my options for school are:

  1. MRED at respected private school with great connections in a big secondary city. 70k tuition but I can work full time while studying part-time. I have some connections who own shops / could potentially hire or put a good word in for me if I went here.
  2. MSRE at public school, tuition around 20k in the same secondary city. I have no idea of any developers with this degree, most graduates seem realtor types. No course mentioning development in curriculum, lots of talk about CCIM and Argus
  3. MSRE at respected public school in the middle of nowhere with a good network all over my state. Tuition around 17k+living costs (total around 30k). Linkedin shows some developer positions.

What are your guys opinions? Is it worth 1. shelling out big bucks to be 200% sure of my first job being what I want, even if it means 5-10 years of student debt? Or 2. Enroll in a RE degree even if I'm not sure it's right for development if it means not being broke and staying close to my city and its deals? Or 3. Abandoning my existing network and friends to go to some suburban college town 8 hrs away from my target city for a degree that seems ok?

Comments (30)

Apr 17, 2018

PS by "respected" I mean, respected for the state I am in. Not Harvard or any Ivy league.

Apr 17, 2018

Is there anything stopping you from getting a development analyst role now without accruing all this debt? Have you tried to get an analyst role? If so, how long have you been trying?

Apr 17, 2018

I have not tried. What would be stopping me is my complete lack of any finance / analysis knowledge. I could wait 10-15 years and lateral as a project manager once I have more experience but I can't take doing construction documents much longer...

Apr 17, 2018

You have what 95% of all real estate analysts do not have. And that is structural knowledge of the actual assets that these companies are investing in. You can learn the financial analysis aspects on the job. Don't sell yourself short.

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Apr 17, 2018

I would assume that with an MBA, you would be making way more than $65k base...

Also, can you list the schools? You're not really losing any anonymity by doing so.

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Apr 17, 2018

Option 1: University of Miami MRED+U
Option 2: Florida International University MSIRE
Option 3: University of Florida MSRE

As you can see I'm trying to limit my cost by choosing programs where I can part-time with my current job OR accumulate little debt with low cost living and public school tuition. Not thrilled about my list.

All in all I cannot afford 6 figure debt, hence the lack of MBAs or target - ivy schools

Apr 17, 2018

I am not too familiar with the first two programs. But I have heard Florida has a pretty good program. Lost out to a Florida MSRE guy when I was applying to a MM firm out of undergrad.

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Apr 17, 2018

For Florida, I've heard the best graduate real estate program is Miami's accelerated RE MBA. It's an 18 month program that has you do 2 internships. I would do that over the MRED.

Apr 18, 2018

Those schools could place into real estate but the pay will be low. Six figure debt is a lot but if you come out making $90k + 20-30% bonus, which is pretty normal at a top 20 full time MBA, it's easier to swallow.

Best Response
Apr 17, 2018

I second @buggylovesfinance. I've been told "you need more real world experience" more times than I'd like to admit, even though I'm enrolled in an MSRE. Nothing outweighs real world experience.

Also "Is it worth 1. shelling out big bucks to be 200% sure of my first job being what I want, even if it means 5-10 years of student debt?" Not a guarantee but I don't think an MSRE/MBA hurts your chances. It becomes a time sink if you go full-time. You have to weigh the cost, everyone else graduating at the same time (or before you), and the opportunity cost of not getting real world experience.

Can't comment on Florida MSRE/MBA. I went to a Florida school undergrad and from my experience in the real world since, most of my classmate connections have stayed in Florida while I moved away.

Think of your connections/long-term goals in a city you'd like to stay in. Is Florida where you are now/want to stay?

Whatever you do, listen to everyone else on this forum and in real life: network, network, network, and then network more.

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Apr 17, 2018

I'm not committed to Florida in the long term, the choice to study at the universities I mentioned is more of out of a need to keep working / save money. If I could move to LA, enroll in USC and sink 100k in a masters, or even some glamorous interesting city like Toronto or Barcellona, I would. But for now I'd like to know what I'm talking about in terms of financing deals and grow my network so I can pull together a few projects of my own.

Apr 20, 2018

Nope. Your time is better spent networking.

Apr 20, 2018

Nobody has mentioned that a lot of companies provide tuition assistance. Consider getting a job first for all of the reasons mentioned by others, but pay attention to the benefits offered. A lot of the bigger shops provide tuition assistance, and some will even fund a full ride if you commit to a certain timeframe at the shop (two years is typical). I recommend doing a MSRE part time at night. No replacement for deal experience which just takes time to develop. Plus, MSRE curriculums are just not full time jobs. Unless you are supplementing a full time program with an internship you are leaving some time on the table.

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Apr 23, 2018

Hi Ricky Rosay,

Can you name some examples of companies that are known to hire someone who is a career switcher and provide tuition assistance in exchange for a time commitment? Sounds like that would be ideal for me, I want to see if any in my area might be hiring and what I would need to do to get an interview.

Apr 21, 2018

Agree with the above poster...why are you not considering MBA? People who were architects or engineers in their previous lives were the top prospects for tier 1 development shops in my MBA program. They know you have a really specific knowledge base that no one else will have...and they also know you have the finance and management skills that we will all learn in B school. Also, why not shoot for a top program where your earning prospects will be higher? I'd rather pay $200k knowing my starting salary will be well into the 6 figures than pay $70K and cross my fingers that I get a slightly better job.

Check out trippple.net for real estate news / research / economics

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Apr 23, 2018

The MS degree concentrates the study in a specific field, such as finance and trains students for careers in high level staff positions often involving research. So MS degree would provide you focused and concentrated information. We would advise you to talk to people in your industry if Msc will boost your career further or MBA would. The answer may vary individual to individual and industry to industry. Regardless HEC is a fantastic school and many congrats for making it in. Also given the tough economic times you may want to talk to alumni's and career center wings to know further the opportunities the school provides you.

Apr 23, 2018

So did you accept the offer?!

Apr 23, 2018
aks198:

So did you accept the offer?!

Yes - I accepted the MSc offer - I secured a full-time trading position at an American bank for later this year so with hindsight was a good call.

Apr 23, 2018

Congrats! so did I.

Apr 23, 2018

Congratulations. I would have loved to apply to HEC, but I am looking for a one-year program. HEC has some of the most impressive placement statistics.

Apr 23, 2018
KKS:

Congratulations. I would have loved to apply to HEC, but I am looking for a one-year program. HEC has some of the most impressive placement statistics.

Actually I am on the 1 year program (MSc Finance) rather than the Grande Ecole (2-3 year program).

Apr 23, 2018

Just got acceptance into the MSF at Villanova with 3.5 gpa, 670 gmat, 3 months work experience as financial analyst at engineering firm.

Apr 5, 2019
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Apr 5, 2019