Harvard MDes - real estate

ch66220's picture
Rank: Monkey | 51

Does anyone here have any experience or thoughts on the Harvard real estate program? I know it is technically a Masters of Design degree, but it appears you can take courses in the business school, law school and at MIT which is interesting. Just wondering what the placement is like out of the program.

Thanks.

Comments (29)

Jan 3, 2017

I would assume employers would cream themselves seeing Harvard on your resume.

    • 2
    • 1
Jan 3, 2017

Edit: Outdated

Jan 3, 2017

Undergrad degrees in Finance & Accounting.

Jan 5, 2017

I know a guy that did this and specialised in real estate finance/development and he's at Blackstone now.

    • 1
Jan 5, 2017

From their website:

Real Estate Finance and Investment

This sub-concentration prepares graduates for careers in real estate investment and finance. It combines analytical skills in investment and finance with an understanding of those forces that affect sustainable values in real estate development and investment in the urban context, including legal, regulatory, political, and the capital markets. Graduates typically enter careers in fund management, mortgage finance, investment banking, REITs, hedge funds, and private equity.

Jul 18, 2019

That dudes sharp

Jan 11, 2017

Yeah I know people who did the degree. They range from Architect's moving into a development role to REIB people who want to get a better sense of the physical assets before moving on to become an investors. Plenty of people on the finance/investment side.

Apr 19, 2017

Just bumping this up to see if there is any new insight on this program. I will be applying this fall so I'm trying to make final decisions on where to apply.

Apr 19, 2017

@ch66220 What's your background? Is it mostly on the investor side? From the website, it looks like they place an emphasis on the below degrees/careers.

"Applicants to the MDes program normally hold a professional degree in architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning and design. Applicants with a degree in a related discipline such as engineering, geography, computer science, or industrial design also qualify for admission."

Would anyone be willing to opine or where they think this program would rank among other Master's in RE programs...? To my knowledge, the strongest programs are (in no order):

  • Cornell
  • Columbia
  • USC
  • NYU
    • 1
Apr 19, 2017

MIT is probably the best RE program in the country.

    • 2
Apr 19, 2017

.

Apr 19, 2017
The Duke of Wall Street:

@ch66220 What's your background? Is it mostly on the investor side? From the website, it looks like they place an emphasis on the below degrees/careers.

"Applicants to the MDes program normally hold a professional degree in architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning and design. Applicants with a degree in a related discipline such as engineering, geography, computer science, or industrial design also qualify for admission."

Would anyone be willing to opine or where they think this program would rank among other Master's in RE programs...? To my knowledge, the strongest programs are (in no order):

  • Cornell
  • Columbia
  • USC
  • NYU

I'm finishing up undergrad now, degrees will be in finance and accounting. I previously had an internship with a developer here (in the midwest) and I'm currently doing an analyst internship at a REIT.

May 10, 2017

Go work in RE for a few years before you worry about whether or not you need a masters.

    • 2
Dec 26, 2017

.

May 9, 2017

I've seen a few people pop up every now and then from the "RE" program or whatever it is called. I think the Harvard brand carries weight, but unclear on whether attending a legit RE program at say MIT, Columbia or NYU is more beneficial. My guess the latter is better.

Robert Clayton Dean: What is happening?
Brill: I blew up the building.
Robert Clayton Dean: Why?
Brill: Because you made a phone call.

    • 2
May 12, 2017

The NYU, Columbia and MIT programs are a well known quantity in NYC re investment circles. Aside from obvious brand power, the mdes could leave employers a bit confused as to where exactly to slot you in.

Most Helpful
Nov 22, 2018

Hello ... a bit too late but worth a shot ...

I was a Mdes - Real Estate candidate at Harvard GSD focusing on finance & investments. I have worked for couple of years in RE before applying (recommended). There are pros and cons, but the pros outweigh the cons (by a lot).

Some of the main pros:

  1. Flexibility of the program and cross registration with HBS, HKS, HLS, and MIT (HBS tougher than others, but doable with the right approach and networking with professors + a priority is given to you when you become in your second year)
  2. Huge networking opportunities if you know how to leverage the brand and how to sell yourself (especially if you have previous experience in RE)
  3. Top notch speakers (from AM, PE and Development side, etc..)
  4. Real Estate Conference that happens every Spring and attracts over 400 RE professionals (GSD + HBS students work jointly on that event)
  5. Very good / Excellent professors with professional experience (some better than others)
  6. The Mdes RE program is supported by HSREC, Harvard RE alumni board, and the RED Club at Harvard (you will be assigned a mentor from the Harvard RE alumni board in Year 1)
  7. If you know how to pick your courses, you can enhance your modelling skills drastically

Cons (in my opinion)

  1. Harvard GSD: Very small building - not the best fitted out space technologically - lack of space and very few collaboration spaces (this might be partially solved by the planned expansion of the GSD)
  2. Degree name "Masters in Design Studies" [although we call it a RE masters internally and with employers that know the program] - hopefully it will change in the future (due to the new leadership at Harvard [new president] and at the GSD [new dean])
  3. You have to accept the fact that this is a design/architecture school so everything is design/architecture oriented (my advice is to benefit from the cross registration to the maximum and build a great network of friends across the whole university)

Grosso modo: this program has a huge potential to grow exponentially if things are done right in the future. Very smart students get in + Professors that graduated from the GSD and HBS teach the course + very good networking opportunities and speakers' series

    • 7
Nov 22, 2018

Nice update, +SB

Nov 23, 2018

Can you shed some light on admissions? GMAT/GRE scores, other things that are valued in applicants, and what is the total class size for your year?

Nov 24, 2018

Sure
Expected GMAT score 640 - 680 (its nowhere on the website but I've emailed admissions back then). Of course, the better the merrier. I was preparing for MBA applications as well, so was pretty comfortable with that range (haven't really looked into GRE but a lot of people do it because it's apparently lighter on the quant side). PS: the GMAT/GRE is one aspect of the admission like any other Masters or MBA program.
Class size depends on each year's intake: the average is 20-25 students for Mdes Real Estate (vs. 30-35 at MIT; ~100 at Columbia; and ~90 at HBS per section)
Other things are things Harvard value in general: 1) a known employer (I worked with a large RE multinational) or 2) an employer where you had an impact on the built environment or any relevant industry.; 3) leadership skills 4) strong academic performance 5) "an international mindset"; Etc.
Hope this helps.
Will continue on updating this forum over the next 1 / 2 years.

    • 4
Dec 17, 2018

Can you elaborate on the networking opportunities & "knowing how to sell yourself"? Who do you primarily network with - Harvard alums, GSD alums, HBS alums in RE?

Dec 19, 2018

Networking opportunities: 1) with your professors who combine academia+real world experience (development, PE, design, law, etc.); 2) Program / GSD Alums; 3) HBS / HKS / HLS peeps interested in RE; 4) Treks (we organize treks with HBS to NY, LA, Chicago, Boston , etc.); 5) Harvard RE conference every Spring - huge event with 400-500 attendees and top notch speakers (usually from the top 50 RE funds, developers, technology, etc); 6) career days; 7) cold calling people on yourself and meeting with them; 8) speakers that come to class [almost every class]; etc.

Knowing how to sell yourself: if you think you have a competitive advantage over your peers, make sure to leverage it in networking events (lets say you were in RE before the masters, you have dealt with institutional investors, speak more then 1 language [specially for global roles], have worked with high profile investors, have a start up, etc.

Hope this helps,

Cheers

    • 3
Dec 26, 2018

This sub-concentration prepares graduates for careers in real estate investment and finance. It combines analytical skills in investment.

    • 1
May 28, 2019
Comment