Master of Finance vs. MSRED for REIT/REIB Career Post-Grad

How does a 1 year Master of Finance/MSF program compare to a 2 year MBA-Finance program?

My background is non-business and I have been working in commercial construction project mgmt since graduating in May 2012. Looking to pursue REIB/REIT work after grad school and curious which curriculum would offer the greatest ROI.

What about MSRED (Real Estate Dev) vs. MSF?

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Comments (30)

Feb 7, 2014

The MSF is very specialized so you learn a lot, but the MBA is still the king when it comes to working professionals. If you have 3-5 years of work experience I would suggest you go the MBA route.

An MSF is good for those looking to break into finance, fix a GPA or because you just love finance. Otherwise go the more traditional route.

Feb 7, 2014

Greatest ROI would definitely be an MBA then get a Summer Associate role at an IB and get FT but it depends what you want to do as a career really.

Feb 9, 2014

My only concern with going for the MBA now is you can't do an MBA twice. With no pre-MBA finance experience, I've read quite a bit that outlines the resistance one faces in trying to break in post MBA. For this reason, I am question the role of the MSF as an interim graduate degree, where one could work 2-3 years as an RE analyst/capital markets type position and use that newly gained finance experience to pursue a top tier MBA. Does this sound crazy for a non-business undergrad?

Feb 12, 2014

I've also been doing some research here as I'm thinking about a similar transition. I can't seem to find the related posts right now, but I think users @"Relinquis" @"re-ib-ny" @"Pinkpoloshorts" have given some good insights into this in the past.

If you look at the top brass or even those at the associate and VP level in REIB, REIT, REPE, you'll see they have backgrounds in finance, are probably CPAs, and probably did not come from RE development. I think an MBA from a top program with a focus in finance would be the best way in. Wharton has a strong real estate program, and even a mentorship program through its Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center. I don't know how many of these students end up in REIT/REIB/REPE vs development, but I imagine they would have those resources/contacts available to them to get there.

Feb 12, 2014

CPA?

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Feb 12, 2014

For an example, check out the real estate VPs at Blackstone.

Feb 12, 2014

Have you considered development oriented REITs or large developers? Coming from project management, there is probably a solid story you could spin to break in with those companies. What tier MBA/MSF programs would you realistically be eligible to get in to?

Feb 12, 2014
Crazy Lloyd Braun:

Have you considered development oriented REITs or large developers? Coming from project management, there is probably a solid story you could spin to break in with those companies. What tier MBA/MSF programs would you realistically be eligible to get in to?

Those are the types of companies I feel my skill set matches most closely with. MSF was an idea; I'm in Arizona and ASU offers an MSF which I could see doing along with some RE finance internship if possible. Majority opinion has said MBA. MSRED programs catch my eye too.

I'm mid-GMAT prep but I plan to apply to the following (assuming 700+ GMAT):
--1 year MSRED/MRED programs: Columbia, MIT, USC
--2 year MBA RE/Finance - UC Berkeley (Haas), UCLA (Ziman), NYU (Stern)

ASU is in state, UT Austin is #17 US News, but for the cost I plan to go to the best school I can get into :/

Dec 23, 2014

@"Crazy Lloyd Braun" was admitted into USC Marshall and UT McCombs last week. Sorry for the long delay--waiting to hear from UCLA Anderson, UNC Kenan-Flagler, and Columbia. Would targeting a REIB summer internship provide the most benefit for career prospects post grad? I like development and investment and would like to work for a well capitalized PERE firm doing development deals someday.

Dec 28, 2014

Congrats. You should try to do the dual MBA/MSRE at USC if possible... I would target REIB.

Dec 28, 2014

REIB out of bschool, you make bank.

Dec 28, 2014

@odog808 how does one pursue REIB out of b school and end up doing development? Would like to do small urban mixed use projects someday

Dec 29, 2014

@cpgame
I haven't worked in REIB but I know total comp can be very good in this market for associates post-MBA for a top tier REIB. However, you will be seen as overhead and not sure how much job security that is in a downturn.

Hypothetically, I would make the transition from REIB to development by:
1) touting my firm grasp of markets, players, deals, capital markets, relationships. Associate level you would probably be more behind the scenes with most of the client interaction at the VP and SVP level.
2) there a couple thoughts about REIB since I see firms doing project level brokering and the portfolio sale broker dealer type work, recapitalizations, bond issuance on the corporate level. That's pretty diverse. So I'll just focus more on the property level transactions that is closer to brokerage.
3) I would work for a development company that values financial modeling skills. That's your in. These types of firms will mold you into a developer over time. You want to work for a firm that does not just pay lip service in making you into a developer. Many development firms are very siloed with acquisitions, entitlements, construction, operations, capital markets, and dispositions all handed off. You want to work for a firm where development controls everything. Many of the big REITs are structured like this (silos).

    • 1
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Jan 11, 2015

Which master degrees would you guys recommend most strongly for someone who wants to land a PERE role?

Jan 11, 2015

Ummm....I work in REPE acquisitions, but rather than answer directly I think I'll state the obvious....WHY don't you ask your MD cousin?!

Jan 11, 2015

dupe

Jan 11, 2015

Cuz he was a typical HYPS, and I want to pave my career my own way

Jan 11, 2015

I don't see how getting advice is being dependent on him, but whatever. There are MANY different paths to a REPE acquisitions role. I'm not sure what your network looks like, so that will definitely be important in determining your path.

That being said, if you want to stay in REPE long-term, at a top fund, a brand name MBA will be most beneficial. The secret in investment management is that you are selling a product. That product is the investment team's intellect and expertise. As such, credentialing is quite important. You're not going to learn some mind blowing RE finance skills in an MBA program, your buying a credential and a network.

There are a lot of the MSRED types in REPE expecially from the program you mentioned, but the top tier firms tend to have more elite MBA folks. Hope this helps.

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Jan 11, 2015

Hey thanks for you insight. Just wondering, do you think getting MSF is irrelevant and unhelpful for someone in RE industry? Do you know if it's easy to go from MSF to BB REIB?

Jan 11, 2015

Blackstone does recruit directly out of NYU if that helps.

Jan 11, 2015

If you looks at the profile page of a shop like Savannah most have MSRED from Columbia and NYU. Whether there was a stop in between I think depends on the network they built while getting those degrees.

On a side note; how long did you spend studying for the GMAT?

Jan 11, 2015

I've been studying casually for about a year, studying in my down time

Jan 11, 2015

MSF may help you break into IB, but BB can be a stretch in my opinion. So many kids do MSF striving for IB at a BB, yet the majority fall short because UG students simply have better credentials. Realize it is a huge risk if it's BB IB or bust for you (regardless of the group).

MSRED is helpful, but your chances at a BB are slimmer. This is just a fact. It'll help you break in to the equity side, but you're striving for mega funds and it seems unlikely with a MSRED.

My advice: do research and find firms that are more of an allocator rather than an operator. Start there and understand the business model. Work 2 years, get an MBA and give the mega funds a shot. This will take a few years though.

If you want to work at a mega fund as soon as possible, then MSF is your only option. Not sure if you're open to this but look into MSF in Europe. BB firms in Europe are more receptive to them and they're highly regarded if it's from a top notch school (LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, LBS, etc). If location matters then just make sure to target schools that are located within close proximity to whatever city you want to work in.

That's all I got.

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Jan 11, 2015

So would getting a MS in RE Finance and Investment or MS Real Estate Development from the usual suspects (MIT, Columbia, NYU, USC, Georgetown) give him a shot at an Acquisition role in a PE shop which he *then* can use to get to a BB? It seems the experience doing acquisitions would really help BB work since he would have real world experience at more of the asset level.

Jan 11, 2015

I understand this is almost an year old thread. Curious what you decided yellowmonkey.
I'm also thinking almost the same lines. But the difference being that I already have an MBA, but not a brand name one, but from a Tier 2 college (I'm based in India).
Right now, i'm in buy-side analyst role for real estate developer.

The options in front of me are-

1. Working my way up - Spend some time in the current role, say 2-3 yrs, take a shot at REPE (get CFA alongside,i'm writing L1 in june 15).
Returns - I doubt i'd be able to break into top shot REPE firm, boutique firm quite feasible, average REPE firm- will need to put up a good show.
Time frame(worst case scenario) - 3 yrs current firm, 3 yrs boutique firm -> then maybe a decent sized REPE/REIB.
Risk - If things dnt work out, most probably will be stuck at some below avg job (relatively) and v less chances of whateva..

2. MSRED - Spend 2-3 yrs here (get CFA), i already have 2 yrs work-ex prior to MBA (not relevant though, software programmer). Total work-ex 4-5 yrs by that time. Take a shot at ivy league and likes specializing in RE, higher chances to take a crack at BB REPE (TOO OPTMISICTIC????)
Returns - things work out, i'm happy.
Time frame - 3+1 yrs.
Risk - almost $150k investment. D/E = undefined, lol

Suggestion, comments everything welcome.
Many thanks in advance.

Jan 11, 2015

I am sure the other guys can also wade in deeper on the more granular parts of your Q, but will toss in some info that could prove helpful.

From all the people I have spoken to, stories that I have heard, and even just sussing it out by reading innumerable resumes online - there seems to be a common thread of people landing very well on their feet from the MSc or MSRED programs: They worked either as an intern or an employee with target (so if they wanted PE they worked for some variant thereof) ~consistently~ while in school. They had this game plan going in and am sure leveraged off the many school mates (if they are or were working in the local industry or from the area and have a network that can be keyed off of) or adjunct professors (all working in the industry typically) that first semester to get an internship.

These people who made a success post graduation typically had 2-3 internships before they graduated (while in school), or worked for a company during its pendency that then bumped them from Associate to VP (many of the top firms require their VP's to have a Master's degree and even pay for it once the person gets to a certain level) once they obtained that Master's.

The ones that used the MSc as a career switching device post grad without this little nuance can spin their wheels in 'employ limbo' for much longer than they might like or hope. The above anecdotally based advice may not be on point with your Q, but it is important for anyone considering a MSc RE or MSRED to know. Shuffle through any career site which shows people working in RE with a MSRED/MSRE of this type - and you can see the impact the above M.O. has on their trajectory or lack thereof. The foot-in-the-door process begins the day you start classes, maybe even before.

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Jan 11, 2015

Very useful info. Thanks a ton.
Can you give some research leads, blogs, forum anything for
-profiles, entrance criteria, investment for MSRED programs
-Career path and profiles of MSRED graduates

Also, not many ppl from my region (India) go for these programs, which in turn could be because thr arnt many big REPE firms arnd here. Researching on profiles of foreign students and comparing gets a bit difficult.

Jan 11, 2015
Jan 11, 2015