Master's of Real Estate Programs (Choices)

MSRE-13's picture
Rank: Chimp | 12

Hey everybody, I am new to the forum but have been reading the WSO for about two years.

A little bit about myself and why I have decided to post a discussion. I graduated college this past May 2017. Graduated with an overall GPA of 3.40 and my last 60 hours I have a 3.7 GPA.
Have prior experience in Real Estate: through internships, have my license (work as a Residential Agent / Property Manager for the past year and a half), was president of my Real Estate Club in school which I basically started, etc.

I was brought up in the residential field (parents own a brokerage but for vacation rentals (mostly)). Naturally I thought that the way to go was the residential field because I was told this from my parents. Looking and learning more about the different spectrums in Real Estate I have found a new passion and love for commercial RE (love the numbers, complexity, etc. I am a math geek and love real estate so it mashes up really good). I have no prior experience in commercial (reason why I am looking for an internship at the moment), but would like peoples thought on MSRE/MSRED programs because even though it is debt, I want to invest in myself and I know that I will get a good ROI in the long run because of it, especially taking into consideration how the industry is moving.

I have narrowed down my top 5 to (Order does not mean they are in order of ranking):
-University of Florida MSRE
-Texas A&M MSRE
-NYU MSRE
-Georgia State University MSRE
-Clemson MRED

Future goals are to have a position in the financial side in Real Estate or the development side (other reason why I want to do the masters to see more about the industry and see what exactly I want to do). Have networked with professionals through professional organizations and from what I have learned acquisitions, analyst, capital markets, development are some of the areas I may focus; at least at first.

Places were I would like to work in are:
-North Carolina
-South Carolina
-Florida
-Virginia
-Texas (more yes than no)
-Tennesse / Georgia (Iffy but open to it)

If there are any other programs you would advice or say it is not worth it to apply to one of those 5 for this reason I would greatly appreciate it. Hope I could get answers from a lot of people because it would be greatly appreciated. Have seen a lot of answers and knowledge from people like @CRE , @cre123 . Hope I could at least get the pros and cons of each program, which would you say is the best for my criteria and if more information is needed to answer in more detail.

Comments (16)

Jun 19, 2017

Given that you'd like to work in the south and specifically Virginia, you should consider the Georgetown program. It is low cost compared to other programs and you can take classes part-time while gaining on-the-job experience.

That said, if you don't have much of an interest in the MD/DC/VA area, then it may not be worth your time.

Disclosure: I am a current student in the Georgetown program.

Jun 19, 2017

Out of all the areas you said, the only one that really interests me is Virginia. I do not like the MD/DC area that much.

What can you say of the Georgetown program without thinking about the money. If money was no object would you still have gone to Georgetown or would you have maybe thought of going to another program.

Jun 19, 2017

Yes I still would have. The most important feature of the program is the ability to do it part-time. As you may have read or will soon read on this forum, there is no substitute for on-the-job experience. Other aspects of the program that I like are as follows:

Pedigree - Georgetown as a brand has a strong reputation across all degrees and colleges within the university. In fact, it has quite a recognizable name abroad, which fits well with my desire to have a global career.

Practicality - In general, I have gleaned that MSREs tend to be very practical and focused - what I mean is that they teach necessary skills and avoided fluff, in general. I'll simply add that this has been true so far in my experience at Georgetown.

Network - The students in my classes are diverse in terms of age, academic background, career background, and career goals. Every role under the sun in real estate is represented. That's a powerful network to have.

Professors - The professors are intelligent, successful and tapped into the DC and East Coast markets very well. There are also several professors with strong connections to Europe. This is another value-add.

Those are a few of the aspects of Georgetown that work for me. You could perhaps apply those criteria to each school and see what works for you.

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Best Response
Jun 19, 2017

Since there is no ranking of programs, (and that would be a hard task even if someone were to attempt it, given how different they are), you need to look at them in terms of location. The main value to these programs, outside of the resume bullet point, is the alumni network and the "advancement board" connections.

Your desired location network is a bit widespread, but as a rough idea - sorting your schools and locations and adding a couple -

-North Carolina

UNC MBA w/ Real Estate Concentration
Clemson MRED
UNCC MSRE (If Charlotte)

-South Carolina

Clemson MRED

-Florida

Florida MSRE

-Virginia

Georgetown MSRE
Johns Hopkins MSREI
NYU MSRE I suppose...

-Texas (more yes than no)

Texas A&M MSRE
(other Texas schools/degrees. Texas is rather large)

-Tennessee

Vanderbilt MSF
Vanderbilt MBA
Clemson MRED

  • Georgia

Emory MBA
Georgia MBA
Clemson MRED
Georgia State MBA
Georgia State MSRE

    • 4
Jun 19, 2017

Thank you for the thorough detailed response in each area. Especially because I know my choices are widespread, it is just that I am to young to just think I want this specific area and just want a good area where I could grow. I will be answering your inbox when I can. I have a new account and it just doesn't let me answer any inbox at the moment.

Your next answer is the reason why I am doing it now, I just think it is the right time to do this if not it will be to late and I will not get any benefits from it. Especially because I do not have any prior commercial real estate experience, except a class I took in undergrad.

Even though this is the preferred programs for the states that I have put it does not mean that if I for example go to NYU it will make it harder or easier to be in Georgia in the future right?

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Jun 19, 2017
Gabriel-Lazcano:

Even though this is the preferred programs for the states that I have put it does not mean that if I for example go to NYU it will make it harder or easier to be in Georgia in the future right?

There are a couple factors at play here to consider:

  1. First off, it'll be difficult simply from a networking standpoint. You're not going to be able to drive to Atlanta at a moment's notice for an interview and some big time CEO whom you would kill to meet with will cancel on you twice after you've already bought your plane tickets. There are logistical barriers for that.
  2. RE firms like a tie to an area, both from a market knowledge perspective and also because they're investing in you so they want you to stick around. If you're going to school in an area, you already have a tie to it, even if you're not from there. If you're from say Virginia, and go to school in NYC, what about you says "I want to be in Atlanta" or "I'm going to spend the next 10 years in Dallas?"
  3. One thing you would have going for you, in this specific instance, is that NYU is NYU. The name can potentially transcend regional barriers. I stress potentially here, because you're also fighting the "Yankee" stereotype if you're talking cities in the south, but NYU is clearly a prestigious school and Manhattan RE guys seem to be able to find work elsewhere. Marginally related - I know a NYU MSRE grad oddly enough who works for Google Fiber in Atlanta. Cool guy - reminds me a whole lot of Riz Ahmed, which reminds me how much I love that HBO show "The Night Of"
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Nov 4, 2017

as well.

    • 1
Jun 19, 2017

Now, in terms of pros and cons of each program, you're going to be hard pressed to find someone who knows all three intimately enough to judge. I am familiar with NYU, A&M, and Clemson, and even I don't think I could give a fair and comprehensive Pro/Con for each.

You really have to put some thought into what, specifically, you want to do post-grad and where you want to do it.

If that is REPE in NYC, then NYU is the best. If that is development in Atlanta, then Clemson will 100% get you there. If that is "I want to be in Charlotte, but I'm not sure if I want to develop or do acquisitions" then UNC's MBA won't be beaten.

The good news is, you are doing this at the right time. I always approached MSRE programs like they were MBA programs and thought I needed 3-4 years experience beforehand, only to get into the program and realize I had about 2-3 years too much experience to really benefit as much as I could have.

    • 2
Jun 19, 2017

While the inbox thing gets resolved, I think most of my questions will be answered but would be great to keep on getting to know more of the program you said in inbox. That specific program in the inbox is my top program in consideration at the moment.

Questions in consideration to program:

-Cost is high, would you say it is worth it? Is the ROI after you graduate and what you get out of it worth it. Have seen they do case studies, trips, networking events, etc. But just want somebody that passed through it to give me their opinion.
-My top places to work after graduation would be truly: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia. In the inbox you basically told me that two of the markets are covered, would you say that even though it is not as common the outlier could be a possibility?
-How is the diversity in the school you went to, as well as the surrounding areas? Life has become to much of violence and I am a pretty peaceful, respectful and friendly guy so do not like people that only care for one group of people. With that said I am pretty conservative but not to what the world has become in being so isolated in differences when we are all the same people basically.
-How is the market and surrounding markets in consideration to jobs and growth?
-Lastly my focuses in real estate even if they are different areas are: Acquisitions, Capital Markets, Development. Would you say that the program you went to is a good all around program that prepares me for either of those three careers or no? Top 2 are Development, Capital Markets (truly tied do not have a preference).

Jun 19, 2017
MSRE-13:

-Cost is high, would you say it is worth it? Is the ROI after you graduate and what you get out of it worth it. Have seen they do case studies, trips, networking events, etc. But just want somebody that passed through it to give me their opinion.

It's all relative. Clemson MRED is far, far cheaper than UNC's MBA

MSRE-13:

-My top places to work after graduation would be truly: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia. In the inbox you basically told me that two of the markets are covered, would you say that even though it is not as common the outlier could be a possibility?

Anything is possible with proper networking and/or ties to the area. The others are just far more common.

MSRE-13:

-How is the diversity in the school you went to, as well as the surrounding areas? Life has become to much of violence and I am a pretty peaceful, respectful and friendly guy so do not like people that only care for one group of people. With that said I am pretty conservative but not to what the world has become in being so isolated in differences when we are all the same people basically.

I never ran into any issues. South Carolina is conservative, don't get me wrong, but most of the people you'll interact with at school and in the industry are pro-business Republicans, not hate-brown-people Trumpers. If you are "pretty conservative but not to what the world has become in being so isolated in differences when we are all the same people basically," you'll fit in well.

Now, that said, go 10 minutes outside of the city and you'll find lifted pickups with confederate flags everywhere who "roll coal" and all of that absurdity.

MSRE-13:

-How is the market and surrounding markets in consideration to jobs and growth?

Greenville is one of those cities that wins all of those "top 10 growing cities" "top 10 people moving there" "top 10 best cities for millennials" etc. awards.

MSRE-13:

-Lastly my focuses in real estate even if they are different areas are: Acquisitions, Capital Markets, Development. Would you say that the program you went to is a good all around program that prepares me for either of those three careers or no? Top 2 are Development, Capital Markets (truly tied do not have a preference).

At Clemson, you will definitely get a thorough development education and a solid acquisitions education but not much of a capital markets education.

    • 3
Jun 19, 2017

The question of when to go to grad school in real estate comes up a lot on this board. There are an array of opinions and difficult to determine which is path to pursue. I work with both undergraduate and graduate real estate students at the University of Southern California. The advice I give to our undergrads is to delay graduate school until they have gained a few years of full-time work experience. In real estate, a masters degree is typically used to leap ahead in your career or to make a pivot.

As you have just completed your bachelors, I say go work. As you have already demonstrated a strong interest in real estate (president of real estate club), you can make a compelling case to employers. If you know the basics of finance and can build a simple proforma, you can get a good entry level financial analyst job in real estate. Good places to start are with a commercial brokerage firm doing investment sales or with a real estate lender. I like either of these as starting places for real estate careers because you can get lots of exposure to a wide variety of deals and across a range of product types. From the exposure you will get from these positions, you will have additional insight to make a better informed decision about your next career move in real estate.

Good luck!

    • 2
Jun 19, 2017

Thanks for the advice @USCMRED. The reason I delayed my graduate studies till next year is because of that same reason, I want to have at least some experience in the commercial field.

Unfortunately I have applied to 50+ positions for entry level financial analyst jobs and even with my credentials I have not gotten the opportunity to work or even intern in any company. The ironic part of where I am (Florida market) is literally professionals from companies like Crossman&Company, Cushman&Wakefield, CBRE, Colliers have all told me the same thing which have been your credentials are great for an undergrad (have even been told that I am more well rounded than applicants that have applied) but I do not have the experience with Argus, Excel Modeling or the commercial field that they are looking for. Trust me I have tried and I know a lot of the big dogs in my market and can call them without any problems, invite them to lunch (which I have), talked to them. All become impressed but I still have not gotten an opportunity. This has been something that I have been trying for the last 8-10 months because I wanted to have something lined up in the commercial field to switch from residential before I finished school.

Maybe it is on the market I am at, meaning that maybe they are more stringent in getting under-experienced professionals but truly have not had even a glimpsed of an opportunity. And just to be clear I know how to do a simple pro-forma, know the different simple terminology in real estate (Cap rates, ROI, etc. (Know how to calculate them as well)). I will keep on looking because one cannot give up but what I have come across has been the same answer; do you masters.

Another thing is, I have seen case studies, studied investments, seen lease abstracts, etc (have not worked on them but have at least half the grasp of how it works) reason why I know sort of the paths I want to take. Either way, I appreciate the opinion.

Jun 20, 2017
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