No Experience in Real Estate MSRE or MBA RE Concentration


I've always had an interest in Real Estate both from a research perspective and a development perspective. I am looking to transition careers. Currently work in City Planning/operations research for the city of NY. I am currently studying for my GRE and have been torn between MSRE or an MBA with an RE concentration. Being that i've never worked at a brokerage or a BB in PE. What do you all think I should do? I also come from a public sector background so i'm thinking i'm already at a disadvantage. This is just something i'm genuinely interested in and would like some feedback on. PLEASE HELP

--This Chimp needs help .. And probably more

Comments (12)

Best Response
Jul 5, 2016

Hey Options

I'm also looking into whether or not to do an MBA with a RE focus or a MSRE - at the end of the day I recon you need to define a few things first like:

  1. Do you want to focus on RE Dev or Finance?
  2. Are you looking to do it part time/full time and are you willing to relocate?
  3. How much cash do you have/willing to spend?

Another helpful hint I received is to find out what job I want and then go onto linkedin to find people who have that job and what degree's they have (or try contact them directly).

I've tried to be as specific as possible when choosing which route to take because the more questions you're able to answer the more you limit your options and hone in on which course is best suited for you.

    • 3
Aug 16, 2016

Thanks i've already started looking for people on Linkedin, really good strategy!

I really need to iron these 3 questions out and focus on what I want to do. I guess i'm i'm a bit concerned about job prospects. I'm looking at CUNY Baruch MSRE and NYU Shack.. I havent heard anybody talk about Baruch's RE program here in nyc and i've gotten mixed reviews from NYU's MSRE.. Would you have any insight? @SilverBullet17

Jul 5, 2016

Silver Bullet's post is great and he gets a Silver Banana for it.

I would also add that you are not at a disadvantage. Your city planning background gives you both alternative insight into the development process and a "public sector to private sector" story.

What you do need though, before you start the job hunt for real, is a solid internship. You need to have at least SOME experience doing what you want to do or else you'll struggle to find a good full time position. So, I would only look for schools/programs that would allow to you intern part time throughout the year or full time over the summer.

There are those accelerated 1 year tracks out there, and while you could probably get it, those aren't the best for you. You're going to want to look at part time programs so you can intern during the year or a 1.5-2 year program that has a summer internship component.

Aug 15, 2016

Thank you! I'm looking at Part time programs mainly because I don't want to give up making money while going to school. I guess i'm just concerned about Job oppotunities as most schools that I have done general research on don't post any career stats.

I think from an MSRE perspective i am looking at NYU's Shack or Baruch (Cuny) MSRE Program -- 2 schools in NYC. If I score high enough on the GRE i'd consider the MBA route at Stern.

What are your thoughts on career stats, and also the schools I listed?

Jul 20, 2016

I second the previous posters. Internships, especially without prior work/academic experience in the specified field, are your 'foot in the door' opportunity.

I was dealing with the same MBA vs MSc decision a little while ago. There are so many moving parts to finding the good combination - your desired job/career path, the school's curriculum, networking opportunities, industry events and so on. And of course, you want the name of the institution to resonate out in its full glory when you start applying for a full-time position.

From your point of view, a MSRE may make the most sense, as it will equip you (primarily) with the industry-specific knowledge, concepts and skills. In order to make the most of your MBA studies (and hence to avoid just going for the credentials), you should already possess relevant experience and be able to leverage it in class.

Jul 21, 2016

Hey there,

I actually faced this same decision a few years ago, and ended up going the MSRE route. I'd recommend taking a look at Josh Kahr's recent blog post about this where he sums it up pretty nicely. I can't post links but just google "josh kahr mba vs msre" and it should be the top result.

Coming from an architecture background, I had a strong interest in the building/development as a physical asset in addition to the finance behind it, so an MSRE program (in my case one that was housed in the graduate school of architecture) made sense to me. Just to give you an idea, my particular class had about 100 students, and ~40% of them had non-RE related backgrounds (architects, planners, lawyers, engineers, historians). I don't think your public sector background is a disadvantage at all in the context of an MSRE program.

Hopefully that helps a little and best of luck!

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Aug 16, 2016

@JohnRE Thanks! I will definitely do a quick google search of that article.

Are you familiar with CUNY Baruch or NYU's Shack institute of RE? What can you tell me or recommend? I think i'd like to stay in NYC.

Jul 5, 2019

Insightful article! Thank you!

Aug 15, 2016

If you're interested in staying in NYC (and working in real estate), I would see if you can lateral into the planning/development services department while you're planning your next move. Building relationships with the folks who run the development desk in NYC will make you extremely valuable to a developer when you make the jump. It will also give you the pre-grad school experience you need to understand the process from the public sector vantage point. Jumping into RE without prior experience is tough but can be done--you need to realize that it's not a business that is determined by a CBS MBA but rather experience and networking (coupled with intellect). Some ideas for you: 1) do the best you can on the GMAT and then 2) evaluate your realistic options for school while ideally 3) working in the city development review dept. (or another real estate related opportunity). MSRED/MSRE programs are usually younger folks with little no no experience whereas MBA programs are for those with 4-6 years of work experience. Starting from bottom post MBA at the analyst level may not be something you're interested in doing but a requirement at many shops. Others will put you into an associate position. Regardless, I would advise you thoroughly research/contact grads of the programs you have a shot at and then pick your lowest cost option that will not sacrifice your chances at working at a good shop.

Aug 16, 2016

@cpgame Thanks! Would you recommend the MSRE (being that you said its for people with little to no experience, younger group) vs the MBA Option?

Aug 17, 2016

MSRED/MSRE programs are usually younger folks with little no no experience whereas MBA programs are for those with 4-6 years of work experience.

This is not quite true. The better MSRED/MSRE programs require real estate work experience. Both MIT and USC students average 6 years in real estate post-bachelors.

Aug 17, 2016