UC San Diego Rady MBA Or Columbia MSRED ? Thoughts?

Hello WSO, a few words regarding my background I have a B.A and an LL.B. Certified as a lawyer and have been working in big law for a few years, specializing in real estate. I'm 27 years old so time is of the essence. I'm looking to transition out of the legal world and I'm really confused as to which degree to go after. My GMAT scores aren't good enough for a top 10 MBA and I only got accepted to the Rady full time MBA program in San Diego that starts this summer. I was basically set on doing the MBA until a colleague suggested I look into an M.S in real estate or real estate development. I looked into the programs offered at NYU, Columbia, Georgetown and Pepperdine. All these programs are in locations I would be very happy to be in and all said I would have a very good chance of being accepted with my current CV and GMAT. Basically it boils down to this question - Mid level school MBA or M.S from a top tier school? M.S means going all in on real estate. An MBA would offer a lot of flexibility. Ultimately my career goal is eventually start my own company and get in to real estate development. However who knows what can change down the line. The Columbia MS is appealing to me as it's an incredible brand name school and I would have access to an incredible alumni network. The fact that the MS is only one year compared to the two year MBA is also a consideration. However I'm concerned about the reputation of the MSRED degree in general and feel that maybe an MBA is a safer bet.

Would love to get your thoughts.

Comments (10)

May 3, 2019

What efforts have you made to transition to development so far? If you've spent a few years in law focussing on real estate, my guess is you can transition to development now without getting the degree. Every developer needs a good lawyer, and I would assume having an employee with experience in big law would be hugely helpful. If 'time is of the essence' I'd say go for it now. Real Estate is one of those fields where you don't always need a degree, and you've already got two, why wait two more years and spend $100k+ unless you absolutely have to?

To your question - a MSRE or MRED is obviously going to be real estate oriented so hopefully if you choose that path, you're set on taking your career that route.

Rady is a decent MBA program (fairly new isn't it?) but like you mentioned definitely isn't T10 or even T20 so I assume you're from or want to spend most of your career in the southern CA/San Diego area.

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May 3, 2019

Try to do in-house legal for a smaller developer this way you can leverage your legal degree while still getting to work on development pieces.

May 3, 2019

USD does offer a MS in RE. I think MBA from UCSD is more bio/pharma/healthcare focused.

No pain no game.

May 5, 2019

Wondering if an MBA from a mid tier school would offer more long term value than an MSRED from NYU or maybe even Columbia.

May 5, 2019

I would say an MSRE/MSRED from one of the better programs is a better bet than a mid tier MBA if you're 100% certain you want to work in real estate. The downside is that an MSRE is completely worthless outside of real estate, whereas the MBA gives you a lot more flexibility to do something else.

The best bet is probably a top MBA that places well in real estate but not everyone is smart enough to get into Wharton.

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May 6, 2019

Could not have said it better

May 8, 2019

I've worked on a few JV development deals in NYC, and the developers have always spoken highly of the Columbia program. Given that most developers live in the Upper Westside around the campus they know the professors and are all connected. I'm not sure the San Diego program has that kind of cachet.

Most Helpful
May 13, 2019

100% go to the best MRED/MSRED you can. Mid level MBA 1) won't have real estate firms coming to hire, and 2) will struggle to place students in good RE jobs vs. top MBA programs. Caveat with going back to school is you'll probably start as a Senior Analyst or Associate, and it will be critical for you to work your ass off to learn real estate financial modeling before you graduate, and most firms will have a case study as part of the interview.

May 13, 2019


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May 15, 2019