The real estate program reviews on the blog, like this one, are outdated. Programs continue to evolve and improve so static reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. I recommend you reach out to current students and alums to get the latest insights into the program. I also recommend that you check out my post on the true value of a graduate real estate program.
Here is an archive of the past reviews that I completed on the site prior to shifting the focus of the content:
- NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate
- MIT Center for Real Estate
- Johns Hopkins Edward St. John Department of Real Estate
- Cornell University Johnson School Dual Degree MBA/MPS
- Georgetwon University MPS in Real Estate
- University of Maryland Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development
- University of Denver Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate
- University of Florida Masters in Real Estate Program
- USC Lusk Center for Real Estate
- Clemson University Master of Real Estate Development
- University of Wisconsin Graaskamp Center for Real Estate
- Auburn Masters in Real Estate Development
- Columbia Masters in Real Estate Development
Kyle Evans is a recent graduate of the Clemson University Master of Real Estate Development program and was nice enough to take some time out of his schedule to write a thorough review of the program. He currently works for a constructions firm, C.F. Evans Construction, that specializes in building multifamily and student housing projects throughout the Southeast.
What was your background in real estate prior to the program?
Prior to college I worked with a family construction company. While in college, I was an intern at a large master-planned community. After college, I was a management consultant for several years. Although not directly related to real estate, that experience has proven valuable because real estate certainly requires problem solving skills and thinking outside of the box.
What other programs did you look at besides Clemson’s Masters in Real Estate Development and why did you choose Clemson over the other programs?
The first decision was between the MRED or MBA degree. I felt that the consulting job enabled me to learn about operations, organization, and strategy – I wanted an experience that would allow me to build on that knowledge and focus specifically on real estate development. I also was looking for a program that would enable me to build competency in finance and investment analysis.
When choosing between real estate programs, I focused on geography: I wanted to live in the Southeast after graduate school, and Clemson’s MRED program is the only one of its kind in the region and has a strong alumni base there. It’s a two-year, joint degree program (a joint degree through the business and architecture school) that focuses exclusively on development, covering a broad set of disciplines and offering internship opportunities throughout the program. The program integrates a residential and commercial practicum so that outside of class, you’re working on putting together a development project. This hands-on experience outside of class, combined with a more traditional graduate classroom curriculum, was appealing to me.
Another unique aspect is the program’s size: only 20 students are admitted per class, so you grow very close to your classmates over two years and develop bonds that will last for a lifetime. It certainly is a team-oriented – more so than a competitive – graduate school atmosphere.
Are the professors primarily full-time or part-time? Do the part-time professors make themselves accessible outside the classroom?
Classes are taught by traditional university professors and experienced real estate developers. The university professors are full-time and always accessible. The real estate developers come to campus on more of a part-time basis; however, they make themselves available and easily accessible outside of the classroom.
Do you notice a variation of the material taught by different professors of the same course?
For the most part, the curriculum is well-coordinated such that there is little overlap. Different instructors of the same course offer diverse perspectives because they generally have diverse backgrounds.
What kind of opportunities does the program provide to students outside the classroom?
- The curriculum incorporates numerous site visits throughout several classes over the course of each semester.
- Maymester is a 12-day trip in the spring of the first year where students tour the South Carolina coast from Myrtle Beach to Charleston to Hilton Head Island. Students study over 40 resort, hotel, historic, mixed use, golf, master planned and new urbanist communities and meet over 100 development leaders.
- Weekly roundtables provide access to real estate executives who come to Clemson to address current happenings in the industry and various real estate topics.
- There are several trips to Charlotte, Atlanta, and Charleston for conferences, tours, and networking events.
- All students attend the weeklong Fall ULI Conference in addition to several additional ICSC, NAIOP, USGBC and other ULI conferences throughout the year.
- Second-year students may have opportunities to have a paid academic-year internship with local real estate-related private, public or nonprofit businesses.
- Commercial and residential practicum — two capstone classes pit MRED student teams against each other to prepare a detailed feasibility analysis and proposal for real development sites in conjunction with developers. Commercial sites have included an adaptive reuse in downtown Greenville, SC a 60-acre redevelopment area next to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and a 20-acre mixed use site in central Charlotte. Residential developments have included an 800-acre area in Charleston and a 125-acre development in Greenville, SC. Projects are found within the state or region working with the developer, including formal presentations to a professional judging committee.
How is the programs career counseling? Do they actively help students find summer internships and full-time positions? How willing are alumni in assisting current students?
Clemson’s Pennell Center for Real Estate Development Advancement Board includes executives from some very prominent, national and international real estate firms. Board members go out of their way to help students obtain internships and jobs, and they provide a wealth of career advice. In addition, the real estate developers who teach classes go out of their way to help students find internships and permanent placement.
The Clemson University MRED program has used an executive search firm that provides services such as business protocol counseling, resume review, contacts with firms, job hunting strategies and direct consultation with students during the offer and negotiation process.
The program also has a strong alumni group. Alumni are very willing to help current students find jobs and have recruited some students to work with them after graduation.
What are your future aspirations in real estate and how has this program helped you to get closer to your goals?
I’m currently working with a family construction business, and the program has certainly helped me educate my colleagues with regard to the development phase of real estate – i.e., those things that must happen well before construction estimating activities can even begin. Eventually, I would like to develop, and I think the program gave me a solid, well-rounded foundation with a strong set of underwriting skills toward that end.
How many classes are required to complete the program?
A student must complete either 54 or 60 credit hours, depending on whether or not he or she has a related undergraduate degree or course work. This generally works out to 19 – 22 courses (note: two nontraditional course requirements include the Maymester trip and the summer internship).
Rate the various aspects of the program from 1-10, 10 being the best:
Career Counseling: 7
Outside Opportunities: 9
Overall Rating: 8
If you have any questions about the program please post them in the comment section below.