The real estate program reviews on the blog, like this one, are outdated.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:

John Drachman is a recent graduate of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate Development.  John graciously provided his insights into the program. John is also the author of his own real estate blog, The Daily Drach, which provides daily updates and opinion on the commercial real estate market. I highly recommend you check it out.

What was your background in real estate prior to the USC program?
I was a commercial real estate broker with Grubb & Ellis in Newport Beach, CA specializing in representing Owners and users of office space in various lease/sale transactions

What other programs did you look at besides the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate Development and why did you choose USC over the other programs?
Outside of USC, I looked at both UCI & UCLA which had MBA programs with an emphasis in real estate as I wanted to stay in Southern California. I choose USC for a couple of reasons.

1. I felt the real estate alumni network was strongest at USC
2. I felt USC had the more established real estate program since it has been around since the mid 1980’s and provided me the ability to get an MBA and an MRED (Master in Real Estate Development) in the same time I would just receive an MBA at either UCLA or USC
3. I felt there would be more real estate focused students at USC and by doing the dual program, the curriculum would be more focused to real estate
4. I knew many friends and peers within the industry that went through the programs at USC and they all recommended it

Why did you choose to pursue the dual degree program rather than just the real estate program or the MBA program?
I felt the MRED degree would give me the specific real estate education I was looking for while the MBA would give me the broader business education which would help me later on in my career. It also would only take me an extra 9 months so I felt it was worth my time to do both if I was going to leave work to do one.

Are the professors primarily full-time or part-time? Do the part-time professors make themselves accessible outside the classroom?
One of the best parts of the real estate program at USC is that a majority of the professors are Adjunct faculty meaning they are current real estate professionals who take the time to teach one class. They make themselves available after class and I have found have been a great source to network with. They come from all over the industry and almost all are at the Executive level. Having a professional teach a course was inviable as real estate should not be very theory based.

Do you notice a variation of the material taught by different professors of the same course?
I did not notice a large variation at all.

What kind of opportunities does the program provide to students outside the classroom?
The program has an active student-run Graduate Real Estate Association which sets up monthly mixers with alumni and students, site visits to various development projects around Southern California, Brown Bag lunches where alumni come back to school to talk about their careers, and real estate trips to places such as San Fransisco and Las Vegas. The program also sponsors a weekly speaker series with prominent real estate professionals from all over the West Coast, a international development class with a trip to visit projects outside the United States, and every year gives students a week off from class to encourage them to attend the annual ULI national meeting.

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?
The programs career counseling does an excellent job of bringing many companies and professionals on campus to meet and interact with students. Every year the program puts on the countries largest Real Estate Industry night where over 80 companies come to campus to meet with students. The program’s hallmark is the support it receives from its alumni. This is the major benefit of the program from a career perspective as alumni will send in internship opportunities and job positions. I found alumni more then willing to go out of their way to meet with me and help direct me to various people that could help my career.

What are your future aspirations in real estate and how has this program helped you to get closer to your goals?
My future aspiration is to create a real estate investment firm focused on raising capital to acquire and manage industrial and multi-family assets throughout California and Arizona. The program has helped me move forward with goals in that I have already started my own company through the help of many of my teachers and alumni of the program. I also gained a much better overall understanding of real estate as I was required to take courses in design, entitlements, and finance which I had little previous exposure to. I feel it not only gave me the skills but also the broader network to successfully launch my company.

How many classes are required to complete the program?
I believe I completed 35 classes to complete both the MBA and MRED program. The dual degree is an excellent route to take but it requires a heavy class load for the 5 semesters you are in school.

Is there anything else about the program you think people should know? (resources, job boards, etc.)
I would suggest Students check out the program website and also attend an MRED information session that are held in the Fall to learn more about that program. I really loved my experience going to school there and feel my knowledge and network really expanded from the program.

Rate the various aspects of the program from 1-10, 10 being the best:
Professors: – 9.5
Curriculum: – 9
Career Counseling: – 9
Outside Opportunities: – 10
Overall Rating: – 9.5