The real estate program reviews on the blog, like this one, are outdated.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

Nathan Frederick is a graduate student at Cornell University pursuing a dual degree MBA/MPS in Real Estate. He was gracious enough to add some thoughtful insight into the program and why he choose to pursue the dual degree.

What was your background in real estate prior to the Cornell MBA/MPS in Real Estate program?

My background was somewhat limited prior to Cornell. I worked for nearly 18 months pursuing investment opportunities for a small RE firm in Utah. Previous to my work I had played with the idea of pursuing a JD or an MBA and working in RE law or investments. After doing research I discovered masters programs dedicated to RE and knew that that was the path I wanted to pursue.

What other programs did you look at besides Cornell and why did you choose Cornell over the other programs?

I looked at Cornell, MIT, Columbia and USC for a pure RE program but I also looked at Penn and Texas on the MBA side.

I chose Cornell because it offered the interdisciplinary opportunity to take classes in 7 other schools including the Hotel School, The MBA school, the Law School, the School of architecture and so on. Additionally, I really liked the two-year structure which provided me, and inexperience person in the field of RE, the opportunity to do a internship and obtain actual experience that would guide me in employment decisions. The network and RE board involved with Cornell was amazing. I believe it is the largest network of RE professionals in the country.

Why did you choose to pursue the dual degree program rather than just the real estate program or the MBA program?

This is a great question. To be completely honest… marketability. That is really the only reason I pursued the dual (and the fact that I could complete both in two years through the accelerated MBA program offered through Johnson – I would not have pursued the dual if it had been three years). For some reason (employer ignorance) the MPS/RE degree does not carry the brand power a MBA does. Many top companies that are unfamiliar with MPS programs seem to filter candidates that do not have the MBA acronym. Although MPS/RE candidates are much more prepared and familiar with the RE industry, companies blindly hired MBA’s. Thus, I felt the dual would provide me greater opportunities.

Are the professors primarily full-time or part-time? Do the part-time professors make themselves accessible outside the classroom?

The great thing about the Program in RE at Cornell is the chance to take classes from a multiple of disciplines. With that said, the Program in RE does not have a large staff in and of itself. Instead, programs like the MBA and Hotel school bring on experienced, full-time faculty with whom we interact. They are very accessible outside of class time and have, on many occasions, offered me advise on career paths and class options. A few of the great professors are in the Hotel School: Jack Corgell, Dan Quan, Jan DeRoss, and many other top notch RE focused professors. Additionally, since many MPS/RE students take so many classes at the Hotel school a new wing dedicated solely to RE is currently under development.

Do you notice a variation of the material taught by different professors of the same course?

I have not taken the same class by different professors and so I cannot answer this question. I will say that the professors focus their personal research in different aspects of the RE industry and so I would imagine that if the same class was taught by different professors they would emphasize that subject which they researched.

What kind of opportunities does the program provide to students outside the classroom?

The program has an annual RE conference. Each year the location switches between NYC and Ithaca. This event has been the single greatest networking opportunity for me. At these conferences, exclusive to MPS/RE students, there is a ratio of 3-1 top executives to students. Moreover, the program has smaller divisional events that invite local professionals to discuss current issues. The RE council is also a huge tool students are able to use to receive advise and reach out for employment opportunities. Finally, we attend ULI conferences.

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?

They do ok. If a student is having difficulty finding an internship or a job then the program administrators make phone calls and send emails on behalf of students. In particular, this has helped many 1st years obtain internships this summer as the market is extremely small. I would say on average 25% – 40% of jobs/internships are obtained through administrative assistance, ie connecting students with the right person.

Cornell is known for its fantastic alumni. They are very willing to help out in any way that they can. In fact, Cornell Alumni will help any Cornelian no matter what school they attended. Even if they were only undergrads and did master studies else where they are still very willing to help.

What are your future aspirations in real estate and how has this program helped you to get closer to your goals?

My aspirations are to own my own RE investment firm. I want to create a framework where I am able to oversee investment opportunities whether they be ground up development or acquisitions.

I believe Cornell has enlightened me to a new level of sophistication involved in the RE process. The classes that I have been able to take have been great. I would recommend any prospective student to look at the core curriculum and the available elective classes in the other Cornell programs. The credibility this degree will provide me will enable me to fulfill my aspirations mentioned above.

Is there anything else about the program you think people should know?

With everything there are so many great things about the program but there are a few things that are continually improving. Talk to current students and get the goods and bads.

Rate the various aspects of the program from 1-10, 10 being the best:
Professors: 10
Curriculum: 9
Career Counseling: 6
Outside Opportunities: 9
Overall Rating: 9