The real estate program reviews on the blog, like this one, are outdated.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
I am currently wrapping up my first semester of study at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. I enjoyed both the program and the courses I took. All in all it was a great semester; I learned a lot, heard a ton of interesting speakers, and met some really cool people.
However, 8 months ago, when deciding which real estate program to apply to, I realized there was very little information available to help students make an educated decision. I’ve decided to reach out to students in other programs and administer a series of interviews about their respective programs. First, I am going to personally review my experience as a student at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate.
What was your background in real estate prior to the program?
Prior to the program I had very little practical experience in real estate. I graduated from Tufts University in May 2008, and aside from a few internships and a strong passion for real estate, I was a relative beginner. Throughout my senior year I ruthlessly networked and pursued opportunities in real estate, however given the slow economy, opportunities were few and far between. I was able to procure a few interviews, yet each interviewer shared the same sentiment, although they liked my passion and enthusiasm, I lacked the experience necessary for the role. Determined to begin my career in real estate, I decided to pursue a graduate degree.
What other programs did you look at besides NYU and why did you choose NYU over the other programs?
In pursuing a masters in real estate I considered both NYU and Columbia. I desperately wanted to be in New York City, and these were the two premier programs. Upon further research I realized Columbia’s program was a great program because it focused on development, exactly what I was interested in. However, they did not accept students right out of college with little real-world experience. That left me with the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. Knowing that with my lack of experience it would be difficult to get accepted, I wrote passionately about my future aspirations in real estate and I got my past boss to write a recommendation. To my surprise, I was accepted into the program.
Are the professors primarily full-time or part-time? Do the part-time professors make themselves accessible outside the classroom?
The professors are mainly part-time teachers, who work in the field full-time. I like this because the professors usually have a better beat on the market. The professors do a great job of making themselves available. For example, my real estate accounting professor encourages us to call whenever we have questions. I’ve done this multiple times and although he isn’t always free at the moment, he makes an effort to call you back. My real estate finance professor holds a conference call every Sunday night where he answers any questions we may have regarding the homework. Lastly, my real estate legal principals professor films each class and makes the video available online. I can watch old classes on my iPhone as I’m on the subway. Students also have an open invitation to stop by his office anytime. Next week, for our final class, he provides dinner in the boardroom of his prominent Manhattan law firm.
Do you notice a variation of the material taught by different professors of the same course?
Having spoken with many other students, this is one of the problems that I’ve noticed with the program. Since a majority of the professors are part-time, there are many different professionals teaching the same course. My real estate finance course, for example, is taught entirely using Microsoft Excel. Each week my homework is in excel and both the midterm and final are in excel. I’ve been told that the same course taught by other professors is taught entirely using the HP12-C calculator and that exams are multiple choice. I’m not saying that one teaching method is better than the other, but I dislike the disparity.
What kind of opportunities does the program provide to students outside the classroom?
I find that the real value of this program lies with all the opportunities outside the classroom. Being in New York City, the heart of the world’s most closely watched real estate market, there are tons of speakers and events. There are countless opportunities including a speaker series, breakfast programs, lectures, and panel discussions to name a few. Just in the past couple of weeks I attended the NYU REIT Symposium, an all-day event at the Pierre Hotel which included such speakers as Sam Zell (Founder Equity Group Investments), Steven Roth (Vornado CEO), and William Mack (Founder AREA Properties), I went to a talk on the state of the capital markets given by Real Capital Analytics founder Robert White, and I went to career information series on asset management. There are at least 3 or 4 talks per week. In addition to the speakers, I’ve gone on building tours of the New York Times Building and 1 Bryant Park (Bank of America Building), I’ve gone on a Brooklyn Navy Yard tour, and I’ve had the opportunity to audit courses outside my program for free. I can’t imagine working full-time while taking classes (as many students do) because I would miss out on so many great opportunities.
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?
This is one area where I think the program is seriously lacking. With such an extensive network of graduates in NYC real estate you would think that they would have some sort of social network set up. However, at the moment, the program does not have any sort of alumni network. The best thing I’ve found is a NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate Student Association LinkedIn group. The group has 128 members and no activity. I hope the program takes the initiative to establish some sort of alumni network becuase it would be beneficial to both current students and alumni. They do have a job board exclusively for NYU Real Estate Institute students, however given the economy, there has been little activity.
I aspire to launch my own real estate investment firm one day. I think a graduate degree in real estate is vital for someone with my aspiration because it exposes you to all facets of the real estate world. As an entrepreneur you have to wear many different hats and have a working knowledge of finance, legal aspects, and accounting are all imperative. Furthermore, the relationships and connections I’m establishing with students and professors will no doubt come into play in the future. I believe this is one of many steps I will need to take to achieve my goals.
Career Counseling: 3