The Real Value of a Graduate Real Estate Program

May 28, 2013 | Career

When I talk with college students and young real estate professionals, they often ask me about my experience at NYU Schack. They ask me about the professors, the classes, and how the program helped me land a job in real estate. They look at the program as a way to learn the business and jump-start their real estate career. However, they tend to miss what I think is the true value of an advanced degree in real estate.

Here’s what I see as the 3 most valuable aspects of getting an advanced degree in real estate:

1. You get to explore various aspects of the business that interest you. As a young person working in real estate, you typically focus on one aspect of the business. Maybe you’re in the acquisitions group of a multifamily REIT, an underwriter at a regional bank, or maybe you work in asset management for an investment firm. While all these positions give you great exposure to the business, your focus is typically limited to the work of the group. While in grad school you can explore your interests by taking classes in sustainable development, entrepreneurship, construction, or architecture. This provides a well-rounded understanding of the business and enables you to hone in on your true passions.

2. You get to be friends with other real estate professionals prior to thinking about doing business together. Real estate is a relationship-driven business. People want to do business with people they like, trust, and respect. Spending 18 months in a classroom together and countless hours at industry events and happy hours, you tend to make some strong friendships. These friendships will undoubtedly convert to business opportunities, potential joint-ventures, or future business partners.

3. The opportunity cost while you’re in school is extremely low. Do you have a crazy start-up idea? Are you passionate about real estate technology? When you’re in school full-time the opportunity cost to launching a business is low. Use your classmates, the professors, and all the other resources the school offers to vet out that idea. You don’t have much to lose.

For those of you considering an advanced degree in real estate, don’t just focus on what you’ll learn, consider the true value of the program.