The real estate program reviews on the blog, like this one, are outdated.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

I want to thank Alex Livadas, a 1st year student in the University of Wisconsin’s Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, who graciously took the time to review the program. The Graaskamp Center for Real Estate is one of the strongest MBA programs with a focus in real estate. It seems like a great program with a unique international focus and strong alumni base.  Here’s what Alex had to say:
What was your background in real estate prior to the Graaskamp Center for Real Estate program?

I worked in real estate consulting at The Weitzman Group in New York City for 2 ½ years performing feasibility, marketability, and market studies as well as appraisals for several different property types. I also took Real Estate Finance courses as an undergraduate at the Hotel School at Cornell.

What other programs did you look at besides the University of Wisconsin and why did you choose UW over the other programs?

I also looked at Cornell, Columbia, and NYU. The Graaskamp Center was the best fit for my career ambitions where I am looking to work in acquisitions and/or development and not necessarily committed to returning to New York City. It seemed to offer the best balance of finance and development courses along with a large and loyal network of alumni around the country (not just centered in NYC). Two other aspects that appealed to me were the international focus and the Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT). Every year, students take an international real estate seminar and first year students attend the MIPIM conference in Cannes, while second year students choose an international location to visit (Brazil and China were past trips). Also, the AREIT track allows a small group of students to manage an active portfolio of REITs (~$1 M) which offers great investment management experience and exposure to capital markets.

Why did you choose an MBA with a focus in real estate rather than a masters in real estate program?

To be honest, this didn’t play into my decision because I essentially have an undergraduate business degree. Some students in my class were drawn to the more balanced business education with a specialization in real estate, but I was personally just focused on the real estate aspect of the program.

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

They are about half and half and the part-time professors are very accessible outside the classroom.

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

We have class trips throughout the year. This year we have had two class trips to Chicago for conferences, two trips to Oconomowoc to tour a new Aurora Medical Center prior to opening and a new 1,500 acre multi-use development prior to opening, a trip to both Los Angeles and Washington, DC that offered a 3-day tour of major real estate projects in each respective market, and a weeklong trip to the MIPIM international real estate conference in Cannes, France.

The program also encourages students to participate in case competitions, including the UT and UNC development competitions and the ULI Design & Development competition.

How is the program’s career counseling? Do they actively help students find summer internships and full-time positions? How willing are alumni in assisting current students?

The program does a good job with career counseling by offering resume critiques, mock interviews, guidance, etc. and alumni are very willing to assist students in their search and in giving advice. We also have alumni mentors who are helpful throughout the job search, offering career advice, and introducing us to different people in the field. Obviously with the tough real estate job market today, it’s difficult to gauge how effective the overall career counseling would be under normal circumstances, but it seems to be effective under the circumstances.

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

I ultimately want to run my own RE investment firm. The program has helped me with a strong focus in the classroom on real world applicability, the current state of the RE property and capital markets, and opportunities to look for once we’re out of school. We’ve also had a number of opportunities to tour developments throughout the country, speak with professionals in all specialties in RE, and attend conferences to stay active and up-to-date with what’s going on in the market.

Within the MBA program, how many classes are purely real estate-specific?

About 60% of classes are real estate-specific. The first year is focused more on general business courses with a few real estate courses while the second year is focused almost entirely on real estate courses.

Is there anything else about the program you think people should know? (resources, job boards, etc.)

There are only 17 students per real estate class, which allows you to get to know everyone really well and creates a great learning environment. My classmates also provide a broad range of experiences from design, development, finance, planning, etc and the professors do a great job tying in their outside work and research into the classroom, which gives a unique perspective on different real estate topics. All in all, my first year has been a great experience and I’d highly recommend it.

Rate the various aspects of the program from 1-10, 10 being the best:
Professors: 9
Curriculum: 9
Career Counseling: 8
Outside Opportunities: 10
Overall Rating: 9

Post any questions you have in the comment section below and I’ll have Alex get back to you.