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Top 5 Schools for an MBA in Real Estate

Business schools real estate

The number of MBA students who pursue careers in real estate may be small, but even still, some of the most prestigious business schools in the United States offer exceptional programs that specialize in the field.

An MBA in real estate can be earned as a certification, focus, major, or other in other variations. To help guide you through the premier options, we’ve put together a breakdown of the best of the best.

The Top Schools for an MBA in Real Estate.

Honorable Mentions

Stern School of Business – New York University

The NYU Stern School of Business offers a real estate specialization to its full-time MBA students. According to the school, the specialization:

“Provides rigorous training in the development, investment, and financing of real estate projects. Students learn to think strategically about the workings of real estate primary and secondary markets by understanding the roles of various market participants as well as the legal, taxation, and regulatory environment that these markets present.”

The school is also home to the Center for Real Estate Finance. Established in 2012, the center helped improve and expand NYU Stern’s course offerings and career services for MBAs and undergraduates alike. Real estate specialization coursework at Stern includes classes such as:

  • Real Estate Development and Entrepreneurship
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Real Estate Investment Strategies
  • Urban Systems

McDonough School of Business – Georgetown University

Like NYU Stern, McDonough School of Business MBA program also features a specialization in real estate. However, what really makes the specialization stand out is the Steers Center for Global Estate. According to the McDonough website, The Steers Center for Global Real Estate offers:

“Unparalleled access to the real estate industry at a global level. Our multi-faceted approach harnesses the best of Georgetown University and the Washington, D.C. real estate market to provide you with the hands-on experience, high-level expertise and business networks that take you wherever you want to go.”

The McDonough real estate MBA curriculum offers courses in four different real estate quadrants coupled with up to four modules—a total of eight courses in the subject. This coursework includes:

  • Real Estate Clinic
  • Real Estate Public Equity
  • Real Estate Private Equity
  • Real Estate Public Debt
  • Real Estate Private Debt

Top 5 Schools for an MBA in Real Estate

5. Kellogg School of Management – Northwestern University

Originally founded in 1908 as the Northwestern University School of Commerce part-time evening program, the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management was a founding member of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. Today, the school is ranked among the top graduate business school’s in the world. Kellogg offers full-time, part-time, Accelerated, and Executive MBA programs.

The Kellogg School of Management offers a real estate pathway program with a two stage curriculum:

  • Foundation: Students gain foundational knowledge and develop tools critical to the analysis of real estate transactions.
  • Depth: Students specialize on specific institutions of the market and the interaction of real estate markets with urban planning, development, entrepreneurship, public policy, and law.

The real estate pathway is not only for full-time MBAs, though. Evening and weekend students interested in this pathway should take Finance 1 or it’s prerequisite, if necessary, during your first quarter at Kellogg, rather than taking accounting.

4. Haas School of Business – UC Berkeley

Founded in 1898, The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley is the oldest business school at a public institution in the United States. Today, Haas offers a full-time, traditional MBA, in addition to the Executive MBA, and part-time MBA.

Berkeley MBA students can earn a Certificate in Real Estate. To earn a certificate, students must complete at least three real estate focused electives within the Haas School and two from any of the other colleges of the University of California at Berkeley. Berkeley schools offering additional real estate coursework include:

  • Berkeley Law School
  • City and Regional Planning Department
  • Center for Environmental Design
  • Goldman School of Public Policy

3. The Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1881, the Wharton School was the first dedicated school of business at the college level in the United States. Today, the school enrolls 1,788 total students in its MBA program and 436 students in the MBA Program for Executives.

Wharton offers a real estate major for MBA students consisting of two required credit units and three electives. The two required courses are real estate development and finance. Other electives include:

  • Real estate economics
  • Urban fiscal policy
  • Real estate law
  • Housing markets
  • International real estate markets.

Wharton is also home to the Samuel Zell & Robert Lurie Real Estate Center. Each year the center sponsors conferences, seminars, and special programs for real estate students and faculty at Wharton.

2. Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School (CBS), part of Columbia University, was founded in 1916 thanks in part to a gift from then sitting president of Chase Manhattan Bank. The school began awarding the MBA degree in 1945 and became a graduate-only program in 1952.

Columbia offers a real estate focus to its MBA programs. According to the school:

“The MBA Real Estate Program emphasizes an interdisciplinary blend of theory and practice, providing students with not only solid real estate fundamentals, but also critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and both written and oral communication skills.”

For additional resources, Columbia real estate MBAs can always rely on the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate for students and faculty alike, including guest speakers and panelists.

1. Anderson School of Management – UCLA

Founded as the College of Business Administration in 1935, the UCLA Anderson School of Management initially taught vocational business skills, such as typing, shorthand, and penmanship, to people who would be teaching others. Today, the school offers a full-time, two year MBA program, as well as a part-time, Executive, and Global Executive MBA programs.

UCLA Anderson offers a concentration in real estate, which is integrated into the school’s general MBA curriculum. Real estate coursework is created through the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, which includes classes like:

  • Real Estate Securitization
  • Advanced Cases in Real Estate Entrepreneurship
  • Recognizing and Resolving Legal Issues in Real Estate Businesses

According to the school, MBAs pursuing this concentration are also encouraged to take courses in taxation and law, as well as classes in related departments at UCLA, such as Urban Planning, Public Policy, Architecture, and Civil Engineering.

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About the Author

Max Pulcini

Staff Writer, covering MetroMBA's news beat for Chicago, Washington D.C., and Baltimore.

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