Finding A Real Estate Career with a Chicago MBA

Real Estate Career

The number of MBAs who pursue a real estate career may not be as large as those in finance or consulting, but even still, some of the most prestigious business schools in the Chicago metro offer MBA programs that specialize in the field.

An MBA in real estate can take many forms: It can be a focus or a concentration, or it can be a certification or a major. Other schools may offer excellent resources to MBA students focusing on real estate at state of the art learning centers. No matter the particular offering, here is our breakdown of the best of the best real estate MBAs in Chicago.

University of Illinois – Gies College of Business

The Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois offers various focus areas to their MBA students, one being a focus in real estate. Students following this track enroll in courses emphasizing analytical techniques for evaluating potential investments in real estate. Many courses emphasis teaching the inner workings of commercial real estate.

Students graduating with an MBA in this track have been hired to both entry-level and advanced positions and jobs. Gies students have been hired as analysts for real estate investment trusts, real estate investment divisions of major insurance companies, real estate valuation divisions of major accounting firms, and major international real estate sales and development firms such as CBRE, Colliers International, and Jones Lang LaSalle.

Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University offers a Real Estate Pathway for students hoping to enter the field. According to the program website, it was “designed to capture the importance and impact of real estate as an asset class in the global economy.”

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The Northwestern Kellogg Real Estate Pathway was “designed to capture the importance and impact of real estate as an asset class in the global economy.”

The curriculum is structured in two stages: a foundational stage and a depth stage. The foundational stage helps students develop the tools necessary to analyze real estate transactions and markets. The depth stage takes deeper dives into the specific institutions of the real estate market and how it interacts with urban planning, development, entrepreneurship, public policy, and law.

Kellstadt Graduate School of Business

DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business offers a special MBA in Real Estate Finance and Investment​ to prospective students hoping to start a real estate career. The program is offered as a full-time Day MBA for early-career professionals or career changers, or as an Evening MBA for established professionals in need of flexibility.

The curriculum has been designed for students with a career interest in management and operations, finance and transactions, urban planning, market analysis, and decision support. Classes are taught by a faculty with more than 120 years of collective experience in the real estate industry. According to the school, the median reported salary of recent real estate MBA program graduates was $70,000.

Liautaud Graduate School of Business

The UIC Liautaud Graduate School of Business Real Estate MBA concentration combines coursework in economics, finance, and urban planning to provide MBAs with a full perspective of real estate. The curriculum has a strong focus on urban real estate markets, and uses metropolitan Chicago as a working laboratory. Several courses include Real Estate Finance, Urban Real Estate and Land Economics, Urban Economics, and Investments.

Mendoza College of Business

The Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame offers MBA students real estate coursework through the Opus Real Estate Program, which is made possible through the Opus Foundation. Graduate coursework includes electives such as Real Estate Development Process, Real Estate Fundamentals, and Real Estate Valuation and Income Property Investment.

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MBA students at the Mendoza College of Business have a lengthy list of valuable resources at their disposal through the Opus Real Estate program.

Students that are part of the Opus Real Estate program have access to an extensive alumni network. Graduates have accepting positions as REIT analysts, vice presidents, and acquisition directors at top firms across the nation, including: Exeter Property Group, Harrison Street Partners, Equity International, Green Court Partners, Great Lakes Capital, and Holladay Properties.

Chicago Booth

The top-ranked Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago does not have a specialized real estate program for MBAs, but it does have resources available for students pursuing a career in that field. The Booth Real Estate Group is a student group led by full-time MBAs, which, according to the club’s webpage, “offers many benefits for those serious about a real estate career and those simply interested in learning more and meeting new people.”

You can find contact information for the group here.


About the Author

Max Pulcini

Max Pulcini is a Philadelphia-based writer and reporter. He has an affinity for Philly sports teams, Super Smash Bros. and cured meats and cheeses. Max has written for Philadelphia-based publications such as Spirit News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Billy Penn, as well as national news outlets like The Daily Beast.

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