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Thread: Real Estate and Planning Programs

  1. #1
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    Real Estate and Planning Programs

    I've been lurking on these boards for a while, and have found everyone so helpful...so I thought I'd throw my own situation in here and see if anyone had any advice.

    I graduated from NYU with an undergrad degree in comparative literature two years ago, and realized I was a lot more interested in urban development issues than in the critical theory of literature. (I also realized I wanted to make a living!) After an internship on Capitol Hill, I was introduced to a DC area real estate developer who I convinced to take me on as his catch-all assistant. I've spent a year here doing project management on transit oriented mixed use development, including public/private partnership work, market research, and pretty much everything that gets thrown my way. Obviously, based on my education, everything related to zoning, real estate finance, and development in general I've learned on the job, not in school. (My boss has been kind enough to pay for two weeks of valuation classes at the Appraisal Institute.) However, if I want to have any kind of career path beyond my current job, I need to further my education.

    Anyway, Penn's program with the real estate design & development certificate at Wharton I find really fascinating given my interests and experience. I am concerned about getting in, however, as my undergrad grades are anything but extraordinary - I suffered from clinical depression through most of college and just getting by was an accomplishment. As I have actual development experience and am capable of good essays and GRE scores, will this be looked upon as mitigating my GPA? I'm also planning on taking Urban & Regional Economics and another class or two at a George Washington before applying to demonstrate my academic capabilities.

    Also, does anyone have other programs with a real estate focus that they'd recommend? Penn's program sounds ideal, except for the getting in factor (so does MIT's-sigh)......and of course paying for the damn thing...

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well....

    I've made my thoughts well known in many other threads about spending $45,000 per year for a planning education, let alone a literature education at NYU .....I'll let you find them.....ignore all of the above, if you can get a full ride......go for it
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  3. #3
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    All the state schools have minimum GPA requirements which has kind of scared me away. Are they at all flexible on those - because UNC, UIC also look really interesting to me - I kind of need to be in a metropolitan area, (well, part of that is personal preference) but my boyfriend, whom I live with, needs to be able to find employment in his field, too...

    I'm not saying private school is better than public school in the least, but I did have some amazing internships in college that I know I never would have gotten had I not been in New York City and been able to utilize NYU's career placement office. (in defense of my overpriced undergraduate education.)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yes....

    I think you'll find State schools more than willing to admit an NYU grad All you have to do is meet with the department chair and talk literature for a while and WHAM, your in before you know it And NO, I'm not kidding about this...I'm certain this tactic will work.

    Now all you have to do is go to:

    The University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center for Urban and Regional Planning

    shameless plug
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  5. #5
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    I did comparative literature because originally I wanted to work in publishing...then after a few internships realized that if I did work in publishing, all I'd be working on would be cookbooks, diet books, and self help because that's what sells and thus are what companies want to publish.

    Funny, when I tell people I went to NYU the first response is usually "Did you meet the Olsen twins?"

  6. #6
    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    Is your GPA above a 3.0?
    Where do you want to live after graduation?

    I would strongly recommend getting a real estate degree over a planning degree, even one which offers course work in real estate. They will NOT be the same. And many real estate degrees are only a year long, whereas 2 years is standard for planning. That said, you already have a connection(s) in the development community, which is/are hard to get without some help/luck/etc. I’m headed to University of Denver in the fall for an MS in Real Estate Development, which I think will be perfect for me. I planned to head back east for school, but I decided to stay here instead. PM/email me if you want to talk ‘bout it. Your GPA will probably be mitigated at least somewhat by the fact that you already work for a developer.

    If you go to GWU, swing by School without Walls on G St. between 21st and 22nd. That’s my high school.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cal_Planner's avatar
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    I just graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in City Planning. I took a few courses from the Business school and found the real estate program to be supportive and intellectually rewarding. There is not a formal relationship between the two programs (yet!) but you'll find the professors from both programs are very receptive to students from other disciplines.

    Good Luck!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    So were you thinking of doing a degree in planning and certificate in real estate, or just the real estate?

    What are your career goals? Do you want to stay in the RE development side of things or are interested in expanding your horizons? If staying in RED would you be with the current developer or do you eventually want to strike out on your own?

    A degree in planning would be useful if you want to learn about planning concepts, theories, history, and methods. What you do with that knowledge is up to you, but you probably don't need that body of knowledge to continue doing what you do now unless you are thinking about incorporating more innovative construction, but this tends to be the archs and designers with parameters as set out by the owner (or perhaps you?). I don't see many in the RED taking this task on though. I find that market studies rather than design studies drive the product. I don't find many practicing planners incorporating what they learn in school into the profession.

    If you wanted to stay in RED and not really interested in rocking the boat or the status quo, go for the RE certificate on its own. Any particular reason why you want to go back to school and not learn anymore from your boss?

    If you want to strike out on your own think of also taking general business courses so you can get a feel of what you need to look out for when you establish yourself.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    don't look to far afield--John's Hopkins has an excellent real estate masters program housed right in D.C.

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