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Thread: Graduate real estate development programs

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Graduate real estate development programs

    I'm looking for a list of the top-rated graduate real estate programs in the United States. They have a similar one for urban planning from Planetizen. Is there one for real estate?

    Alternatively, does anyone have any information or thoughts about real estate programs from schools such as Harvard, MIT, Columbia, NYU and so on? It would be really helpful if anyone could provide any feedback from their experiences or just anything you've heard would be super useful....!!!

    Thanks!

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    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Arizona State has a 6 month master's of real estate development and an MBA program with a focus in real estate. The MBA program is rated in the top 20 by US News. Being AZ is the fastest growing state the real world exposure could be more valuable than a top 5 program.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

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    Cyburbian JeM08's avatar
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    USC has an outstanding program in Real Estate development. In fact Planetizen ranked them #1 in that field. But you have to have at least 2 years experience in a relevant field as a prerequisite for admission.

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    Master's of real estate is a relatively new field, so the prestige isn't too much associated with the program as perhaps with the school.

    Columbia has a master's of real estate, and being in New York has its definite merits.

    But I know people from Clemson's master's of real estate who went on to work for Forest City, and SBER in Baltimore. Both at good salaries.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally posted by JeM08 View post
    USC has an outstanding program in Real Estate development. In fact Planetizen ranked them #1 in that field. But you have to have at least 2 years experience in a relevant field as a prerequisite for admission.
    Hey thanks fo this comment. Where did you get the information that planetizen had ranked them first? Is there a list out there floating around?

    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    Arizona State has a 6 month master's of real estate development and an MBA program with a focus in real estate. The MBA program is rated in the top 20 by US News. Being AZ is the fastest growing state the real world exposure could be more valuable than a top 5 program.
    Hey Brocktoon,

    Thanks for your comment. I've already applied so I'm just trying to determine which school I should go to....any thoughts re: any of these schools would be super helpful...
    Last edited by Gedunker; 01 May 2008 at 9:49 AM.

  6. #6

    online degree

    does anyone know of any good real estate development programs that offer online degrees?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian JeM08's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hl248 View post
    Hey thanks fo this comment. Where did you get the information that planetizen had ranked them first? Is there a list out there floating around?
    Yes, in their guidebook to planning schools they provide rankings by specialty and list USC as #1. I have visited the program before and spoken to 2 faculty there just out of curiosity. I came away impressed. Commercial development is definitely USC's strong point anyways.

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    oh that's fantastic Jem08. Thanks for that information. You wouldn't happen to have that guide still handy? I would be grateful if you can tell me the top 10? Many thanks!

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    I'm glad this discussion is going on.

    I had browsed this topic alittle over a year ago and the advice I had received was that MBA programs already do this and have very effective specializations in real estate development.

    (as an aside, The Master of Real Estate Develpment tag kinda seems like repackaging something that's already existing in many cases)

    That said, I had a very positive encounter with Clemson's MRED program. I would highly recommend checking it out as an alternative to the aforementioned schools. I made acquittance with alums of that program that are VERY successful.

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    Does anyone know about the real estate focus in Harvard's urban planning program? I'm considering studying real estate/urban development at the GSD.

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    Quote Originally posted by rdnichol View post
    I'm glad this discussion is going on.

    I had browsed this topic alittle over a year ago and the advice I had received was that MBA programs already do this and have very effective specializations in real estate development.

    (as an aside, The Master of Real Estate Develpment tag kinda seems like repackaging something that's already existing in many cases)

    That said, I had a very positive encounter with Clemson's MRED program. I would highly recommend checking it out as an alternative to the aforementioned schools. I made acquittance with alums of that program that are VERY successful.
    i agree with you on some level about the repackaging. But a MBA is a full two year and MRED are typically one full year. In my opinion, real estate is all about expereince, experience, experience. To build a strong basic foundation in just one year I think is more helpful than sitting through MBA courses for two years about operations management, global business marketing, etc, or in other words, classes that just aren't that relevant to what you'll be doing in the future as a real estate developer.....

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    Quote Originally posted by hl248 View post
    Thanks a billion! Really helpful although I am slightly surprised by this list.
    As I understand it, those rankings are of real estate concentrations within planning programs rather than separate MRED programs. I also don't know anything about Planetizen's methodology, so I wouldn't take the details of the rankings all that seriously.

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    Cyburbian The District's avatar
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    yeah, i don't really trust those rankings. texas a&m's program is definitely out of place. may i suggest a strategy for picking an MRED program? go where the program includes stuff you're most unfamiliar with, but will need later. my MRED program was REALLY heavy on the finance, which was great coming from a planning background. meanwhile, my classmates who came from a finance background didn't learn that much, since they were getting the same material from their undergrad.

    one of my classmates had some friends in the MIT MRED program, to whom he showed some of the finance stuff we were doing, and their response was "we've never done any finance stuff that complicated". MIT is a GREAT program with a great name attached to it, but there are other elements to consider.

    so if you're coming from a non-land-related field (like biopsychology or something), find a program that's well-rounded. you'll need it. if you already have a planning/design degree, go find a really business-oriented program. i also think clemson is a really great program for the biopsychology types, since it covers EVERYTHING. but i didn't need to cover everything.

    ratings aren't everything.

    and hl248's comments are spot on. OBVIOUSLY MRED's are a repackaged MBA, but you will invariably have to take some less useful classes if you do the MBA, EVEN IF you're taking a real estate concentration within the program. caveat: if you want to do institutional and/or commercial real estate on a publicly-traded level, the MBA would probably be a better course. but i think few planners-turned-developers want to do that.

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    Moderator note:
    Sorry, gang, but we've been asked by Planetizen to remove the list of top real estate schools they compiled, due to copyright issues. Thanks for understanding.

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    Bringing the love

    This post took me about 2 hours to put together so I do hope that you all appreciate it.

    The following is the DubČ Graduate Real Estate Rankings and Commentary. I do hope that you all enjoy and please feel free to ask my opinion, for whatever it's worth, and I'll be happy to share it with you.

    About Me:
    • 26 years old
    • Bachelors Degrees from Biola University in Philosophy and Theology
    • 2nd year MBA student at USC (part time - accelerated)
    • 7 years RE Experience: 5 years SFR Finance in branch ops/ Wholesale and 2 years commercial finance
    • Direct or Indirect supervision of over 1 billion in capital

    My Current Applications:

    1. Columbia: Notification comes April 1st
    2. Cornell: Waitlisted with Interview Invite April 17th
    3. MIT: Notification comes April 1st
    4. USC: 2 separate interview invites - awaiting notification
    5. NYU: Did not apply
    6. Johns Hopkins: Did not apply

    First some general comments:

    As real estate becomes more complex and as economic conditions continue to deteriorate, graduate programs in real estate are seeing a dramatic increase in applications and many schools are rushing to open dedicated real estate programs. My rankings focus on the tried and true established programs that have already made a name for themselves. Selectivity, student quality, university resources, experience, prestige and placement data were all factored into these rankings with particular emphasis on selectivity, industry reputation and placement. Many of the very new programs simply don't warrant ranking until they've established themselves. At this point - none of them can compete against the primary universities I've listed here.

    My opinion of the top programs is based on 2 years of rather dedicated (or obsessive as my g/f would say) research into the various programs during my application process.

    Ranking Tiers

    Top 4 (alphabetically)

    Columbia University
    Cornell University
    MIT
    USC


    Tier II

    NYU


    Tier III

    Johns Hopkins


    Tier IV

    EVERYONE Else



    Comments on the top programs


    Columbia


    Columbia boasts an Ivy League reputation with the second largest class size of all the top programs. It also boasts the second largest number of applications. This program is a 1 year program and does not require previous real estate experience to be accepted. For those who have graduated from their undergrad within the last 3 years it also does not require the GMAT or GRE. This program focuses on forming relationships and training you to begin your own development firm. Ironically, this isn't the program to attend if you want to learn the specific details of real estate (and yet it's the only one among the top programs to allow inexperienced professionals to join). This program will leave you with the least knowledge of all of the top programs but will afford you the best connections and the best know how to begin your own real estate firm. Proximity to the capital markets and the NYC locations are huge positives for Columbia.

    Program Length: 1 Year / Full Time

    Selectivity: Unpublished Data: Approx 15% - 20% acceptance rate. Prefers motivated and passionate entrepreneurs and eschews the validity of super high test scores though only Ivy League caliber people need apply. GMAT/GRE scores only needed for those applying within 3 years of their undergrad commencement.

    Experience Required: Preferred but not required

    Interview: None

    Best Fit: Best for those who want to enter hard core development, understand the value of a real estate network, and wish to form their own firm sooner rather than later. Those who desire exposure to the development, planning and construction management process.

    Worst Fit:
    Those who want to learn detailed skills rather than general concepts. Those who want to go into the field of real estate, but not development. Those who desire a deep quantitative approach to real estate. Columbia has a particular bias against those who already hold an MBA.


    Cornell

    Cornell boasts an Ivy League reputation and is the only top program to require two years of full time immersive study. And, being in the middle of Ithaca you can definitely consider it immersive. Cornell has a myriad of emphasis to choose from and boasts an impressive and growing program. Cornell seems to be the school in the middle, with a very healthy and balanced emphasis on student scores, experience, background and personality. This is a program ideal for someone with some RE related experience that doesn't yet feel confident in their core abilities. This program also does not limit you to development but is focused on real estate from a holistic perspective that allows you two choose your own path. The program is also extremely flexible and, in my experience, the students are the most overall impressive at Cornell.


    Program Length: 2 Years / Full Time

    Selectivity: 3.4 GPA / 660 GMAT - 20% acceptance rate. GMAT is the only test accepted. Adcoms will take the highest score.

    Experience Required: Yes

    Interview: Sometimes

    Best Fit: Those who want to be immersed in study for 2 years. Those who want options and flexibility in their course of study to study appraisal, finance, investment, development etc. Those with related, but indirect, real estate experience.

    Worst Fit:
    Anyone who hates trees, hiking or snow. Experienced professionals who do not require training in real estate fundamentals will languish during most of their first year.


    B]MIT[/B]

    MIT is the oldest and most respected Real Estate program in the country. It is also the most selective and, unsurprisingly, particularly values high quant scores. Their approach is decidedly analytical, but this isn't to say that the program is devoid of qualitative instruction. If you don't want to go the MBA route and want placement at the top firms, MIT is your best bet. Their center for Real Estate is among the most respected institutions of its kind. MIT places a very strong emphasis on test scores and seems to favor people from top 20 undergrads as well as international students. However, they offer an unlimited amount of space to tell the admissions committee what you're all about.

    Program Length: 1 Year / Full Time

    Selectivity: 3.4 GPA / 670 GMAT - 15% acceptance rate. GMAT is the only test accepted. Adcoms will only accept the most recent score.

    Experience Required: Yes

    Interview: No

    Best Fit: Those who desire a quantitative approach towards development. Those who wish to work for a well established firm will have the most opportunity in terms of pay and placement coming out of MIT. Those who like the biggest game in town.

    Worst Fit:
    Those more interested in the qualitative aspects of real estate. Those who are already highly experienced in finance and quantitative analysis and are primarily concerned with exposure to the development process, architecture, construction management etc.


    B]USC[/B]

    USC is, without hesitation, the absolute best program on the west coast. The MRED from USC provides graduates access to the high power Trojan Network which dominates the Southern California real estate market. Additionally, the Lusk Center for real estate is the only dedicated center that can give MIT a good run for it's money. USC's program is the largest in terms of dedicated faculty and is the only top program to offer the option of both a full time or part time program. USC is also tops at providing students with the opportunity to attend off site visits and lectures. While very score driven, my experience with the adcoms (they interviewed me twice) demonstrates that they do seem to put a very strong emphasis on the person once they've made the first cut. Work experience is highly valued and commercial real estate experience is strongly preferred.

    Program Length: 1 Year Full Time or 2 years Part Time

    Selectivity: 3.3 Undergrad GPA and 3.47 Grad GPA / 670 GMAT, 164 LSAT, 1360 GRE - 20% acceptance rate. Will accept LSAT, GRE, and GMAT.

    Experience Required: Yes

    Interview: At least once for all applicants warranting consideration

    Best Fit: Anyone on the west coast - period. Those seeking to enter development who wish to study it from a balanced quantitative and methodological perspective.

    Worst Fit:
    Those on the East Coast. Those who wish to enter the real estate profession, but not necessarily development. Those targeting methodological or quantitative only approaches. Those coming from single family. Anyone who hates perfect weather, beaches and sunshine.

    NYU

    NYU's Real Estate program started as a certificate program and has blossomed into a full blown masters degree. The NYU program has the powerful reputation of Stern (NYU MBA program) and a long standing history in the city of New York boosting it along. The NYU program is also, by far, the largest MSRED program in the country. Selectivity is relatively low and the program has the appearance of being a cash cow program - these are often used to offset programs, such as chemistry, that are loss leaders for many universities. Never the less, NYU's SCPS delivers a qualified and comprehensive program with a particularly well regarded finance program.

    Program Length: 2 years Part Time

    Selectivity: Unpublished Data: Unofficially 560 GMAT average - estimated 80% acceptance rate

    Experience Required: Yes

    Interview: No

    Best Fit: Busy professionals on the East Coast. Those who wish to enter Finance. Those who wish to move up within their current organization. Those with relatively low GPA/GMAT scores desiring a reputable education.

    Worst Fit: East Coast professionals desiring top placement after graduation. Those who wish to study among top students. Those wishing to enter hardcore development. Those wishing to change firms.


    Useful Links:

    Clemson: http://www.clemson.edu/caah/pla/mred...te_mission.htm
    Columbia: http://www.arch.columbia.edu/realestate/
    Cornell:
    http://www.realestate.cornell.edu/
    University of Florida:http://www.cba.ufl.edu/fire/programs/msre/
    Johns Hopkins:http://carey.jhu.edu/realestate/index.cfm
    MIT:http://web.mit.edu/cre/
    NYU:http://www.scps.nyu.edu/areas-of-stu...s-real-estate/
    USC:http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/programs/masters/mred/

    Comparison of top programs: http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/priv...Comparison.pdf

    Complete List of Graduate Real Estate Programs (Note: Not all of these are DEGREE programs so please read carefully)
    http://www.gradschools.com/programs/real_estate.html

  16. #16
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    phear me -- welcome to Cyburbia. Please understand that our rules do not permit multi-posting of threads. We also frown on redundant threads, so I'm letting your reply stand here and have removed the three identical threads you started in this subforum. Thank you and carry on

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Hi Phear Me,

    Brillant post. Thanks for all your suggestions. However, I'm curious as to the two missing schools I thought would be on that list for top-tiered schools - UPenn and Harvard. What are your thoughts on that?

    By the way, bang on with your assessment on Columbia. My sister attended that program and that's basically what she said.

    hl248

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    U Penn and Harvard

    U Penn and Harvard do not have graduate DEVELOPMENT programs. They have Architecture programs, Planning programs and MBA programs with Real Estate emphasis but not specific graduate development programs.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by phear_me View post
    U Penn and Harvard do not have graduate DEVELOPMENT programs. They have Architecture programs, Planning programs and MBA programs with Real Estate emphasis but not specific graduate development programs.
    Hi Phear Me,

    Check out http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/academic/...re_courses.htm

    It's a Master of Design as part of the GSD. The MIT one is also part of their School of Architectire and Planning.

    I see your point about how the title doesn't have DEVELOPMENT, whereas the MIT one does. However, I've compared both schools and their curriculum and the courses are very similar. In fact, I'd say that the Harvard program is more well-rounded. MIT's lacks any focus on design issues, which is a fundamental part of real estate development. I haven't looked at UPenn's but will tomorrow.

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    wow

    If this program fits the bill I'm going to be very upset that I didn't get a chance to apply at Harvard. However, Harvard was one of the first schools I looked into so I'm shocked that I might have missed something.


    ---

    Edit/Update:


    The Harvard program requirements are as follows:

    Applicants to the MDesS program normally hold a professional degree in architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning and design. Applicants with a degree in a related discipline such as engineering, geography, computer science, or industrial design also qualify for admission. The program seeks applicants who have demonstrated overall academic and/or professional achievement in the design fields and who have the potential for advanced work in the area selected for study.

    Thus, the program is specifically intended for architects. This is a program of study designed to give architects exposure to the business considerations driving development. Someone like me, with a background in business and finance, would not be considered for admission.

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    Graduate program Rankings

    I have been accepted and am planning on attending NYU M.S program. From the way you describe the program, it does not seem to be such a great program. Before this post, I was under the impression that NYU M.S in real estate was a prestigious degree and was something that was looked very highly upon. Can you please give me further elaboration. I have searched the internet everywhere and I cannot find any concrete rankings. On top of this, I can barely find any comparisons or information on the top programs and of what I have found, what you composed was the best. I am desperately seeking any information and anything you can give me would be great. Thank you very much

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    Regarding NYU

    I'm actually thinking of publishing my own "official" rankings as I feel as though, regarding Development programs in the US, I've probably educated myself regarding the caliber of various programs more than many of the people even running the programs (due to their introspective perceptions).

    While the NYU program is, in my opinion, just outside of the top tier and has ROOTS going back farther than any other graduate degree granting real estate program I am aware of - the very low caliber of student admitted to the program (relative to other programs) alongside the massive size of the program (again relative to other programs) is enough to preclude me from considering NYU from being a top program. You just can't let in every Tom, Dick, and Harry and expect to be considered prestigious. Furthermore, they have no dedicated career resource center and while a school like Columbia (Ivy League) can get away with that, NYU just can't. For the most part, they are riding the reputation of the Stern MBA, which is why they are considered to have a solid finance MRED program (Stern is considered to be among the top MBA's in finance).

    Now, it's not all bad. To give you an idea of my opinion of the school I will tell you that NYU is my backup option in case Columbia, MIT, Cornell and USC all don't work out. So, do know that I myself would be willing to go there. The instruction (from what I can tell) seems to be solid and many of the MBA students take classes in their real estate program, so they must be, at the minimum, competent as Stern MBA's wouldn't tolerate something atrocious.

    In terms of placement, after perusing their job boards in order to get an idea of the type of companies potentially trolling the NYU program I was not impressed with the prospects. Employers in the know realize that the other top programs only accept the best and the brightest and the students at other schools benefit from tons of resume drops and more sophisticated career nights. This puts the NYU student at a very large disadvantage and they must compete with a larger pool of students for even less (qualitatively and quantitatively) opportunity RELATIVE to the top programs. This is exacerbated when the average student at Cornell, MIT and USC are right at the 90% and the average student at NYU is hovering just above the top 50% (meaning half the students are in the bottom half of test takers). Now, NYU still provides decent employment opportunities, particularly for those who can do their own marketing and ESPECIALLY for those who want to move up at the firm they already work at.

    If NYU created a career center and made their class sizes about 5 times smaller they could instantly become a player in the top bracket, but that's simply not their model. They very much remind me of the Pepperdine MBA here on the west coast - which has thousands of students and is very much a money making machine for the university. Please re-read my "Best Fit" and "Worst Fit" section on NYU and see if that applies to you.

    Also, do know that my research isn't the alpha and omega of development programs. I have, very much for my own benefit, done tons of research and spent a great amount of time talking to students, alumni and the directors of these various programs and I am simply sharing my perspectives and their perspectives alongside some published data with anyone who cares to hear it. I am absolutely certain that there are many people who would disagree with me. There was a post in the business week forums about this which I participated in. Perhaps that may offer additional help - some people were adamant that NYU was the top program. I, of course, disagreed ...

    = )

    The thread comes from an MBA perspective but there are some decent opinions being offered. Please note that the acceptance rate and GMAT scores I've offered for NYU are based on a conversation with an adcom and were never given to me EXACTLY but were VERY strongly hinted at.

    http://forums.businessweek.com/n/pfx...ools&tid=73399

    If you have more questions, ask them specifically and I'll share whatever knowledge and impressions I've gained with you freely.
    Last edited by phear_me; 31 Mar 2008 at 5:52 AM.

  23. #23
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    Out of curiosity Phear Me, If you already have a back ground in Finance and Business, why would you consider NYU? Their courses are very business-oriented...not a single design class available....Like I was saying before, real estate development should be well-rounded so perhaps that program is not ideal for you...

    I applied to NYU but I have had it UP TO HERE with them. They're now asking me for transcripts for some college level classes I took in high school back in 1995 (a class on chemistry and calculus)...I'm actually thinking about withdrawing my application with them.

    I kind of agree with your assessment with NYU though. I went to Stern for Finance as an undergrad. Very strong program and I agree with all you've written but I don't know, I think if you're interested in real estate development, you're better off with a more well-rounded program. Unless you go for real estate investment, then that's a whole different story...I think NYU would be great.

    My sister went to the Columbia program....she said it was okay but it seemed too much like a breeze....but I have heard that the NYU is pretty tough....I don't know if the "Stern curve" applies in the Finance classes you would take as part of the School of Continuing Ed. If it does...good luck....it's TOUGH. However, I think I overall agree with you....NYU's real estate program just doesn't have tha cache as some of the other Ivys....

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally posted by hl248 View post
    Out of curiosity Phear Me, If you already have a back ground in Finance and Business, why would you consider NYU? Their courses are very business-oriented...not a single design class available....Like I was saying before, real estate development should be well-rounded so perhaps that program is not ideal for you...

    I applied to NYU but I have had it UP TO HERE with them. They're now asking me for transcripts for some college level classes I took in high school back in 1995 (a class on chemistry and calculus)...I'm actually thinking about withdrawing my application with them.

    I kind of agree with your assessment with NYU though. I went to Stern for Finance as an undergrad. Very strong program and I agree with all you've written but I don't know, I think if you're interested in real estate development, you're better off with a more well-rounded program. Unless you go for real estate investment, then that's a whole different story...I think NYU would be great.

    My sister went to the Columbia program....she said it was okay but it seemed too much like a breeze....but I have heard that the NYU is pretty tough....I don't know if the "Stern curve" applies in the Finance classes you would take as part of the School of Continuing Ed. If it does...good luck....it's TOUGH. However, I think I overall agree with you....NYU's real estate program just doesn't have tha cache as some of the other Ivys....
    Sorry Phear Me, I forgot you didn't apply to NYU....it was Drew Reed....

    Drew Reed, by the way, did you get accepted to any other programs besides NYU? I['m surprised you found out so early since the deadline was just March 18th....

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    Masters Real Estate

    I am concerned with the last few responses. What sources are being quoted when stating that NYU has an average gmat of 560? I find it very hard to believe that a school with a reputation such as that of NYU would accept students with that poor of a score. Furthermore, when looking at the Columbia admissions compared to NYU (according to each website), the min required to apply to NYU is a 600 gmat and columbia lists a 550. Both schools list a GRE score of 1100 min to apply as well.

    The last poster mentioned that NYU was requiring transcript work from years ago and was giving that person a hard time. If the admissions process was so easy, then how is this person being hassled so much? While it is clear that USC is leagues ahead of the other programs (especially when reading the bios of the students), it seems that NYU MSRE is a much better degree than Columbia's MSRED. This being said, this is just my opinion; I have no factual basis for this statement and would be interested in all opinions. I also see that people are talking about the huge size of NYU. According to Petersons, NYU only has 400 students, which isn't a great deal. Especially considering the amount of time it takes to complete this program. I have also heard Columbia is more of an academic education as opposed to actual real life real estate experience work.

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