I have a question that is admittedly self-serving though ensuing discussion should be beneficial to all. I have a slightly different resume and strengths/weaknesses and was wondering on people's thoughts relative to different programs, from Phear Me and company.
My background: I am currently in NYC consulting for a hedge fund investing in distressed commercial mortgages after seeing the small investor/developer, where I spent a year underwriting acquisitions, go belly-up for reasons related to the credit crunch. Prior, I worked as an acquisitions analyst for a value added real estate fund manager that is a household name for a few years. I have an undergraduate degree in business from Haas at UC Berkeley and am 27.
I have always been the one of the stronger quantitative guys in the room but am looking for a career developing or repositioning real estate assets that incorporates a higher degree of creativity and vision. So, assuming I would get in here are my thoughts so far:
MIT attracts me due to it's strength internationally (who wouldn't want to end up living in a Manhattan penthouse and be traveling to Dubai or Latin America to oversee your latest project?)
Columbia is local, the emphasis on less quantitative aspects is appealing. It seems to make sense that as I am already very strong in analysis, this emphasis would supplement my skill set nicely.
Cornell is attractive because it has a very strong hotel school to provide unique electives (an interest), and overall good program.
USC is attractive because it has a great west coast network and there is a 50% chance I will be on the west coast long term.
NYU is attractive because its courswork looks worthwhile, and offers great networking capabilities.
(I ordered them in descenting order of my perception of their "brand" quality)
My concerns: MIT may be too quantitative and adding that would only reinforce an area that is already strong and be repetitive to my skill set, Columbia has lackluster placement and sounds entrepreneurial almost to a fault (unless you already have investors lined up), USC is for those only willing to live on the west coast, the brand of NYU and the length and isolation of Cornell.
In sum, I want to be involved in all aspects of the development process working on architecturally significant developments, possibly internationally. There's also a high likelihood that I will end up in CA long term, my homeland.
My questions are thus:
1. How well-founded are my concerns over Columbia's placement, it's not-as-exemplary preparation for international projects, and the thought that it might be entrepreneurial to a fault?
2. Are the actual differences slight and just covered in extreme detail in this thread?
3. How much of a disadvantage do other top MSREDs have to USC's in competing for a job in California?
Guru Phear Me and anyone else who thinks they know the cure for my spinning thoughts... your recommendations?