Making the Grade
Real estate education programs are
as varied as the deals they teach you to make.
he Urban Land Institute's Directory of Real Estate Development and
Related Education Programs is currently in its ninth edition, and
includes 60 programs in the United States and abroad. Of that sample,
only a handful mention corporate real estate as an explicit part of
their core curriculum.
There's a reason for that, says Gayle Behrens,
vice president of the real estate development practice at ULI.
"In part, corporate real estate is simply good
real estate practice," she explains. "It's a little more complicated
in terms of ownership issues and how real estate fits into the corporation's
strategy. But it's simply good real estate decision-making. There
is no standard corporate real estate curriculum."
But there is a priceless value to its study.
"There's a virtue to having studied corporate
real estate, as opposed to getting smacked in the face with it your
first month on the job," says Roy Black, a professor in the Georgia
State University Dept. of Real Estate.
Sometimes that smack can hurt. Construction industry
veteran Pat McKee, co-chair of the Industrial Asset Management Council's
Education Committee, estimates that 70 percent of the education comes
in the field, and it can come at a price.
"In dealing with an unseasoned corporate real
estate [professional], from start to finish there can be as much as
60 percent more time invested with explanations and teaching from
the service provider's standpoint," he says.
Chris Manning, president of the American Real
Estate Society and a professor at Loyola Marymount University, has
been studying the field of corporate real estate for years. He is
currently in the midst of co-authoring a study of real estate course
syllabi at universities to determine if these programs are teaching
the specific skills indicated as being valuable to corporate real
estate executives. It's still early in the review, but "We already
know that there are very few, if any, specific courses at universities
with "Corporate Real Estate" in their course title," he says.
In other words, most of the learning comes on the
job. But it's also a relatively new area of specialization.
"It really didn't start to blossom until the
late seventies, when facility manag ement actually became a profession,"
says Roger Beck, former corporate real estate director for Dow Corning,
who teaches regularly at Michigan State University in Lansing. "I
gave a talk one time on site selection to a college class titled 'Site
Selection According to Yoda,' because Star Wars has been around longer
than sophisticated site selection."
One program seems to be on the tip of everyone's tongue when it
comes to concentration on corporate real estate: Georgia State University,
in the heart of metro Atlanta. Such well-known programs can become
the drivers of useful research. For instance, two forthcoming publications
from Georgia State faculty are "Operational, Organization and Human
Resource Issues Facing Corporate Real Estate Executives in the Immediate
Future," by Prof. Roy T. Black and "Developing Community-Specific
Information for Corporate Plant Site Selection," by Dept. Chair Joseph
S. Rabianski with James R. DeLisle and Neil Carn.
Black, for one, says his department is unique
because it is freestanding, not aligned with the school's finance
department. It is also constantly fine-tuning its offerings to offer
the best in both academic and real-world research. A new graduate
course is a case in point.
"Our course is called 'Management in the Corporate
Environment,' " he says. "We like to place emphasis on the term 'management,'
and real property more than real estate -- rights and obligations
rather than the physical asset itself."
Black and a colleague are also looking at new
ways to link human resources objectives with real estate objectives,
starting with a study of a prominent and large Atlanta law firm.
"They don't have an explicit real estate strategy,"
he says. "Our contention is there are some accounting tyrannies at
work. What gets measured gets managed, and often there are separate
rewards for human resources and corporate real estate managers."
The frequent end result -- one not unfamiliar
to directors of real estate -- is that a real estate professional
may be rewarded for attaining a benchmark and cutting costs, but in
the meantime, turnover has gone up by 20 percent.
"The link is never made," observes Black. "You
squeeze the balloon in one place and a lump pops up in another. They
don't talk to each other -- not out of hostility, they're just not
on the same channel. Most of the benchmarking is cost benchmarking,
not productivity benchmarking."
The most salient attribute of most top-notch programs
is their seamless integration of academia with real deals. Black says
his focus is on real management, not management theory. For his program
and others, the voices of experience resonate well.
"People like myself, who have really done stuff,
can add a lot to the academic community by bringing reality to the
theory," professes Roger Beck, adding that, contrary to some academic
opinions, his students like to hear old war stories. "Unlike a lot
of professions, there really aren't a lot of cookie-cutter examples,
and there are as many variables as similarities," he says.
Consultant and International Facility Management
Association Fellow Ed Rondeau, co-author of The Facility Manager's Guide
to Finance & Budgeting (with David Cotts), cites finance, marketing
and legal issues as the best general business course topics for feeding
into real estate. Asked which skills need more attention, he lists negotiation,
human resources and architecture/engineering.
"Financing and budgeting are a real world reality,"
he says. "Were you able to buy or lease the property with the funds
available and in a time frame which supports the corporate strategic
time frame? 'No' and you might not have a job soon. 'Yes' and that
is the norm to keep your job."
"A business education with a strong finance component
sure gives a newcomer a leg up," agrees Bill Pearson, director of
real estate for BASF Corp. He says negotiation is the topic most lacking
in the higher education arena. But he also adds that, in a company
where real estate is not core to its business, about 95 percent of
corporate real estate education occurs on the job.
"I am as good an example as any," he says. "I have
two degrees in
chemical engineering and had two decades of experience in chemical manufacturing
and general management when I was elevated to my current position. Leasing,
sale and leaseback and other typical corporate real estate transactions
came with the territory, though, so I basically had to acquire the requisite
skills by just diving in and doing the job."
Rubbing Elbows 101
Pearson and others also see the skill of networking
as a key component of learning the ropes. Sometimes, that can be part
and parcel of the educational program too.
Jason R. Koehn, a new development manager with
McShane Corp. in Chicago, was the 2003 Top Student, Dept. of Real Estate,
at the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. He already
had plenty of experience in both the military and with Equity Office
Properties, but the Kellogg program only whetted his appetite for the
industry -- as well as virtually filling up an address book with fellow
top-notch performers across the corporate spectrum.
"One great thing at Kellogg was the professors
are, for the most part, practitioners as well," he said in 2003. "As
I walk into McShane, in just the first couple weeks, it's stuff I've
been talking about with my professors over the past year."
Koehn says he prefers the broad business education
"I'd rather have a generalist MBA than a Master's
in real estate, because you can push that farther and expand it," he
says, while making note of the value of such a broad focus to the business
he conducts. "Every program should make you focus on doing what's good
for a business. When we're looking for tenants, we have to look at what
they do. We need to be able to judge the companies that will tenant
our buildings. A lot of real estate companies have taken big hits because
they didn't understand the companies they took in."
His colleague Tony Pricco, promoted in January
2004 to vice president, pursued studies at Kellogg on a part-time basis,
building on his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin.
"I didn't want to concentrate in real estate, because
I felt my real estate background prepared me for a lot of that," he
says, "so my majors were management and finance."
Perhaps the best the program offered was its famous
course on negotiation, which Koehn says really honed in on a crucial,
but often misunderstood, process.
"Kellogg's is an integrative solution," he says.
"What's best for everyone? That mindset that it doesn't have to be a
pie -- expand the pie. It's an important skill to have in real estate,
and everyone in the industry should at least sit down and take a seminar
||Jason R. Koehn
Ultimately, though, observes Rondeau, course work
and object lessons may occur in separate environments.
"Providing your company and employees with a safe,
secure and financially viable site or facility is a key corporate real
estate responsibility," he says, "which is often learned through the
school of hard knocks."
Selected Real Estate
While by no means comprehensive, the following
list represents a selection of higher education programs in real estate
that make explicit mention of corporate real estate in their curricula.
Sources include the ninth edition of The Directory of Real Estate
Development and Related Education Programs, published by the Urban
Land Institute; a survey of members of the Industrial Asset Management
Council; and interviews with experts and academics. U.S. programs
are listed alphabetically
by state and then institution. International programs are alphabetical
by country and then by institution.
Site Selection and
IAMC welcome your comments, as well as updates and additions to this
directory. Please send them to Site Selection
Managing Editor Adam Bruns.
Loyola Marymount University
College of Business Administration
Los Angeles, Calif.
Real estate is just one component of the university's offerings
toward a degree in finance. Professor Chris Manning is president
of the American Real Estate Society, an association of academics.
California State University -- Fullerton
College of Business and Economics
The College has the second-largest undergraduate business program
in the U.S. The BA degree with a finance concentration includes
seven real estate courses. Among other facets, the school offers
an extended education certificate program in real estate, as well
as publishing the Journal of Real Estate Research, the official
publication of the American Real Estate Society.
University of California -- Irvine
Graduate School of Management
Several elective courses in the school's MBA program address real
estate valuation and development issues, and they're taught by
the director of the school's program in real estate management,
which is operated as an outreach program. Other courses in operations
management and decision-making help to round out the school's
MBA offerings. In addition to a quarterly breakfast lecture series,
GSM holds an annual real estate conference that draws more than
350 professionals in the field. GSM routinely places among Top
50 business school and MBA rankings, and just celebrated the opening
of its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
University of Southern California
School of Policy, Planning
Lusk Center for Real Estate
Los Angeles, Calif.
Among the optional specialties in the Master of Real Estate Development
program are Asset Management and International Development. The
program is built on the three-legged stool of finance, policy
and design, and ranges across the spectrum of product types. Courses
like Design History and Criticism, The Approval Process and Building
Typologies flesh out the core curriculum.
Colorado State University
Dept. of Finance and Real Estate
College of Business
Fort Collins, Colo.
The program offers an undergraduate degree in finance with a real
estate concentration option. International real estate investment
is among the noteworthy study areas of the program, an initiative
strengthened by Prof. Elaine Worzala, president of the International
Real Estate Society.
University of Colorado
CU Real Estate Center
Leeds School of Business
In addition to BBA and MBA degrees, the center offers a joint
Law and MBA degree with a real estate track. The program gains
additional clout through its association with the CU Real Estate
Council, made up of leading real estate professionals. A two-year
mentoring program is offered to graduate students. Among the newest
efforts at the center is the formation of the Growth Management
Alliance, designed to provide a neutral forum for the discussion
of growth and its implications for the state.
University of Denver
Daniels College of Business
Burns School of Real Estate and
As the school's moniker suggests, building is at the core of this
program, and has been since 1938, when it was founded as the Building
Industry and Real Estate program. As such, it occupies a unique
niche, not only as the oldest real estate program in the nation,
but one that links planning, finance and execution throughout
its many tracks of study. Among the seven degree options is the
Executive Master of Real Estate and Construction Management, which
makes use of distance learning technology in order to serve its
student body of experienced professionals.
University of Florida
Warrington College of Business
The one-year MA in Business Administration -- Real Estate program
covers finance, investment, appraisal and law at its core. Additional
specializations in capital markets and finance, building construction
and development and planning are also offered.
Georgia State University
Department of Real Estate
J. Mack Robinson College of Business
The GSU program, in existence for 43 years, has long been known
for its relevance to corporate real estate, offering BBA, MBA,
PhD and Master of Science in Real Estate degrees. With its location
in the bustling corporate atmosphere of downtown Atlanta, the
opportunities for testing academic ideas in real-world situations
are countless. Likewise, fully employed students have a great
resource at their disposal for both networking and education.
In 2000-2001, the four programs had a total of 47 full-time students
and 110 part-time students. Among the course offerings is "Strategic
Management of Real Property in a Corporate Environment." The Flex
MBA program at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business has been
listed in the top ten by U.S. News & World Report for the past
eight years. Business Week magazine ranked the College's Executive
MBA program 20th in the world and Forbes rated Robinson in the
top 20 for return on investment for regional schools.
Guthrie Center for
Real Estate Research
Kellogg School of Management
At a school renowned for its management and marketing excellence,
this program offers a Master of Management with a major in real
estate. Like its New York counterparts, Kellogg's program benefits
from the heady froth of activity on the Greater Chicago real estate
scene. The first year of the two-year program is formed around
the same nine courses completed by all Kellogg Graduate School
students. The economic development process, urban issues and negotiation
are among the highlighted areas of study.
In May 2004, the Kellogg School announced plans to open a campus
in Miami, Fla., in 2005. The campus will offer the school's EMBA
program and other executive education to aid executives involved
in the Mexican, South American and Caribbean marketplace. As part
of its international expansion efforts, the school has also begun
offering programs in partnership with Tokyo's Keio Business School
and Brussels' Solvay Business School.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dept. of Finance
Like many university programs, the degree is in finance with a
real estate specialty. Unlike many programs, the PhD option is
offered. So is the annual Illinois Real Estate Letter, published
by the school's Office of Real Estate Research.
The Johns Hopkins University
Real Estate Dept.
Graduate Division of
Business and Management
With 199 part-time students and six full-time students in 2000-2001,
the focus of Johns Hopkins is evident - and so is the excellence
for which the university as a whole is revered. Included in the
MS program is a four-credit applied practicum, and the period
required for completion can range from two years to five years.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for Real Estate
This one-year midcareer program conferred 30 degrees in 2001,
and features an emphasis on case studies and group projects. The
schedule includes the bi-monthly Real Deals lecture series. In
addition, students waived out of required courses may take any
other real estate-related courses at either MIT or Harvard.
University of St. Thomas
Dept. of Finance
College of Business
In its Master of Science in Real Estate Appraisal program, St.
Thomas employs a collaborative learning model and works closely
with the Appraisal Institute. More than 60 seminars are held at
the Shenehon Center for Real Estate Education, and the course
work includes executive communication, urban land economics and
Real Estate Institute
West Long Branch and East Brunswick, N.J.
This 10-week certificate program, the only executive education
real estate program in New Jersey, offers course work across such
diverse territory as regulation, appraisal, lease negotiation
and analysis and law, utilizing expertise from both the university
faculty and the professional community. The program has been steadily
expanding, and may soon offer a full slate of classes in Newark
City University of
Steven L. Newman
Real Estate Institute
137 East 22nd Street
New York, NY 10010
The Institute's focus is on the New York region, and its scope
is comprehensive, including a 16-course certificate program,
continuing education, research, seminars and publications. The
BS in Real Estate and Metropolitan Development is offered through
the School of Public Affairs. The Zicklin School of Business
offers a BBA minor in real estate and an MBA concentration.
MBA Real Estate Program
Dept. of Finance and Business
Graduate School of Business
New York, N.Y.
The MBA program at Columbia, in place for more than 32 years,
makes ample use of the opportunity to connect with other branches
of this top-flight university. Joint programs are available
with the Schools of Engineering (construction management), Architecture
(planning) and International Public Affairs. In addition to
courses like Advance Corporate Finance and Tax Factors in Business
Decisions, an emphasis is placed on the writing of case studies.
The Real Estate Institute
School of Continuing and
New York, N.Y.
Usually mentioned in the first breath as among the top real
estate education programs, the NYU undergraduate and graduate
programs offer flexible scheduling and rigorous study in the
nexus of the U.S. real estate scene. The program benefits from
courses in NYU's Wagner School of Public Administration and
Stern School of Business. The Institute also publishes the quarterly
Real Estate Review.
University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill
Center for Real Estate Development
Kenan Flagler School of Business
Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Kenan Flagler MBA was rated among the top 20 by U.S. News
& World Report. The Center for Real Estate Development capitalizes
on the professional and academic resources that have made the
Research Triangle the phenomenon that it continues to be today.
It also focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of the field,
blending courses from the university's business and law schools
with its planning department classes. Course titles run the
gamut: Sustainable Enterprise, Development Impact Assessment,
Complex Deals and Business Demographics are just a few. Teams
of students culminate their studies with a capstone development
Cleveland State University
Dept. of Finance
James J. Nance College of Business
Among the options available is a four-course sequence earning
a certificate in urban real estate development and finance,
offered in conjunction with the university's Maxine Goodman
Levin College of Urban Affairs.
University of Cincinnati
College of Business Administration
Dept. of Finance
Offering a BBA with real estate integral and an MBA with real
estate concentration, the UC program conferred 44 undergrad
degrees and 8 MBAs in 2001. Besides MBA electives like negotiation
and real estate valuation, the programs offers the UC Real Estate
Roundtable events eight times per academic year, affording prime
opportunities for networking.
Penn State University
Dept. of Insurance and Real Estate
Smeal College of Business Admin.
University Park, Pa.
Offering five different degrees, the Penn State program emphasizes
financial analysis and contracting. Asset and portfolio management
is an important component of the BS program, while international
and investment angles are explored more fully in the MS and
University of Pennsylvania
Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center at Wharton
Wharton School of Business
Say the name "Wharton," and you know you're dealing with the
upper echelon: the school's real estate program has been rated
No. 1 by Business Week, U.S. News & World Report and Financial
Times. Focused on quality of life as much as quality of deal,
the program's comprehensive approach includes elements of design,
entrepreneurship, urban issues and public policy. The top-notch
course work is supplemented by the Farash Distinguished Lecture
Series and an International Training Program in Housing Finance
that educates high-level officials from developing economies
around the world.
Texas A&M University
Graduate Programs in
College of Architecture
College Station, Texas
This non-thesis Master of Science in Land Development program
prepares its students to act on the global stage by taking them
there. Studies in Singapore, Thailand, Australia and Hong Kong
supplement course work focused on legal, financial and design
issues that resonate with the international perspective.
Old Dominion University
College of Business and Public
Center for Real Estate and Economic Development
The school's financial management degree offers a real estate
concentration. The Real Estate and Economic Development Center
headed by Dr. John Lombard, provides information and resources
for the Hampton Roads real estate and economic development communities
in their quest to improve the regional economy through job creation
and investment. The academic program is supplemented by the
presence of such university resources as the Bureau of Research,
the Center for Asian Business, the Insurance and Financial Services
Center, the Graduate Center for Tax Education and the International
Maritime, Ports and Logistics Management Institute.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Real Estate Program
School of Business
P.O. Box 844000
Richmond, Va. 23284-4000
Each fall, this school holds a sold-out Real Estate Trends conference,
next taking place on October 5, 2004.
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Dept. of Real Estate and
Urban Land Economics
One of the oldest and most revered real estate programs in the
world, this program covers everything from asset management
and appraisal to field work around the world. The department
is joined at the hip to the Center for Urban Land Economics
Research. Courses in the MS option cover land use controls,
microcomputer applications and statistics, among other subjects.
University of New South Wales
Faculty of the Built Environment
Full-time overseas students make up about 50 percent of this
school's Master of Real Estate program, which includes core
courses on IT and data analysis, as well as "softer" subjects
like "Generating and Executing Ideas" and "Working with People."
Among the requirements is the taking of three courses from the
facilities management and corporate real estate group.
University of Toronto
Rotman School of Management
105 St. George St.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The graduate school's MBA program, within the highly ranked
Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, offers courses in real
estate. Business economics Prof. William Strange, holder of
the RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust Professorship in Real
Estate and Urban Economics, was honored by Rotman in December
2003 with an award for excellence in research and teaching.
Meanwhile, the U of T Real Estate club, launched by two undergrads
in 2003, already has garnered a membership of 130, driven in
part by the city's lively commercial real estate scene.
Schulich School of Business
4700 Keele St.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(416) 736-2100 ext.77971
The Schulich School of Business MBA program offers electives
in real property development, including courses on finance and
investment, structuring property transactions and comparative
international property markets.
European Business School
Real Estate Academy
This program offers postgraduate degrees in real estate management,
corporate real estate management and facilities management,
all on a part-time curriculum. Although accredited by the royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors in London, the programs'
lectures are given exclusively in German.
Thai Real Estate Business School
55/40-42 Nonsee Rd.
Yannawa Bangkok 10120 Thailand
This school is known for its focus on property valuation, including
a series of short-run seminars on the topic.
University of Ulster
School of the Built Environment
Newtownabbey, County Antrim
The Corporate Real Estate specialization is an option in this
school's Master of Science program. Courses include Corporate
Real Estate Strategy, Research Design Methods and Managing Facilities.
City University Business School, London
Frobisher Crescent Barbican Centre
This program actually offers a MSc in corporate real estate
finance and strategy, as well as other advanced degrees in real
estate investment and in property valuation and law. Among the
areas covered in the corporate real estaet core curriculum are
advanced property investment analysis, European property analysis
and valuation, corporate property asset management and real
University of Reading
Dept. of Real Estate and Planning
One of the few that explicitly mentions the profession, the
Master of Science in Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Management
includes executive development course work. Three different
undergraduate programs specialize in land management, investment
and finance and urban planning and development.
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