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MSc Real Estate / Investment & Finance

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    (Original post by tehFrance)
    I noticed you are from Australia so I was wondering if you could shed any light on how good UNSW's Property & Development MSc is.
    hi mate,

    as far as australian programs and their reputation im not too knowledgeable on the matter mainly because I didn´t have any desire to study here. The university itself is excellent and I did spend some time looking at the course outline and I wasn´t impressed because it is the same subject matter as undergraduate level studies. I know University of Queensland has a program but again, falls into undergrad level however, the University of Melbourne (Australia´s premier business school) has a pretty decent course although it is 2 years and even a 3 year option. I personally find them too lenient on the appraisal and acquistion aspect and more focussed on town planning and construction (just they way we operate here) but 2 years is too long not to mention the cost of tuition is more here than it was for Reading.
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    (Original post by masterajb)
    hi mate,

    as far as australian programs and their reputation im not too knowledgeable on the matter mainly because I didn´t have any desire to study here. The university itself is excellent and I did spend some time looking at the course outline and I wasn´t impressed because it is the same subject matter as undergraduate level studies. I know University of Queensland has a program but again, falls into undergrad level however, the University of Melbourne (Australia´s premier business school) has a pretty decent course although it is 2 years and even a 3 year option. I personally find them too lenient on the appraisal and acquistion aspect and more focussed on town planning and construction (just they way we operate here) but 2 years is too long not to mention the cost of tuition is more here than it was for Reading.
    Same as undergrad? well in my case that actually might help as I plan on going from business to property dev so in that regard it could be good

    2 years is a long time with the cost for UoM although the upside to looking there would be I can live for free :lol: but too focused on town planning is a bit

    Cheers for your reply
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    Interesting debate here. I am at a current MsRED in the US after looking at UK options.

    (Original post by masterajb)
    Initially, I really wanted to go to Columbia to do my MSRED there, but because I'm an international student, it would cost at least $100,000 and that is a joke when you compare the degree. MBA would be a stretch to justify with this sort of money. I find the problem with a lot of the Ivy League schools is that people go there for the name rather than the course which is fine in the US, but i think outside it doesn't matter too much. If prestige was a decision making factor for my MSc in the UK, I would choose UCL but the course is poor compared to others in my opinion. Columbia is aimed at people wanting to start up their own business, Cornell et al i would rather do an MBA with a real estate concentration. They arn't known for research in this area, nor place highly in table's for this field.
    Actually I would say it is the other way around. Americans will be more picky with your particular degree rather than your university. You will not impress anyone in NYC with a Columbia degree (probably half of the city has one) so you will have to say that you are a MsRED student. On the other hand, probably in Australia (or almost anywhere in the world), you can say you are a "Columbia grad"... and that's enough.

    Comparing the UK and US R.E. degrees is a bit like comparing oranges to apples.

    UK degrees are more suited for people with no experience (directly from u-grad) that want to kick into their first job at RE finance at JLL or CBRE.

    US degrees are more suited for people with experience (most of them do not accept people with no experience, and average experience at MIT is around 5-6 years) and more orientated to development than to finance. In the good pre-recession times starting average salaries for schools like MIT were over $100k, not lower than a MBA.... and quite far from the £21k you posted before. In Masters in Real Estate your previous experience also counts a lot on your future job prospects.

    So it is not that A is better than B... they are just different.

    Columbia is not really aimed for people to start their own business (even MBAs are not). The issue about Columbia is that their class is really large (+100 people). Other masters (Cornell, Harvard, MIT, etc.) are about 20-25 students per year... and that helps placing students in the job market; Real Estate is quite limited in terms of job opportunities (compared to, for instance, an MBA or Master in Finance). So the "entrepreneurship" thing seems a bit like an excuse.

    I can agree with you in the MBA comparison. However, I met quite a few MSRED grads from different programs (and reading the replies here, it seems it also happens in the UK) with MBA. The tricky question is that an MBA from a very top university will probably get you into R.E. if you want even if you don't have previous experience; yet a less-than-Top 5/10 MBA will not if you don't have a R.E. background.

    (Original post by masterajb)
    As my goal is development (hotel/resort development would be amazing to do), I'm choosing University of Reading because it's the #3 centre for real estate in the world and #1 in Europe and the oldest school for real estate in the world. The US probably doesn't know much about it, but I'm sure if you talked to people who are in the development side rather than the investment/finance side, they would know what it is. I just think people over there can be quite naive and ignorant when it comes to overseas education. I would say on a like for like comparison, UCL would be Columbia (UCL is #4 in the world) and Cass is very much like NYU as NYU does have some subjects through Stern and Cass is heavily financed orientated, but taking the money equation out of it, Columbia hands down. But I also think NYC days of absolute power are limited and studying in the UK would open your opportunities in Europe.

    Now you will also have to make a distinction between development and investment and which path you would like to pursue because there isn't a crossover between to two masters. I've found the if you want a MSc REI, you'll be involved with commercial appraisal and a bunch of boring ****e imo. Development will have you involved with assessing the feasibility of developments, design, construction etc. etc. so it is much more holistic. The best part of development for me is working through everything rather than punching in numbers from a spreadsheet and moving onto the next job. Cass's program will wedge you into fund management roles and commercial real estate, UCL will have you working more planning i think. If you want development I'd seriously look at Reading.
    When I looked at the UK, the two most interesting looked LSE and Cambridge... LSE more market-orientated and Cambridge more academic-orientated. Plus Cambridge is quite cheap.

    Real Estate is a kind-of soft-degree (has anyone ever seen a ranking of Masters of Real Estate, like MBAs?) and MANY people have never heard about those kind of Masters of Real Estate (even in R.E. industry), so university-brand is more important than in other Masters. And for UK universities, LSE and Cambridge hands down in terms of recognition. Reading to me seemed interesting for the part-time option, and Cass looked a bit of a "cash-cow", job prospects out of that Master looked pretty grim.
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    (Original post by MSRED)
    Interesting debate here. I am at a current MsRED in the US after looking at UK options.



    Actually I would say it is the other way around. Americans will be more picky with your particular degree rather than your university. You will not impress anyone in NYC with a Columbia degree (probably half of the city has one) so you will have to say that you are a MsRED student. On the other hand, probably in Australia (or almost anywhere in the world), you can say you are a "Columbia grad"... and that's enough.

    Comparing the UK and US R.E. degrees is a bit like comparing oranges to apples.

    UK degrees are more suited for people with no experience (directly from u-grad) that want to kick into their first job at RE finance at JLL or CBRE.

    US degrees are more suited for people with experience (most of them do not accept people with no experience, and average experience at MIT is around 5-6 years) and more orientated to development than to finance. In the good pre-recession times starting average salaries for schools like MIT were over $100k, not lower than a MBA.... and quite far from the £21k you posted before. In Masters in Real Estate your previous experience also counts a lot on your future job prospects.

    So it is not that A is better than B... they are just different.

    Columbia is not really aimed for people to start their own business (even MBAs are not). The issue about Columbia is that their class is really large (+100 people). Other masters (Cornell, Harvard, MIT, etc.) are about 20-25 students per year... and that helps placing students in the job market; Real Estate is quite limited in terms of job opportunities (compared to, for instance, an MBA or Master in Finance). So the "entrepreneurship" thing seems a bit like an excuse.

    I can agree with you in the MBA comparison. However, I met quite a few MSRED grads from different programs (and reading the replies here, it seems it also happens in the UK) with MBA. The tricky question is that an MBA from a very top university will probably get you into R.E. if you want even if you don't have previous experience; yet a less-than-Top 5/10 MBA will not if you don't have a R.E. background.



    When I looked at the UK, the two most interesting looked LSE and Cambridge... LSE more market-orientated and Cambridge more academic-orientated. Plus Cambridge is quite cheap.

    Real Estate is a kind-of soft-degree (has anyone ever seen a ranking of Masters of Real Estate, like MBAs?) and MANY people have never heard about those kind of Masters of Real Estate (even in R.E. industry), so university-brand is more important than in other Masters. And for UK universities, LSE and Cambridge hands down in terms of recognition. Reading to me seemed interesting for the part-time option, and Cass looked a bit of a "cash-cow", job prospects out of that Master looked pretty grim.
    Wouldn't mind rebutting a few point but for the most part i agree - particularly with the apples and oranges aspect because it is and the industry in the UK is completely different. It is true that you don't need experience in the real estate industry to get into the masters program here but columbia isnt specific on experience either - just generic experience. The biggest difference is how the industry operates. The US (and barely Canada) dont have any association with RICS (the governing body for all employees working within construction & real estate) so the reason the salaries are low is because you have a 2 year period where you have to undertake exams and your APC. It's similar to those in the finance or accounting fields with their CFA and CA respectively.

    As far as starting salaries, when im paying $100,000 for an education from MIT or Columbia id bloody well hope that i was getting around the $100,000 mark. I also found MIT heavily quantitative so it is more tailored towards CRE or the financial markets of real estate since the town planning aspect and even the development side seems to be less prominent. MBA's dont have the same outcomes in the UK as they do in the US. Woopidy do if you have an MBA, what relevance does that have when overseeing a development and liasing with designers, town planners and solicitors? It's great if you want to work in the upper heirachy of management but to get into the real estate field via an MBA seems 1) counter productive and 2) a huge waste of time and money when there are specialist masters out there which will probably be more in depth than what an MBA would cover.

    As far as LSE goes, yes the university itself is world class, but the degree is ridiculous. It barely has any ground to stand on and anyone who would opt to go to LSE for their real estate degree over the other universities is a daft decision. Choosing a uni based on the bran name is so so stupid. There arn't 'rankings' per-se (especially for masters) but undergraduate Cambridge has been first (mainly because they pinch all the professors from Reading) and Reading is two although they are essentially on par (the name Cambridge pushes it over the line). I'm assuming the 'many people in the real estate industry' you refer to were from the US? If they are, then no offense, but the US doesn't particulary concentrate on anything outside it's boarders. I've talked to canadians, australians (obviously), various europeans and they all know the universities and especially the degrees offering real estate
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    Exactly, I felt that UK programs are very much onto getting the RICS accreditation, so that's good if you are a recent undergrad... but it does not make much sense if you already have the experience. Yet I found that quite a few part-time students at UK masters already had experience.

    You are probably right about Columbia, but again, Columbia is 4 to 5 times LARGER than any other Master... so they may have people from different backgrounds. And don't forget that in the US (which I think it is pretty cool) you can do an undergrad in sociology and your Master degree in Architecture or Law... and it is not an issue as in most of the world.

    MBA is important in R.E. if you want to go "up the ladder" in the typical Real Estate consultancy firms (JLL, CBRE...)... not to mention that you need a Top MBA (or top undergrad to begin from scratch) if you want to go to stuff like Blackstone or Carlyle... so again, two different things. Anyway I don't think that MBA would be a burden to deal with all the people involved in a project.

    As for the cost, most American degrees (esp. at an Ivy university or similar - MIT, Stanford, etc. -) look quite exorbitant to almost anyone else in the world, but that's how things are in the US... you take it or you leave it.

    I didn't look much at LSE, but probably in the UK I still think would be the best option (and I don't really think that it is as "ridiculous" as you say). I think you really underestimate the brand name, especially in Real Estate education, where there are no rankings. Where are most developments now? Sorry to say, but a Real Estate degree right now is quite useless in the US or most of Europe... so you want to go to Asia, Latin America or the Middle East... you better go with a brand-degree.
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    (Original post by MSRED)
    Exactly, I felt that UK programs are very much onto getting the RICS accreditation, so that's good if you are a recent undergrad... but it does not make much sense if you already have the experience. Yet I found that quite a few part-time students at UK masters already had experience.

    You are probably right about Columbia, but again, Columbia is 4 to 5 times LARGER than any other Master... so they may have people from different backgrounds. And don't forget that in the US (which I think it is pretty cool) you can do an undergrad in sociology and your Master degree in Architecture or Law... and it is not an issue as in most of the world.

    MBA is important in R.E. if you want to go "up the ladder" in the typical Real Estate consultancy firms (JLL, CBRE...)... not to mention that you need a Top MBA (or top undergrad to begin from scratch) if you want to go to stuff like Blackstone or Carlyle... so again, two different things. Anyway I don't think that MBA would be a burden to deal with all the people involved in a project.

    As for the cost, most American degrees (esp. at an Ivy university or similar - MIT, Stanford, etc. -) look quite exorbitant to almost anyone else in the world, but that's how things are in the US... you take it or you leave it.

    I didn't look much at LSE, but probably in the UK I still think would be the best option (and I don't really think that it is as "ridiculous" as you say). I think you really underestimate the brand name, especially in Real Estate education, where there are no rankings. Where are most developments now? Sorry to say, but a Real Estate degree right now is quite useless in the US or most of Europe... so you want to go to Asia, Latin America or the Middle East... you better go with a brand-degree.
    It has to be into RICS because they govern what's relevant. In Australia, UK, South Africa and all of asia have their courses influenced by RICS and local boards (API, ABI & AIQS in Australia) otherwise the INDUSTRY does not deem them relevant degrees. A guy I used to work with had a degree that wasn't recognised by AIQS & RICS and what happened? They didn't pay him what he should have been paid because in their eyes, he didnt have the same skills. So in the US, RICS isn't understood, Canada much moreso. Real Estate has to be divided into Investment/Finance & Development. Yes there of course is a cross over, but two different paths. I agree that if you want to work for Blackstone and the like, then an MBA is needed but you dont need a real estate education to get into their RE department.

    Now, the other big debate the generally rages between the US & the UK is this 'brand image' nonsense. Yes in the US, Ivy League is a must for any big bank etc. but the UK institutions operate differently. Albeit Cambridge & Oxford (and a few others) who are excellent across the board, most universities have special faculties that excel. Again, you have to go to a univeristy that the industry recognises is at the forefront and number 1. Hencewhy, if you're silly enough to choose LSE for RE Finance over Cass or Cambridge and possibly Reading, then you're an idiot and oversees you might get a lot of recognition for going to LSE, but then you mention what you actually studied there and more than likely the reaction will be 'oh well, why didnt you go to Cass or Cambridge?' We arn't so superficial when it comes to it. Especially in Australia...'you went to Harvard? Good on ya, Want a medal for that? I went to UoQ.' Everyone is on equal footing when it comes to education (again, there are exceptions to the rule) but if everybody is taught from the same institution, everybody thinks the same (one big criticism of the financial implosion of 08). So in summary, if you're in the US, choose a brand name education. If you're anywhere else in the world, choose the university that has THE BEST COURSE and NOT the best reputation as a whole.

    btw, I enjoy these forums because it's great to see other peoples opinions (and very valid ones at that) and always good to share them with others, especially in an industry that I am passionate about
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    I disagree on the RICS... as you say, it is important in the UK or countries heavily influenced by the UK (i.e. Australia), but it is not such an important accreditation in the rest of the world. I.e., it is something you cannot compare to a JD or MD that you need to practice as a lawyer or doctor. And if you are very interested on it, you can always get MRICS just with prof. experience (many people do this way, because they just jump into Real Estate from non-RICS accredited degrees).

    You can check any Top MSRED in the US and it is packed with Asian students (mostly from China and South Korea)... who return to (good jobs) in Hong Kong or Seoul after graduation. And to date, there are only two RICS-accredited masters in the US: NYU and Wisconsin (I just checked their website... I would swear that Columbia and MIT were accredited, but probably they do not care anymore).

    Again, I think the name is important. I would answer the other way. Most people don't really know about Real Estate masters (check where many people in RE industry come from... basically from any degree - esp. economics, finance, etc. -) so a good name will sell better. this is not science or medicine where a good lab, etc. is quintessential. For instance, John Hopkins (which now they also have a MSRED) is not a top/Ivy university (yet not bad by any means), BUT their medicine program is ranked 2nd or 3rd. In that case, that would definitely make sense to go there for medicine.

    I can tell you about friends with (much more) "useless" or stupid degrees from LSE or Oxbridge that got into (very) good jobs... just for the sake of the name.
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    Hey, really glad that I came across this thread as its got plenty of good information. Some of you would have started your programs by now.
    If you could give some feedback of your experience thus far, it would really help the rest of us with some added perspective.
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    (Original post by realestatefinance)
    Hey, really glad that I came across this thread as its got plenty of good information. Some of you would have started your programs by now.
    If you could give some feedback of your experience thus far, it would really help the rest of us with some added perspective.
    I'd like to know this as well. Also, if anyone could tell me if the University of Reading MRE requires a dissertation, that would be great.
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    Glad I came across this post as well. I too would be interested in any insight from those currently on a course.

    Also, is it really true that LSE does not have a good reputation for their real estate course?
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    (Original post by gigi2183)
    Glad I came across this post as well. I too would be interested in any insight from those currently on a course.

    Also, is it really true that LSE does not have a good reputation for their real estate course?
    hi gigi. i think i saw u from the other thread? do u have acceptance to LSE's course too?

    well i emailed a guy who's doing that course now.. and he said that very few of his coursemates have got a fulltime job this year (something like 5 out of a class of 40-50).

    also, it is apparently more urban economics focused, with not much emphasis on finance.

    can anyone verify this information? thanks.
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    (Original post by gnalk)
    hi gigi. i think i saw u from the other thread? do u have acceptance to LSE's course too?

    well i emailed a guy who's doing that course now.. and he said that very few of his coursemates have got a fulltime job this year (something like 5 out of a class of 40-50).

    also, it is apparently more urban economics focused, with not much emphasis on finance.

    can anyone verify this information? thanks.
    I'm still waiting to hear back from LSE. I have to respond to an offer from Cass by Monday and I think I'm going to accept it. The only thing I can really verify about the course itself it was it says on the department's website...

    Actually, what you have said about the job offers is very worrying. However, the economy is still weak so I wonder what the expectations are for anyone looking for work right now.
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    I've decided to let me offer from Cass expire. The admissions people weren't very good about responding to my questions and I now have an offer from LSE which I think may be better than Cass despite the previous post. Anyone know about LSE course vs Cambridge?
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    Three years later and I finally decided to pursue an MSc in Real Estate at Birmingham City University. The price of Cass was over £20K where BCU was around £7k. The school has good connections to the major property advisory firms and I chose it due the value for money factor. It is a one year full time program and has one exchange where we are going to Spain to visit some local real estate advisory firms.

    I hope this degree will provide me the with skills needed to gain a position at one of the top real estate services firms that have a hotels division.

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