Graduate programs with concentrations in real estate have increased in recent years to fill the demand for well-educated practitioners in the industry. However, there has been a great deal of debate on what elements should be an essential part of a graduate program in order to help students succeed in the industry. This paper summarizes the results of over fifty interviews with educators, administrators, and practitioners from 14 top real estate programs in the United States, as well as data from recent focus groups on newer graduate real estate programs in the U.S. Several major themes emerged that provide insight on how to improve future graduate programs for practitioners.
University graduate programs with concentrations in real estate have increased in recent years to fill the increasing demand for highly educated professionals in the industry (Gair, 2001; Hartigan, 2002; Weinstein, 2002; Galuppo and Worzala, 2004; and Miller and Weinstein, 2006). As a result more companies are looking to hire students with graduate degrees in real estate. Some interesting quotes include: "During the past twenty-five years, there has been a growing appreciation of real estate as a university-level field of study. Real Estate industry financial support for university real estate programs is at an all time high," (Musil, 2005, p. 133). U.S. News & World Report writer Justin Ewer's (2007, pp. 18-19) adds, "After a slump in the mid-90s, real estate firms are back in the hunt for MBAs eager to give into one the biggest housing and commercial real-estate booms in history. Many large companies such a s Trammell Crow, Tishman Speyer, and AvalonBay Communities - all are recruiting MBAs last fall. Today's real estate students with graduates degrees have the opportunity to do everything from helping investment groups acquire real estate, to working as brokers on Wall Street, to the more traditional roles of entitling land, putting together a project plan and managing construction contractors."
The purpose of this research is to answer one broad question: "What elements make up a top graduate program in real estate that enhances practice?" This research builds on an original study of graduate real estate programs that was conducted in 2002. ' We have added additional universities to the study because they have recently received significant levels of funding and have created graduate programs that are poised to become significant national programs. We want to compare some of the newer graduate real estate programs that have recently been developed with some of the older, more established programs. The original 14 programs were chosen because they had been highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report, Business Week, and the National Real Estate Investor as outstanding real estate graduate programs. Additional programs that have been added to this research include: Clemson University, which began a Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program in 2004; DePaul University, which has recently received several million dollars in funding to start a Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) program (including a $2 million gift from D. Crocker, past CEO of Equity Residential and his wife); Johns Hopkins University, which recently received a $6 million gift to establish an accelerated MSRE full-time real estate program; and Roosevelt University, which has raised $8.4 million towards a new real estate school and MSRE program. Results of this research will provide insight into how some of the more successful programs were established and developed. In addition, we hope our results will provide guidance on how new startups and the older, more traditional programs can continue to improve graduate real estate academic programs so that they are relevant and useful to the ultimate consumer, the real estate business community.
Although one of the main purposes for university graduate degree programs in real estate is to educate practitioners, a literature review revealed that most real estate degree programs are out of touch with the real world of practitioners (Bachhuber, 1999; and Miller, 2001). …