The Best B-Schools For A Real Estate MBA

The Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate Studies at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School is one of the premier real estate centers in the U.S. More than 10% of UNC’s MBAs went into real estate in 2018, the most of any elite school. UNC photo

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Leonard W. Wood Center for Real Estate 

The school with by far the most MBAs going into the real estate industry over the last two years: UNC Kenan-Flagler, which saw 11% of the 2018 graduating class enter the field. That’s four percentage points more than the next closest school. UNC’s MBA real estate program boasts a “Real-World Real Estate” experience, leveraging innovative programming — including a student-managed real estate private equity fund — and hands-on capstone development course. “We prepare graduates for a wide array of real estate positions in nearly every corner of the industry,” the center’s web page boasts.

Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business

Houston being one of the most spread-out cities in the U.S., it is naturally a real estate-friendly town, making Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business a logical destination for those interested in the industry. The school offers a real estate concentration focused around a required course (MGMT 659) that introduces a series of basic business concepts commonly used in the real estate industry and covers in detail the application of the discounted cash flow model to real estate decisions. Elective courses, meanwhile, provide for both a depth and breadth of understanding of the industry. The school has a Real Estate Club that is plugged into the regional real estate matrix, helping MBA students find work in real estate management, development and construction, investment and mortgage banking, brokerage and leasing, and more. The club also puts on a speaker series and related events.

Wisconsin School of Business

James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate

The Wisconsin MBA in real estate prepares students for careers in a variety of subfields, including asset and portfolio management, lending and financing, and development.The Graaskamp Center at the Wisconsin School of Business was created to “foster excellence in real estate education, research, and outreach” and boasts a curriculum distinguished by a hands-on approach, including the one-of-a-kind student-managed Real Estate Investment Trust fund. The center also holds premier real estate conferences and case competitions. In 2017, 7% of graduating MBAs went into real estate-related fields, but in recent years that number has been as large as 17%. Wisconsin also offers an MS in Real Estate and a Master of Global Real Estate.

In 2017, 7% of Wisconsin’s graduating MBAs went into real estate. Wisconsin photo

Georgetown University McDonough School of Business

Steers Center for Global Real Estate 

Georgetown McDonough’s MBA program features a specialization in real estate and the opportunity to work with the Steers Center for Global Estate, which offers “unparalleled access to the real estate industry at a global level” and a “multi-faceted approach that harnesses the best of Georgetown University and the Washington, D.C. real estate market.”  The McDonough real estate MBA “boutique program” boasts “relationships in the private sector from around the world” that “engage students in practical, real-world experience. The curriculum includes courses in four different quadrants coupled with up to four modules — a total of eight courses in the subject — with coursework that includes Real Estate Public Equity, Real Estate Private Equity, Real Estate Public Debt, and Real Estate Private Debt, as well as a Real Estate Clinic.

UCLA Anderson School of Management

Ziman Center for Real Estate 

UCLA Anderson offers an eight-course real estate specialization that is integrated into the school’s general MBA curriculum. Students can explore topics like real estate law and taxation, entrepreneurial real estate development, and securitization, among others. Real estate coursework is created through the Ziman Center for Real Estate, which produces a huge range of research and puts on conferences year-round. Among the Ziman Center’s recent projects is last year’s Howard and Irene Levine Affordable Housing Development Program (LAHDP), a long-incubated effort to impart interdisciplinary and highly specialized expertise to the next generation of affordable housing professionals.  LAHDP teaches young professionals to envision how “traditionally siloed agencies and sectors can work in collaboration, not just in tandem, to cut through divisions,” according to the center’s web page.

Wharton’s Zell/Lurie Center offers “training of the future leadership of the real estate industry.”

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania

Samuel Zell & Robert Lurie Real Estate Center

Wharton has offered a real estate major for MBAs since 1985. It consists of two required credit units and three electives; the required courses focus on real estate development and finance, while the electives allow students to explore a variety of issues related to real estate, including real estate economics, urban fiscal policy, real estate law, housing markets, international real estate markets, and more. To keep students informed of current issues in real estate, the school’s Real Estate Department and the Zell/Lurie Center sponsor conferences, seminars, and special programs; the center further provides “thought leadership to the real estate community through support of cutting-edge research for current and future business leaders and policy makers, the facilitation of a partnership between industry professionals and our faculty and students, and the training of the future leadership of the real estate industry.”