At a time when the country is digging its way out of deep recession, the commercial real estate industry seems to be drawing more – not less – interest as a career move.
The New York Times featured this very topic today focusing on graduate students who are looking to make the most of this changing and unusual time in the industry – like David Mann, who earned his master’s degree in real estate development from New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate and now works as a project development manager for a condominium development in Park Slope.
“It couldn’t have been a more interesting time to be in school,” he told reporter Julie Satow. “Every day the professors were trying to understand this new reality and share their insights with us. We were completely green and ignorant, and in some respects, so were they.”
The article goes on to explain that continuing education in the field and a master’s degree in real estate may be preferable even to an MBA if you take into account the industry’s “boom and bust nature.” Now is the perfect time to hone valuable skills that, when put into play when the industry is back on the upswing, could yield truly advantageous results.
Soon-to-be graduates like Chaeri Kim are counting on it. She plans to complete her coursework at the Schack Institute in the spring, and believes the market will show signs of improvement by then. And, according to the story, the state of the industry has impacted the way courses are taught and how they are being received.
Hugh Kelly, a clinical associate professor of real estate at the Schack Institute, agreed with that assessment. “In easier times,” he said, “students were satisfied with just learning the techniques — what math or which software programs do they need to impress an employer?” Now, he said, they want to learn how to make good judgments.
What impact will all this have on commercial real estate as a whole? That remains to be seen. But having prepared and well-educated professionals in the field has to be a benefit, wouldn’t you say? Let us know your thoughts. Leave a comment below.