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MBA Real Estate Program

The MBA Real Estate Program builds upon the strengths of Columbia Business School’s top-ranking MBA program, providing students an unparalleled opportunity to expand their entrepreneurial skills while focusing on real estate finance and investment management.

As real estate is both a physical and a financial product, with transactions taking place in local space as well as global asset markets, the MBA Real Estate Program emphasizes an interdisciplinary blend of theory and practice, providing students with not only solid real estate fundamentals, but also critical thinking, complex problem-solving, and both written and oral communication skills.

Situated in New York City, a vibrant center of real estate development and capital markets, the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate brings highly respected academics together with industry leaders to produce a premiere real estate program that is both comprehensive and rooted in practice. Global and local themes are woven throughout the curriculum, and many of Columbia CaseWorks’ 65+ proprietary real estate business cases are taught in class by the very professionals who managed the transactions under discussion.

Educational Mission. The educational goal of the Columbia MBA Real Estate Program is the advancement of professional business knowledge through research, curriculum innovations, and teaching excellence. A rigorous curriculum — combined with an expert faculty and a wide range of extracurricular activities run out of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate — makes Columbia unparalleled as the place for graduate business study in real estate.

Faculty Voices

“The course work, particularly the advanced seminar, had direct, real-world applications to my career. Industry leaders were frequent class guests, and case studies often involved New York properties.” — Andrew Jacobs ’96, Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management, LLC

Jacobs, above right, has returned to the school as an adjunct associate professor teaching the Real Estate Project Class.

Logic behind Our Curriculum. We have deliberately designed a curriculum that aims to foster sophistication in critical thinking as well as analytical skills, and knowledge of the institutional structures of the real estate industry as well as its financial tools and frameworks for smart decision making. Real Estate electives, which build on the MBA program's rigorous core curriculum, reflect the demands of the industry, and its changing financial landscape.

Integration of Theory and Practice. We structure our real estate courses such that they integrate theory and practice. We accomplish the theory/practice integration in five principal ways:

  • Use of Columbia CaseWorks real estate cases in each of our courses; since 1991, we have developed at least 65 proprietary cases, including 10 in 2009 alone;

  • Instruction by experienced industry professionals who serve as dedicated adjunct professors and innovators of curriculum materials;

  • Participation of industry professionals as guest lecturers in each of our courses;

  • Building upon the depth and diversity of the University's intellectual resources; and

  • Leveraging the richness of New York City's real estate market as a laboratory for learning.

Extracurricular Activities. Beyond the classroom, the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate produces a full calendar of activities that complements the formal curriculum. Senior-level practitioners — including many alumni — come to campus as event participants, speakers, panelists, and mentors, providing students with exceptional opportunities to gain in-depth insight into current topics of interest as well as the general culture of the real estate industry and specific firms they aspire to join.