Course Schedule

September Start | January Start | Course Descriptions

September Start

Students starting the MBA in September generally take their first real estate course, Real Estate Finance, in their second semester. Students wishing to obtain a real estate internship between first and second year benefit from having Real Estate Finance under their belt before beginning the summer work term.

In the second-year fall semester, students can take Real Estate Capital Markets and/or Real Estate Transactions, among other options. In the spring semester, students can choose from a number of real estate electives as well.

Year

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Summer

First

MBA Core courses

MBA Core courses plus elective(s):
Real Estate Finance*
Real Estate Development

Internship

Second

3 courses plus electives:
Real Estate Capital Markets
Real Estate Transactions
Real Estate Project Class
Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development
 

 

2-3 courses plus electives:
Advanced Real Estate Seminar
Real Estate M&A and Restructuring Deal Workshop
Real Estate Development
Global Real Estate Investment
Real Estate Portfolio Management
Real Estate Entrepreneurship
EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset and a Business

 

 

 

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January Start

Students starting the MBA in January may take Real Estate Finance and Real Estate Fundamentals during the summer term.

In the second-year fall semester, students can take Real Estate Capital Markets and/or Real Estate Transactions, among other options. In the spring semester, students can choose from a number of real estate electives as well.

Year

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Summer

First

 

MBA Core courses

 

 

MBA Core courses plus electives:
Real Estate Finance*
Real Estate Fundamentals

Second

2 courses plus electives:
Real Estate Capital Markets
Real Estate Transactions
Real Estate Project Class
Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development
 

2-3 courses plus electives:
Advanced Seminar in Real Estate
Real Estate M&A and Restructuring Deal Workshop
Real Estate Development
Global Real Estate Investment
Real Estate Portfolio Management
Real Estate Entrepreneurship
EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset and a Business

 

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Course Descriptions

Please see the course catalog to for details about schedules, credits, and professors. Refer to the Real Estate Career Course Map for assistance in selecting related electives outside the real estate courses.

Real Estate Finance* Real estate accounts for one-third of the world’s capital assets.  This course provides students with a comprehensive understanding of real estate valuation, cycles, markets, investments, and decision-making. The bulk of the course covers income-producing (commercial) property, although we will discuss residential housing.  This course provides a unified finance-based framework to answer real estate investment decision-making problems encountered in the real world.  Doing so requires a good understanding of the institutional features that differentiate real estate from other asset classes and markets as well as modern finance and economics tools.

A blend of finance theory as applicable to real estate and practical skills of project analyses, Real Estate Finance is essential for all students who wish to take further coursework in real estate. 3 credits. The division will offer students the option to take an exemption exam.

Real Estate Transactions Real estate is a transaction business, and a thorough understanding of legal structure and transaction documentation is essential to successfully execution of all types of business strategies in real estate: Ask any seasoned investor!   Decisions about the most effective format for owning real estate, layering debt, and structuring equity investments all involve legal considerations that shape the risk and return profile of real estate investments as well as control and decision making.

Our goal in the course is to provide you with an understanding of the institutional framework of commercial real estate transactions: business law, taxation, investment partnerships, and deal structures. It is the essential complement to the analytics of finance and investment. Real estate transactions draw upon a vast array of laws and regulations – property law, contract law, land-use law, environment law, securities law, constitutional law, corporate law, bankruptcy law, insurance law, and riparian law.  Tax considerations similarly play a significant role in driving deal structure as real estate is highly sensitive to taxation at all levels of government and across all stages of property ownership.  And investment structures shape who bears what type of risk.

How and why do transactions come out the way they do? This is the practical question underlying the structure of this course.  You should finish the course knowing how the terms and conditions spelled out in a term sheet find their way into particular sections and provisions of a transaction’s legal documentation.  To succeed in this business, you will need to be savvy consumers of legal expertise, notwithstanding the knowledge and expertise of your attorney. 

The course is designed to address a broad range of considerations that arise as a real estate transaction moves from term sheet to legal documentation.  3 credits.

Real Estate Capital Markets: Commercial real estate (“CRE”) attracts capital from a broad range of domestic and foreign sources and the capital flows change in response to evolving market conditions. The flow of capital and overall market liquidity can often have a greater impact on property values than the trends in the underlying property market fundamentals.  Given the interdependence of the global debt and equity capital markets, an understanding of the interrelationships across markets and among asset sectors is necessary to evaluate emerging trends in CRE capital flows.

This course is designed to provide an overview of CRE capital markets, a practical knowledge of CRE debt and equity capital sources, and a general understanding of the links between CRE capital flows and trends in the broader capital markets.  In the debt markets, the course will cover balance sheet first mortgage lending, first mortgage lending for securitization and commercial mortgage backed securities (“CMBS”), subordinate debt structures, including B-notes, mezzanine debt and preferred equity, and inter-creditor dynamics between senior and subordinate structured investments. The course will briefly cover alternative financing structures such as Federal agency (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD) financing, credit tenant leases (“CTL”) and EB-5. While the majority of the scenarios will focus on cash flowing assets, we will also discuss structures for financing transitional assets and development projects.  In the equity markets, we will cover the private markets including pension funds, sovereign wealth, high net worth and private equity investment strategies and public market vehicles including real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), both public traded and non-traded structures, and real estate operating companies (“REOCs”).  3 credits.

Real Estate M&A and Restructuring Deal Workshop: High‐stakes real estate M&A transactions require consummate deal‐making skills and a thorough understanding of the underlying business, legal, financial and strategic frameworks.  This Workshop will explore the relevant skill‐sets and underlying frameworks through a combination of class discussions and hands‐on exercises. The REIT and commercial real estate sectors have emerged from the financial crisis, poised for a new phase of consolidation and M&A.  In addition, on a technical note, the last decade saw significant legislative improvement in the tax scheme that governs REITS, which has provided REITs with greater operating and transaction flexibility, and recent legislative changes improve upon the ability of foreign persons investing in publicly traded REITs.  We have seen a number of going private transactions in the REIT industry over the past year and more are expected in the near term given that the trading value of public REITs is generally below NAV and there are significant amounts of private capital, including from foreign investors, interested in investing in U.S. real estate.  These waves of transactional activity provide an ideal case study approach for learning the strategy and tactics involved in sophisticated real estate deal making, as well as the underlying legal and business building blocks. The class will take a multi‐disciplinary approach, based on the premise that an effective transactional lawyer must understand the business and financial goals and implications of the deal and, similarly, that an effective business or finance executive must have a solid grasp of the legal, tax, and structural underpinnings for the transaction.  1.5 credits.

Global Real Estate Investment: Cross border investment, once considered exotic, has become increasingly common, despite economic cycles. However, it requires another dimension of risk analysis and execution skill. This half-term course will introduce students to the fundamentals of global real estate investment from an institutional perspective through an exploration of risk analysis and specific strategies for structuring global real estate investments and portfolios. It will provide students with an analytical framework and the tools to analyze and value cross-border real estate investments in developed and emerging markets. It will also provide a perspective on the effects of globalization on property and capital markets.  1.5 credits.

Advanced Real Estate Seminar: This case-based course addresses and, where possible, simulates complex problem solving applied to real estate. The emphasis is on strategic decision making and the types of issues that principals and investors face in acquiring, financing, owning, managing, developing, and restructuring real estate. Using cutting-edge case materials developed for the Columbia MBA Real Estate Program, the course focuses on analyzing complex problems and developing a recommended course of action based on in-depth analysis, both quantitative and qualitative. The course aims to develop your understanding of and appreciation for the multiple dimensions – economic, financial, and institutional – that shape the decision-making environment for real estate investment. Drawing upon the participation of case principals in the classroom, the course also addresses the issues and tactics of how the various industry actors – public companies, private equity funds, and individuals – execute their strategies, including dynamics that constrain actors and organizations in the real estate business. The course is designed to challenge students with complex situations so that they can not only hone their analytical skills, but also develop effective means of communicating their analytical insights and conclusions to different audiences: investors, lenders, clients, and joint-venture partners. 3 credits.

Real Estate Development Real estate development is the physical and financial process by which society fulfills its spatial needs.  Housing, office buildings, hotels, industrial space, retail; all of these are created by private developers who have the vision and capacity to manage the risks of development.  This course will provide an understanding of the real estate development process and its role in value creation for investors and the surrounding community.  Topics will include project envisioning; location and site selection and evaluation; highest and best use analysis; zoning and land use regulation; building design and construction; capital stack (debt and equity; developer compensation); ownership structures; marketing, leasing, and asset management; and exit strategies. The class will also cover non-traditional development (e.g., adaptive re-use, affordable housing, modular and pre-fab), as well as the opportunities for entrepreneurs in this space. The class will include prominent guest speakers who will share their experience from “the trenches”.  There will be one or two site visits to projects currently underway. [Real Estate Finance or demonstrated financial work experience is a pre-requisite of this class]. 3 credits.

Real Estate Project Class: The Real Estate Project Class provides students who intend on pursuing careers in real estate the opportunity to learn how to design and execute projects of professional scope and quality under the guidance of an experienced professor and practitioner, as well as a specific company sponsor.  The course will include instruction in project design, scoping, strategy, research, and execution.  Presentation skills, both oral and written, are integral to the course and project.  Two (occasionally, one) student groups, each group consisting of three or four students, will work with an outside project sponsor to create a project presentation based on a real-world sponsor project.  3 credits. More . . .

Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development : This course will explore what is, and how to develop and invest in “social impact” real estate projects.  How do we define what constitutes “social impact” with respect to real estate projects? What are the financial building blocks and sources of capital available for developers and investors to utilize when putting together deals?      Using examples of real deals, and focusing largely on urban markets, students will work through the challenges and opportunities of financing various types of projects, including: affordable and mixed‐income housing, mixed‐use, neighborhood retail, community facilities.  Students will be exposed to a variety of financial tools (LIHTCs, tax‐exempt bonds, NMTCs, etc.) and public sector programs that are necessary to make social impact projects feasible while also being asked to gauge whether the risk‐adjusted returns warrant “doing the deal”.   In addition, the course will explore the following questions: who are the players in the “social impact” real estate space?  Who are the capital providers in both the public and private sectors?  Who are the developers?   Can you make money being a socially responsible developer?   What role do non‐profits play?    Speakers will include: for‐profit and non‐profit developers, fund managers, government officials and financial institutions.  3 credits.

Real Estate Portfolio Management: This six-week course provides students with an understanding of challenges real estate portfolio managers face and some possible solutions. The focus is “macro” aspects of portfolio management rather than decisions to buy or sell individual assets.  The majority of time will be spent on private equity real estate, although a segment on fund-of-funds approaches and/or portfolios that mix private and public market investments may be included. (Note that issues REITs encounter in owning and operating real estate are very similar to those faced by real estate investment managers, so this course is relevant to people considering going to work for a publicly traded REIT.)  After completing this course students should be familiar with issues that arise in constructing and managing a real estate portfolio, including elements of portfolio strategy, managing diversification and liquidity and measuring performance and risk.  1.5 credits.

Real Estate EntrepreneurshipWhile the real estate industry has grown, institutionalized and globalized, it remains fundamentally a marketplace where talented entrepreneurs can build great businesses and fortunes.  What is the difference between success and failure?  What resources and strategies improve the odds of success for the entrepreneur in the world of real estate?  This six-week course will introduce students who have a passion for creating their own business to the challenges and opportunities they will face, and the tools they will need to be successful.  Through a combination of case analysis, lectures and guest speakers who have started and/or (re)built real estate companies, students will be exposed to the personal skills, organizational challenges, financial structures and market factors that determine the success or failure of a real estate business. 1.5 credits.

Real Estate Fundamentals This course presents the core principles of real estate development, financing, and planning. Key trends will also be discussed and analyzed. The course will review the basic real estate uses: residential, office, as well as retail/cultural facilities. While the course carefully reviews the fundamental real estate principles and analytics, e.g. supply/demand/feasibility, it will also cover real-world developments in the U.S. and abroad. A Case Study from a large-scale mixed-use project will be used through much of the class. Guest lecturers will be invited to join in selected presentations around actual projects and be available for intense interactive discussions. Relevant reading materials will be made available. 1.5 credits.

EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset and a Business: This block week course is designed to provide you with an intensive dive into the fundamentals of commercial real estate finance, investment, and development. It will cover several broad topics – (1) Scope of character of the commercial real estate industry; (2) Real Estate Finance and Investment; (3) Real Estate Transactions; and (4) Real Estate Development. 3 credits.

*Real Estate Finance is offered in the fall, spring, and summer terms. All other real estate courses are offered only once per academic year.