Real estate has historically been an entrepreneurial industry. Great fortunes and enterprises have been created by entrepreneurs who started as contractors, agents, investors, and other service providers in real estate and related businesses. Others have built investment management businesses from scratch, often starting from small purchases and growing into multi-billion dollar funds. The industry has changed over the years; it has become more institutionalized and the public debt and equity markets play a larger role and have increased transparency. At the same time, real estate technology companies have started to threaten traditional business models in real estate services (brokerage and modeling), capital markets (crowdfunding and financing), and, of course, ownership and leasing (AirBNB and WeWork).
Although the property industry remains a marketplace where talented entrepreneurs can still build great businesses and fortunes, nevertheless, relatively few succeed. What is the difference between success and failure? What resources, personal characteristics, and business strategies improve the odds of success for the entrepreneur in the world of real estate? To avail themselves of the ever-widening opportunities, today real estate entrepreneurs must frequently go beyond a transactional framework to build companies or investment platforms.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students who have a passion for creating their own real estate business to the challenges and opportunities they will face, and the tools they will need to be successful. The course will expose students to the personal skills, organizational challenges, financial structures and market factors that influence the success or failure of a real estate entrepreneur. This includes a focus on the factors that lead to a successful entrepreneur as well as the key opportunities in real estate.
Classes will focus on discussion and analysis of assigned cases and readings, and topical lectures. Guest speakers will provide first-hand experience in the challenges and opportunities of starting and building a real estate business, with a focus on alums and early stage enterpreneurs.
The completion of two written case analyses and a case precis will be required during the term to be completed individually, along with a New Business Proposal that will be prepared as a group. Groups will be required to meet with the Professor and/or the class Teaching Assistant at least twice during the term (with all group members attending). These meetings will include a discussion of the business concept, the financial model, and presentation. Each group will present their Proposal on the final day of class.
Zachary Aarons was a Columbia Business School faculty member from 2019 to 2020.
Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Finance and Economics in the Faculty of Business
Brian P. Lancaster is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Finance at the Columbia University Business School. Professor Lancaster teaches the following courses: Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Debt Markets, Residential Real Estate Finance, Capital Markets, Real Estate Entrepreneurship, and Debt Markets in the MBA and EMBA programs. He is also a faculty sponsor of Chazen Global Study Tours, most recently...