Real Estate Investing

Feb 25–Apr 1, 2022 $4,950 (Live Online)
Questions? Contact Us:
Alberto O. Cruz
Director, Learning Solutions
+1 212-854-6037
[email protected]

Format: Six consecutive Fridays with live sessions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. View the live online schedule.
Certificate Credits: 3
Learn more.
Preferred pricing is available for groups of two or more. To inquire, email [email protected].

“Real estate accounts for one-third of the world’s capital assets. In this program, you'll gain critical knowledge and become conversant about the principles of real estate investing while taking a global perspective.”
– Faculty Co-Director Tomasz Piskorski

Hear from the program's four faculty directors as they introduce the program.

The last few decades have seen rising capital allocations to real estate as bond yields have compressed. With financing attributes beneficial to institutional investors, fund managers, and entrepreneurs alike, real estate has become an avenue to wealth building and a source of portfolio diversification for a wide range of investment entities.

More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the real estate industry across the globe that could last for years. The disruption to financial markets and the global economy presents unique challenges for all aspects of real estate dealmaking, including fair valuation of real estate assets, decision making under uncertainty, regulatory changes, long-run implications of work from home, and risk to tenants whose ability to pay rent has been impeded. Yet, the dislocation also presents tremendous opportunities not seen since at least the great financial crisis of 2008–2010. Hotels and retail properties in particular are ripe targets for distressed-asset investors.

Taught by Columbia Business School’s top real estate faculty from the School’s esteemed Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, the Real Estate Investing program provides participants with a deep understanding of real estate valuation and investments — sharpening their acumen of real estate principles, teaching them how to mitigate risk in real estate investing, and strengthening their strategic decision-making capabilities in the field.

While touching on residential housing, the six-session program primarily focuses on the acquisition and management of income-producing commercial properties.

For a complete program schedule, download the agenda.

Please Contact Us

Please contact our Learning Solutions Specialists at +1 212-854-3395 for a personal conversation to learn more.


This program is designed to provide a deep dive into the changing fundamentals and emerging opportunities in real estate. Participants build on their existing business knowledge and learn how to apply it to the real estate investment market. Specifically, participants will:

  • Solidify their understanding of key real estate investment fundamentals and metrics
  • Using real-world case studies, examine determinants of successful real estate investing
  • Learn how to analyze the distressed real estate investment opportunities
  • Consider the perspectives of investors and investment management firms
  • Understand factors that are disrupting the business and explore strategies to improve buying, renting, selling, and managing real estate assets

Upon completion of this program, you will earn three credits towards a Certificate with select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.


PLEASE NOTE: The upcoming iteration of the program will take place in a live, virtual setting. See the agenda. You may also view the in-person program schedule for when our in-person programming resumes.

Session 1: The Commercial Real Estate Asset Class, Iconic Assets, and the Investor Ecosystem

Session 1 discusses the importance of real estate as an asset class and its historical return performance. Real estate forms part of the alternative investment asset class and institutional investors target a substantial part of their alternatives portfolio in real estate.

This session also introduces participants to the various types of real estate assets by discussing an iconic asset in each sector. The discussion uncovers a diverse investor ecosystem.

Session 2: CRE Fundamentals and Valuation

Session 2 discusses CRE leases and operating expenses, two key fundamentals in any real estate valuation. It provides participants with the tools to project and analyze cash flows for real estate properties, the real estate pro forma. It explains the concept of a capitalization rate and how it is used in valuations. The concepts are applied in a real-world case study.

Session 3: CRE Capital Structure and Taxation

Session 3 takes a deep dive into real estate financing. It studies how mortgage financing affects the risk and return of real estate investments. The discussion covers several other ways of raising capital for real estate acquisitions and investments such as mezzanine debt and ground leases.

Participants also learn about real estate taxation, an important driver of value in many real estate investments.

Session 4: Distressed Investment Opportunities

Session 4 focuses on real estate in distress. It covers lenders’ and borrowers’ rights and foreclosure processes. It treats distressed investing as part of a broader value investment strategy in the real estate industry.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created many newly distressed assets, allowing investors to find new opportunities to recapitalize and reposition troubled properties and companies. A real-life case study provides participants with the tools needed to analyze distressed properties.

Session 5: Private and Public Equity

Session 5 discusses real estate private equity (REPE) and public equity vehicles (REITs) and their roles in the CRE ecosystem. It discusses the incentive alignment of managers and investors through the cash-flow waterfall. It contrasts the types of assets that REPE and REITs invest in and the relative liquidity of each investment vehicle.

Session 6: Real Estate Development, Affordable Housing, and Program Summary

The last session discusses real estate development. It does so in the context of an affordable housing investment case, placing the exercise in the broader context of housing affordability. The session wraps up with a review of the program.

Throughout the program, industry guest speakers will complement the classroom and experiential learning sessions.

For a complete program schedule, please download the agenda.


The program is designed for business professionals on the periphery of the real estate business, including investors who touch but don't specialize in real estate, mortgage lenders, private wealth advisors, chief investment or chief financial officers who do not have a background in real estate but need to acquire or enhance their understanding of the sector. The program would also be appropriate for real estate professionals who need a refresher of the key concepts and an update to new developments, for example, in the area of proptech.

Most recent program participants included, among others, private wealth individuals interested in investing in real estate, private wealth advisors, and senior executives from global venture capital and private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, consulting companies, investment banks, and real estate development, management, and advisory firms.

Familiarity with Microsoft Excel and basic financial concepts such as net present value, internal rate of return, or discounted cash flow is expected.


Columbia Business School alumni and up to four of their colleagues are eligible for a 25 percent tuition benefit for this program. More on the Alumni Tuition Benefit.

Typical Participant Mix

Geographic Spread

Years of Management Experience

Job Function



Hear from Past Participants

“The program was tremendous. I finished it with a great understanding of the fundamentals of real estate and the various ways in which investors work in the asset class. Anyone who works in related fields will benefit and increase their knowledge of real estate investing. The professors are tremendous, and each of them brought their expertise and energy to make each session valuable. This was definitely an experience that I was glad to participate in virtually, as I would have had a hard time doing so in person given that I live in Los Angeles.”
— Scott Sandler, Senior Vice President of Capital Group

“This program was incredibly valuable and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to enter the commercial real estate field or looking to broaden their understanding of valuation across multiple sectors. The professors were engaging and provided varied perspectives while analyzing trends and touching on real-time information, including the present-day impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciated the virtual format of the course, which allowed me to fully participate while balancing my full-time workload.”
— Katie Jacoby, Executive Vice President Strategy and Development at Anchor Health Properties

“For anyone interested in learning about the commercial real estate market, this program provided high-quality content and instructor experience. The program is extremely well done. The knowledge and experience of the professors are very impressive. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to take a course from Professor Mayer, who has the honor of being the Milstein Professor. That level of instruction is beyond expectations for an executive education program. Also, the deep experience of David Sherman in the real estate marketplace was extremely valuable in conveying the meaning of these analyses and considerations in real-world transactions. The instructors are adept at engaging the students and both courses I have taken included lively discussions in the classroom. I would be remiss if I didn't comment on how helpful and welcoming the administrative staff was — really a terrific job. I highly recommend this program!"
— Janet Elms, Proprietor at JLC Consulting Services

“As a Columbia Business School Executive Education participant, I was impressed with the choreography of the program structure and very pleased with all the presentations delivered by an incredibly knowledgeable and seasoned faculty of professionals.”
— Joseph Federico, Vice President at NJ Micro Electronic Testing Inc



Christopher J. Mayer, Faculty Co-Director
Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate; Professor of Finance
Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business School

Christopher Mayer’s research explores a variety of topics in real estate and financial markets, including housing cycles, mortgage markets, debt securitization, and commercial real estate valuation. Professor Mayer is also CEO of Longbridge Financial, an innovative reverse mortgage company focused on delivering responsible home equity products to older Americans to help finance retirement. Mayer serves as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a director of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, and a member of the Academic Advisory Boards for Standard and Poor's and the Housing Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

Mayer is active in the media and advising policymakers, testifying six times before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, writing a paper for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and authoring numerous op-ed articles in major publications. He previously served as senior vice dean at Columbia Business School and held positions at the Wharton School, the University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He earned a BS in Math and Economics from the University of Rochester with highest honors and a PhD in Economics from MIT.

Hear more from Christopher Mayer in this video:


Tomasz Piskorski, Faculty Co-Director
Edward S. Gordon Professor of Real Estate, Columbia Business School

Tomasz Piskorski is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves on the Academic Research Council of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Professor Piskorski’s research explores issues in real estate finance, securities and mortgage markets, financial intermediation and banking, market structure and regulation, and housing policy. His recent work centers on inefficiencies in credit markets, financial technology, shadow banking, financial regulation, mortgage market reform, and the impact of consumer credit markets on the broader economy.

His research and market views have been presented at an array of academic, governmental, and financial institutions, including the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the London Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Banks, the European Central Bank, the National Association of Home Builders, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. He received the AQR Insight Distinguished Paper Award that recognizes research that provides the most significant, new practical insights for tax-exempt institutional or taxable investor portfolios.

Hear more from Tomasz Piskorski in this video:


David M. Sherman, Faculty Co-Director
Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, Metropolitan Real Estate
Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Columbia Business School

David Sherman is senior advisor and chairman of the Investment Committee at Metropolitan, a real estate investment management company that he co-founded in 2002. Sherman has more than 30 years of real estate investment, finance and analytical experience. In 2000, Sherman founded D. Sherman & Company, Inc., an advisory firm focused on strategic issues and transactions in the real estate securities industry.

Previously, Sherman was managing director of Salomon Smith Barney’s REIT research team, which covered more than 60 stocks and supported the firm’s $15 billion of REIT offering activity. At Smith Barney, Sherman created a new approach to evaluate global real estate securities and initiated global coverage of the sector. Sherman also held other positions in real estate finance, investment banking, and strategic planning at Smith Barney, The Harlan Company, First Boston, and Paine Webber, including acting as the Chief Financial Officer of Paine Webber Properties, a family of real estate funds with over $500 million in property investments.

For seven years, Sherman was an adjunct professor of Real Estate Finance at Columbia Business School. He is also the former chairman of the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) Institute Committee. He received an AB in Mathematical Economics (magna cum laude) from Brown University and an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.

Hear more from David Sherman in this video:


Stijn G. Van Nieuwerburgh, Faculty Co-Director
Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance

Professor Van Nieuwerburgh’s research lies in the intersection of housing, asset pricing, and macroeconomics. One strand of his work studies how financial market liberalization in the mortgage market relaxed households' down payment constraints, and how that affected the macro-economy, and the prices of stocks and bonds. In this area, he has also worked on regional housing prices, households’ mortgage choice, commercial real estate price formation, the impact of foreign buyers on the housing market, and mortgage market design.

Van Nieuwerburgh is editor at the Review of Financial Studies and a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and at the Center for European Policy Research. He has served as an advisor to the Norwegian Minister of Finance, and has been a visiting scholar at to the Central Bank of Belgium, the New York and Minneapolis Federal Reserve Banks, the Swedish House of Finance, the International Center for Housing Risk, and has contributed to the World Economic Forum project on real estate price dynamics.

Professor Van Nieuwerburgh was awarded the 15th Edition of the Bérnácer Prize for his research on the transmission of shocks in the housing market on the macro-economy and the prices of financial assets. The Bérnácer Prize is awarded annually to a European economist under the age of 40 who has made significant contributions in the fields of macroeconomics and finance.

Hear more from Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh in this video:


Along with Professors Mayer, Piskorski, Sherman, and Van Nieuwerburgh, additional Columbia Business School faculty contribute to and teach in the program.


Do you have questions about our live online programs? Please review our commonly asked questions on our live online programs FAQs page.