MBA Real Estate Program

Overview

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 premier 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.

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.

Curriculum

To focus your studies in real estate at Columbia Business School, students should take Real Estate Finance plus at least three additional courses (9 credits worth) from the following group of recommended real estate electives.

Real Estate Finance, offered every term, is the gateway course into the Real Estate Program. A blend of finance theory as applicable to real estate and practical skills of project analysis, this course is essential for all students who wish to take further coursework in real estate. As of fall 2012, the division offers students the option to take an exemption exam.

Additional courses in real estate, along with their requisites, are listed below. Since these courses are only offered in a particular term, students are advised to carefully plan their schedules.

Real Estate Electives

Courses are listed alphabetically after Real Estate Finance.

Course Term(s) offered Requirements Description
Real Estate Finance 
(B8331*)
fall, spring, summer

Corporate Finance (B6300) is a prerequisite. Capital Markets (B8306) is a co-requisite.

*EMBA course in summer term (B7331): Corporate Finance (B5300) is a prerequisite. Capital Markets (B7306) is a co-requisite.

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. 3 credits.

Advanced Real Estate Seminar
(B8340)
spring Corporate Finance (B6300), Real Estate Finance (B8331), and Real Estate Transactions (B8332) are prerequisites 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.

EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset and a Business
(B7493)

spring Corporate Finance (B5300) is a prerequisite. Those that have already taken B7331 Real Estate Finance should not enroll in this course as there will be overlap in content. 

The goal of this course is to make you knowledgeable and conversant about the principles of real estate. As both a physical asset and an investment asset with a defined location in space, real estate is strikingly different from other asset classes. Real estate benefits from several financing attributes that are especially beneficial to both the entrepreneur and the institutional investor; for example, the non-recourse character of much mortgage financing and favorable tax treatment makes refinancing a particularly advantageous way to monetize capital appreciation. These attributes in combination with low barriers to entry have made real estate an avenue to wealth for individuals and a source of portfolio diversification for investment entities. 3 credits.

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As an industry/business sector, real estate has grown in size and complexity over the past several decades. It has always been a capital-intensive business, so sources of capital and the structuring of transactions are essential components of operating in this field. The vast bulk of real estate assets represent almost everything around us—homes, apartments, retail, industrial, office, hotel, and recreational property, among other types—represent the existing stock. The business of real estate is the business of asset management, finance and investment, leasing, and acquisitions/dispositions of the existing stock, and these activities compromise the majority of real estate activity. 

This block week course is designed to provide you with an intensive dive into the fundamentals of commercial real estate finance. It will cover several broad topics:
  1. Scope and Character of the Global Real Estate Industry,
  2. Real Estate Finance and Investment; and
  3. Technological Disruption.
Please note any student that has already taken B7331 Real Estate Finance should NOT take this block week course as there will be overlap in content. 3 credits.

Global Real Estate Investment 
(B8337)
spring B term Corporate Finance (B6300) and Real Estate Finance (B8331) are prerequisites.  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.
NYC Immersion Seminar: Real Estate Development 
(B8447)
spring B term  Corporate Finance (B6300) and Real Estate Finance (B8331) are prerequisites.  This immersion course is designed to introduce students to the business of real estate development. Through a “tour” of different types of ground-up projects (rental housing, mixed-use development, and public-private development) in different locations (Long Island City, Brooklyn, Manhattan) under different business arrangements (family business, young entrepreneur, corporate, and joint-venture partnership), the course will deliver a broad-based overview of the development business. Given the block of time in each session, we will be able to delve into many of the granular aspects of development that make this field of endeavor so demanding and so dynamic.  At every level—physical site, program and design, financial feasibility, construction, tenant marketability, project management—real estate development is a detailed business. It is also singular in its impact on the built environment. Two of the projects we will visit are designed to shape a new district, a “place” in the argot of planning and urban design. From this perspective, the aspirations of developers extend beyond the monetary, especially when it comes to large-scale development, and therein lies the excitement—and also the creative drive and boldness to take on the significant risks of big complex projects. 1.5 credits.
PropTech and Real Estate Disruption
(B8341)
spring Real Estate Finance (B8331) is a co-requisite.  The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the recent disruptions in the real estate industry and provide them with an understating of the economic rationale driving such solutions. A large part of the course will focus on PropTech, that refers to businesses using technology to disrupt and improve the way we buy, rent, sell, manage, construct, and design residential and commercial properties. Those insights can help students make better real estate investment and development decisions for the future, including the development or investment in disruptive technologies and applications.  3 credits.
Real Estate Debt Markets
(B8453)
fall B term Corporate Finance (B6300), Capital Markets (B8306) and Real Estate Finance (B8331) are prerequisites. 

The development of commercial real estate debt markets has revolutionized the commercial real estate industry providing unprecedented capital availability and pricing, reshaping valuation metrics, heavily influencing private capital formation and providing real estate and security investors with a greater array of investment, hedging and arbitrage opportunities.  As the past several years have demonstrated, the integration of public debt markets also creates volatility that can be driven by factors well outside the realm of commercial properties. Indeed the flow of debt capital can often have a greater impact on property values than the trends underlying property market fundamentals.  Why asks an owner, did Russia’s debt default prevent me from refinancing my Kansas City shopping mall?  How did money market funds almost “breaking the buck” contribute to the collapse of commercial real estate property prices in 2008?  1.5 credits.

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Today’s professional real estate investor must have an investment view and strategy which are informed by and integrated with the opportunities and risks inherent not just in the property markets but in today’s capital markets as well.  In 2007 many thought balanced supply and demand fundamentals might cushion commercial real estate from the free fall in the oversupplied residential markets. Yet a thoughtful understanding of the complex connection between the two via the bond markets would have quickly apprised them otherwise. Understanding the real estate debt capital markets is essential for every commercial real estate borrower, lender or investor. 1.5 credits. 

Real Estate Entrepreneurship
(B8426)
fall Corporate Finance (B6300) is a prerequisite. Real Estate Finance (B8331/B7331) is a co-requisite. 

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). 3 credits.

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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. 

Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis
(B8454)
fall A term   Corporate Finance (B6300), Capital Markets (B8306) and Real Estate Finance (B8331) are prerequisites.  

REITs have existed as a legal form for over 55 years, but the modern REIT era can be traced to the early 1990’s. Since that time, the sector has grown from approximately $5.0 billion in assets to over $1.0 trillion. Perhaps more importantly, some argue that given the migration of assets and talent into the public markets these companies have become the primary value creation vehicles and operating platforms in the property sector. By some estimates REITs today comprise 15.0 - 20.0% of the investible commercial real estate market. The net result has been irrevocable structural change and increased industry stability. For our purposes however, the REIT sector has evolved into a very viable and credible investment class; the group now comprises a significant weighting of the major stock indices and has its own industry classification. 1.5 credits. 

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Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis will serve as a substantive introduction to the REIT and real estate securities sectors, conceptually, and as an investment.  The course will provide the requisite analytical tools to value real estate stocks; we will utilize conventional securities analysis tools, on an applied basis. The ultimate goal however, is to look at real estate securities investing holistically. As such, the course will incorporate qualitative, strategic and technical considerations into the quantitative valuation analyses – the intent is to reach more rigorous and successful investment conclusions.  We will utilize case studies and include senior guest speakers from issuing REITs as well as securities analysts and portfolio managers from the buyside and the sellside.  Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis will provide the actionable skills and broad analytical insight to participate successfully in a sector that has emerged as one of the most important drivers of the real estate industry globally.

Real Estate M&A Workshop (B8339) spring A term Corporate Finance (B6300), Real Estate Finance (B8331), and Real Estate Transactions (B8332) are prerequisites. 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.
Real Estate Portfolio Management
(B8336)
fall B term Corporate Finance (B6300) and Real Estate Finance (B8331) are prerequisites. Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis (B8454) and Real Estate Debt Markets (B8453) are strongly advised. This six-week course (offered A term in the spring) provides students with an introduction to the challenges and decisions faced by real estate portfolio managers. The focus is “macro” aspects of portfolio management, such as strategy and diversification, rather than buy or hold/sell decisions and business plans for individual assets. Examples include: key decision that affect performance; assessing alpha opportunities; evaluating risk-return tradeoffs. After completing this course students will 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 Private Equity
(B8334)
formerly Real Estate Project Class
spring Corporate Finance (B6300), Real Estate Finance (B8331), and Real Estate Transactions (B8332) are prerequisites. Real Estate Private Equity 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 creditsMore information.
Real Estate Transactions
(B8332)
fall Corporate Finance (B6300) is a prerequisite. Capital Markets (B8306) and Real Estate Finance (B8331) are co-requisites.

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. 3 credits.

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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. 

Residential Real Estate: Dirt, Debt, and Derivatives
(B8463)
fall Corporate Finance (B6300) is a prerequisite. Capital Markets (B8306) is a co-requisite.

The focus of this course is the $27 trillion US housing market, the largest real estate market in the world, a topic of ongoing interest but with particular resonance this year as the President and Presidential candidates debate how to privatize the GSEs and address the acute current lack of housing affordability that has resulted in decreased home ownership, greater renting, record homelessness, and a massive backlog in manufactured housing as first time home buyers are shut out of the traditional stick built market.

The course’s objective is to teach the student how to develop, value, finance, and invest in residential real estate and residential real estate debt securities and derivatives as well as to understand how the US residential financing system works.  Given its’ broad and deep sweep, students will learn about a wide range of topics ranging from the importance of fits and finishes in selling homes in a new subdivision,  to how to entitle land, to how blockchain is being used to disrupt the mortgage origination process, to how to create an Agency residential CMO companion bond.  A range of housing types will be covered including: single family subdivisions, market rate urban condominiums, low and moderate income housing, workforce and student housing, manufactured housing, and senior residential living communities, and rental apartments. 3 credits.

Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development
(B8428)
 
spring B term Corporate Finance (B6300) is a prerequisite. Real Estate Finance (B8331) is strongly recommended.

This course will explore what comprises, 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 U.S. 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”. 1.5 credits.

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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

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

Course Schedule

September Start | January Start 

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*
Internship
Second 3 courses plus electives:
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis
  • Real Estate Debt Markets
  • Real Estate Portfolio Management 
  • Real Estate Entrepreneurship
  • Residential Real Estate
2-3 courses plus electives:
  • Advanced Real Estate Seminar
  • Real Estate Private Equity (formerly Real Estate Project Class)
  • Real Estate M&A Workshop
  • Global Real Estate Investment
  • NYC Immersion Seminar: Real Estate Development
  • Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development
  • PropTech and Real Estate Disruption
  • EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset and a Business 

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*
Second 2 courses plus electives:
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis
  • Real Estate Debt Markets
  • Real Estate Portfolio Management 
  • Real Estate Entrepreneurship
  • Residential Real Estate
2-3 courses plus electives:
  • Advanced Real Estate Seminar
  • Real Estate Private Equity (formerly Real Estate Project Class)
  • Real Estate M&A Workshop
  • Global Real Estate Investment
  • NYC Immersion Seminar: Real Estate Development
  • Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development
  • PropTech and Real Estate Disruption
  • EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset and a Business 

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

Faculty

Name Courses taught biography
Christopher J. Mayer

Christopher J. Mayer
Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate 
Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate

Real Estate Entrepreneurship

EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset as a Business

Christopher Mayer is the Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate at Columbia Business School. His research explores a variety of topics in real estate and financial markets, including housing cycles, mortgage markets, debt securitization, and commercial real estate valuation. Dr. 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. Professor 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. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. 

Dr. 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. Dr. Mayer 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.

Tomasz Piskorski

Tomasz Piskorski
Edward S. Gordon Professor of Real Estate

Real Estate Finance

PropTech and Real Estate Disruption

Tomasz Piskorski is the Edward S. Gordon Professor of Real Estate in the Finance Division at Columbia Business School. He 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 earned a M.S. in Mathematics from New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and a Ph.D. in Economics from New York University Stern School of Business.

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. Professor Piskorski’s research has been published in top academic journals in economics and finance as well as featured in major media, including the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Economist. 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. Professor Piskorski has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. 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.

Brian Lancaster

Brian Lancaster
Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Finance

Real Estate Finance

Real Estate Entrepreneurship

Real Estate Debt Markets

Residential Real Estate: Dirt, Debt, and Derivatives

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 leading a student real estate study tour to Southeast Asia.  Formerly, he taught the Real Estate Capital Markets and Debt Markets and Instruments courses in the MBA and EMBA programs at the Stern School of Business, New York University.   

Professor Lancaster is also Founder and President of The Minot Group, LLC, a real estate finance, debt and derivatives markets consulting and investment firm. Domestic and international clients include:  Alliance Bernstein, Alinma Investment Co., Centerbridge, China Construction Bank, Citadel, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity, Fortress, FHLB, Goldman Sachs, Housing Finance Fund of Iceland, McKinley and Co., McKinsey and Co., McGraw Hill, MFS Investment Mgmt., Parthenon Capital, Ping An of China, Verisk, and Wells Fargo. The Minot Group, LLC was voted one of America’s Best Management Consulting Firms by Forbes in 2017, 2018 and 2019.  Recent projects include consulting with the FHLB regarding REITs, developing a callable bond program to finance callable residential mortgages, developing a new CRE finance data, analytics and capital markets business for a large global analytics firm and developing two multifamily projects. 

Prior to his current work, Professor Lancaster was Managing Director and Co-head of Structured Transactions Analytics, Risk and Strategy and Head of MBS, CMBS, and ABS Strategy at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Prior to joining RBS, Professor Lancaster was the Chief Investment Officer of the $85 billion Real Estate Division of Wells Fargo/Wachovia and Head of Structured Products Research at the same company for nine years.  He was also a Managing Director Principal at Bear Stearns where he led research teams in Agency MBS, CMOs and CMBS for eleven years.  He was voted by clients onto Institutional Investor’s All America Research team as a top three research analyst for several years.  He was also a Senior Economist Capital Markets at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Bank of England in London for five years. 

Professor Lancaster received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his MBA from the Stern School of Business, NYU and a Masters of Public and International Affairs from Columbia University where he was selected as an International Fellow.

He is a former Executive Board member of the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, where he testified before the House Financial Services Committee, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Controller of the Currency and the US Treasury Department on the real estate crisis, the capital markets and financial regulations. 

Professor Lancaster has published two books, including Structured Products and Related Credit Derivatives with Frank Fabozzi and Glenn Schultz, Wiley Publishing and numerous journal articles on topics related to real estate, capital markets and securitization. He is the former Editor-in Chief of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Journal.   He has also lectured occasionally at Duke University and the Wharton School of Business. 

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate

Real Estate Finance

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh is the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, which he joined in July 2018.

His 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.Professor Van Nieuwerburgh has published articles in the Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review, Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial Economics, and the Journal of Monetary Economics, among other journals. He is Editor at the Review of Financial Studies.  He is 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.

Zach Aarons ’13
Adjunct Professor 

Real Estate Entrepreneurship

Zach Aarons has been working at the intersection of real estate and venture capital for the past decade.  Zach is the most active early-stage PropTech investor in the United States, having funded over 60 startups in the space as an individual as well as 40 startups (and counting) through MetaProp NYC's venture capital funds.  In addition to early-stage investing, Zach has worked on large scale mixed-use development projects in cities like Boston and Los Angeles with Millennium Partners.  He has experience with real estate development, commercial asset management, property marketing, and commercial leasing.   

Prior to joining Millennium and founding MetaProp NYC, Zach was a Senior Associate at ENIAC Ventures, a seed stage mobile technology fund and the founder of Travelgoat, an online and offline walking tour business. He began his career as an analyst at boutique investment bank Peter J. Solomon Company.

Outside of work, Zach currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Tenement Museum.  Zach is an Assistant Adjunct Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.  He serves on the Technology Committee for the Real Estate Board of New York and the Technology and Real Estate Council for the Urban Land Institute.  Previously, Zach was the Treasurer of the Board of Directors for The Lowline and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude with an A.B. from Brown University in Ancient Studies and earned an MBA from Columbia Business School. 

Zach has been featured in dozens of international publications and media, including The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Real Deal, Curbed, Commercial Observer, Propmodo, The Information, TechCrunch, Bisnow, Forbes, The Real Estate Weekly, Crain's, and Cheddar.  He is a frequent speaker at global PropTech events including the Urban Land Institute, MIPIM, Realcomm, Argus Connect, SuperReturn International, and the Columbia/Goodwin Real Estate Capital Markets Conference.

Brian Blaesser
Adjunct Professor 

NYC Immersion Seminar: Real Estate Development

Brian Blaesser practices in the areas of commercial real estate development and redevelopment, leasing, multifamily residential development, land use law and litigation, environmental and renewable energy law, and condemnation law.

Camille Douglas
Adjunct Professor

Global Real Estate Investment

Camille Douglas is a senior executive in the real estate industry with over 30 years experience executing real estate transactions and financial strategy including corporate and project level acquisitions and dispositions, debt and equity financing and restructurings and recapitalizations.  Her career has also included pioneering work on commercial mortgage back securities and cross border equity investment.

Camille is currently a Senior Managing Director, Acquisitions and Capital Markets, at LeFrak. Since joining the firm in January 2010, she has been responsible for strategic real estate acquisitions and development outside New York and led the company’s expansion into the Miami market in 2011 after focusing on the UK in 2010-2011.

From 1999 to 2010, she was the Founding Principal of Mainstreet Capital Partners, specializing in transaction oriented real estate investment advisory services including the privatization of the Canary Wharf Group in the UK, a $300m partnership/private equity raise for Cyrela Commercial Properties (“CCP”), a listed Brazilian company and a $200m industrial development joint venture between Pro Logis (formerly AMB) and CCP. In addition to Lefrak and the aforementioned, her clients at Mainstreet included other leading real estate companies around the world including Westbrook Partners in the UK, Cadillac Fairview and IPC US Income Commercial REIT in Canada, Boston Properties, Boston Consulting Group and Yale and Brown Universities in the US and Westcourt Real Estate in India.

From 1982-1994, she was a Senior Vice President at Olympia & York, responsible for US and UK corporate financial strategy including the execution of all US structured debt and equity financing. In that capacity, she pioneered the first commercial mortgage backed securitizations and was responsible for the company’s US acquisitions and dispositions. Prior to joining O&Y, she was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley executing portfolio dispositions, M&A transactions, and development joint ventures.

In 2017, Ms. Douglas joined the Real Estate Advisory Committee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of Starwood Property Trust, where she is a member of the Audit Committee, since 2010. She has previously served on the Boards of several not for profit organizations including the King Hussein Foundation, the Albany Academy and the Harvard Club of New York.

Ms. Douglas has been an Adjunct Professor in Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School since 2005, teaching a course on Global Real Estate Investment. She has previously taught Real Estate Capital Markets at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and has guest lectured at Harvard Business School, Yale School of Management, the Wharton School and the Tuck School.

Ms. Douglas received her Master of Urban Planning degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 1977.  During her studies at Harvard, she served as a teaching assistant to Harvard Business School Professor William Poorvu and studied at both the Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School.  Ms. Douglas received a BA from Smith College in 1973, and also was an exchange student at Williams College 1970-71. In addition, she has studied land use and environmental law at the University of British Columbia School of Law and Albany Law School respectively.

Michelle Felman
Adjunct Professor

Advanced Seminar in Real Estate

Michelle Felman is an Adjunct Professor of Business at Columbia Business School. She is a Trustee of Forest City Realty Trust (NYSE: FCE) where she serves on the Compensation Committee.  Professor Felman is also a Trustee of The Partners Group (PGPHF), a global private equity firm where she serves as the Chair of the Investment Oversight Committee.  She also sits on the Board of the Turner Impact Fund, a social impact platform that invests in education, workforce housing and healthcare.  She is a member of the Board of Directors at the Cumming Corporation, a global construction management firm and Reonomy, a real estate technology platform.  She is the founder of JAM Holdings, an investment and advisory firm.

Professor Felman began her career at Morgan Stanley in the Investment Banking Division after graduating with an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  She later joined GE Capital as a Managing Director of Business Development, where she was responsible for the acquisition of real estate and non-performing loans from the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), banks and insurance companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. In her role, she was responsible for setting strategy for entering new markets and developing new products for the commercial real estate division.

From 1997 to 2010, she served as Executive Vice President - Acquisitions and Capital Markets of Vornado Realty Trust.  During her tenure, she helped grow the REIT from a $3 billion equity capitalization company to a $16 billion equity capitalization company.  During that same period, Vornado diversified from a strip center company into the largest owner of office buildings in New York City and Washington DC.  She remained a consultant to VNO through 2012. She served as a Board member of LNR, the largest special servicer in the United States, until the company was sold to Starwood Capital in 2013. 

At CBS, Professor Felman co-teaches Advanced Seminar in Real Estate with Adjunct Professor Russell Platt of Forum Partners. She co-authored the case study on The Amazon/Whole Foods Market Transaction: Implications & Impacts on REITs (2017). In a recent interview with Joy Kang ’18, she discussed her thoughts on the current real estate market as well as her experience and advice to aspiring young professionals.

Michael Giliberto
Adjunct Professor

Real Estate Portfolio Management

Michael Giliberto retired in 2010 as a Managing Director at JPMorgan Asset Management, the global investment management business of JPMorgan Chase.  Mr. Giliberto oversaw U.S. real estate portfolio management and global strategy and research within the Global Real Assets Group.

Mr. Giliberto is a director of the Hunt Companies, Inc., a private real estate operating company, and Empire State Realty Trust, a publicly traded REIT.  He chairs both firms’ Audit Committees. He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Real Estate at the University of Washington and has been an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business since 2007. In addition, Mr. Giliberto has consulted for several large investment management organizations.

Working with John B. Levy, Mr. Giliberto created the Giliberto-Levy Commercial Mortgage Performance Index.

During his corporate career, Mr. Giliberto authored numerous publications about investments and capital markets and spoke frequently at industry events.  He served as both Treasurer and Chairman of the Pension Real Estate Association, and held board positions with the Real Estate Research Institute and the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association. In 1996, PREA’s Graaskamp Award for Research Excellence was given to Mr. Giliberto.

Before joining J.P. Morgan in 1996, Mr. Giliberto was a Managing Director at Lehman Brothers and Director of Real Estate Research at Salomon Brothers. Prior to coming to Wall Street, he was a professor in the Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Before commencing Ph.D. studies, he was Manager of Investment Research at Aetna's Real Estate Investment Department.

Mr. Giliberto was awarded a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Washington, holds an M.A. in Business Economics from the University of Hartford and earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard College.

John T. Haggerty
Adjunct Associate Professor of Business

Real Estate M&A Workshop John Haggerty is a partner in and co-chair of Goodwin’s Public M&A / Corporate Governance practice. He works on a wide variety of corporate and securities matters, including public and private mergers and acquisitions, public and private offerings of equity and debt securities by public companies, corporate governance and other matters of general corporate and securities law. He has been recognized in the Corporate/M&A: Capital Markets category by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

Andrew Jacobs ’96
Adjunct Professor

Real Estate Private Equity Andrew Jacobs is a Managing Director and Partner at Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management, having joined the firm in 2008. Professor Jacobs is responsible for identifying, evaluating and overseeing real estate private equity fund managers and investment opportunities. Investments span the capital stack, property types and global markets, but his focus is managers based in the eastern United States and Brazil. Professor Jacobs also seeks and reviews opportunities to purchase interests in underlying funds on the secondary market. For the ten years prior to Metropolitan, Professor Jacobs was with Angelo, Gordon & Co. where he undertook senior level acquisition and asset management responsibilities for a diversified portfolio, consisting of 50 properties located throughout the U.S. with a total capitalization of $1.7 billion. The funds in which Professor Jacobs worked included the opportunistic and core plus strategies. Prior to working at Angelo Gordon, Professor Jacobs was a project manager for Hines. Based at Hines' Houston corporate headquarters, Professor Jacobs oversaw the development of a 473 room Westin hotel and the disposition of a large portfolio of industrial properties that formed the foundation of Gerald Hines' portfolio. Before Hines, Professor Jacobs worked for Campbell Soup, selling surplus industrial properties and selecting retail locations for Campbell's subsidiary, Godiva Chocolatier. Professor Jacobs's first real estate position was working for Grubb & Ellis in their Philadelphia office. Professor Jacobs is active in several architecture preservation organizations in New York and has been a member of ULI since 1994. Professor Jacobs holds an MBA in Real Estate Finance from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in the History of Art from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gil G. Menna
Lecturer in Business

Real Estate M&A Workshop

Gil Menna is a partner in the firm's Business Law Department and serves as co-chair of its Real Estate, REITs & Real Estate Capital Markets Group. Mr. Menna participates in the M&A/Corporate Governance, Securities & Corporate Finance, Private Investment Funds and Tax Practices. He is a prior member of Goodwin Procter's Management and Executive Committees. WORK FOR CLIENTS Mr. Menna is nationally recognized for his representation of some of the nation’s leading publicly traded real estate operating companies in connection with their corporate finance, corporate governance, and merger and acquisition transactions. In addition to his extensive knowledge of the REIT industry, Mr. Menna also has significant experience representing a variety of real estate investment managers in connection with their fund formation, portfolio acquisition, and merger and acquisitions transactions. Since 2005, Mr. Menna has been involved on behalf of the firm's clients in structuring and executing REIT transactions totaling more than $109 billion, with $94 billion in M&A transactions and $15 billion in equity or debt securities transactions. PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES Mr. Menna is a member of the board of directors of New York University's Real Estate Institute's REIT Center, a Board Associate member of NAREIT and a member of the Real Estate Roundtable. MEDIA Mr. Menna has written and lectured extensively on topics in real estate securities and mergers & acquisitions, as well as on tax law issues facing the real estate capital markets industry. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Columbia Business School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Real Estate, where he lectures on the legal representation of publicly traded real estate operating companies. BAR AND COURT ADMISSIONS Mr. Menna is admitted to practice in California, Massachusetts and New York. RECOGNITION Mr. Menna was honored in November 2010 by NAREIT with the Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the REIT industry. The award was given in connection with the 50th anniversary of the legislation that established the REIT. Mr. Menna is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. In addition, he has been cited frequently in the legal press and was previously selected for inclusion in The American Lawyer's "Forty-five Under 45" - a list of young lawyers "who are making their mark today and will lead the profession tomorrow".

Jennifer M. Morgan
Lecturer in Business

Real Estate Transactions

Jennifer Morgan specializes in real estate private equity. A partner in King & Spalding's Real Estate practice, Jennifer represents sponsors and institutional investors in a range of real estate investments and transactions.

Jennifer advises clients on structuring and negotiating fund formations and other capital transactions, including private real estate investment trusts and other structured investments. She often represents real estate private equity clients in connection with joint ventures, asset and entity-level acquisitions and dispositions, and related transactions.

James Patchett
Adjunct Assistant Professor

Social Impact Real Estate

The President and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corporation, James Patchett has spent his career building stronger cities through investments in affordable housing, innovation, and 21st century infrastructure. In his current role overseeing job growth and economic development for the City of New York, James taps into his deep experience in real estate, finance, government, and urban planning. During his tenure, he has overseen some of the city’s most ambitious projects, including launching a citywide ferry system, developing Mayor de Blasio’s 100,000 jobs plan, and optimizing NYCEDC’s 60 million square feet of real estate.

Prior to his appointment as NYCEDC President in 2016, James served as chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, where he helped oversee more than 25 city agencies and played a pivotal role in preserving thousands of affordable homes. Before moving to City Hall, James was a vice president in Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group, where he spent seven years providing equity and debt to projects ranging from commercial developments to housing to charter schools.

James currently serves on the board of the Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization responsible for running and maintaining one of Brooklyn’s most beloved greenspaces.

James holds a BA in Economics from Amherst College and an MBA from Stanford University. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and their two young children.

Russell Platt
Adjunct Professor of Business

Advanced Seminar in Real Estate

Mr. Russell C. Platt serves as the Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Forum Partners Investment Management LLC. He serves as Chief Investment Officer of Dividend Capital Investments at Dividend Capital Group LLC. He served as the Managing Director of Security Capital Research & Management, responsible for its private equity and international investment businesses and the President of JER Partners - International. He served as the Managing Director of Security Capital Group Incorporated. Mr. Platt served as the Managing Director of Morgan Stanley & Co., where from 1982 to 1999, he was involved in all aspects of its real estate business. He founded and managed the global real estate department of Morgan Stanley Asset Management. He served as the Chief Investment Officer of Dividend Capital Realty Income Allocation Fund and Dividend Capital Investments. He served as the Chairman at Crown Mortgage Management, Ltd. He was principally responsible for the portfolio management of the Fund and serves on the Adviser's Board of Managers. He had been a Member of the Supervisory Board at DIC Asset AG since November 8, 2005 until July 2015. He is a Member of the Advisory Boards of the National Multi Housing Council, The Wharton Real Estate Center and the MIT Center for Real Estate. He serves as a Trustee of Board of Managers of Dividend Capital Investments LLC and an Adviser of Dividend Capital Realty Income Allocation Fund. He serves as a Director of Keystone Property Trust. He served as Chairman of Link Mortgage Services Ltd. He served as a Director of Tower Realty Trust Inc. since March 1998. He served as Trustee Nominee at Workspace Property Trust. He served as a Director of Keystone Property Trust from June 1999 to June 2001. He has over 30 years’ experience and career in real estate finance and investment in Europe and North America. Mr. Platt received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1986 and graduated from Williams College in 1982 with a B.A. degree in Economics, Magna Cum Laude.

Ross Smotrich '83 
Adjunct Associate Professor

Real Estate Securities Analysis

Ross L. Smotrich joined Barclays in September 2008 and is currently a managing director and senior research analyst responsible for the US real estate investment trust (REIT) and real estate securities sectors. Previously, Mr. Smotrich joined Lehman Brothers in June 2008 after 10 years as a senior managing director at Bear Stearns and four years as a senior equity analyst at Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Smotrich has ranked in Institutional Investor’s “All-America Research Team” survey nine times and has twice been named to The Wall Street Journal’s “All-Star Analysts” survey (earnings forecasting). Before moving to sell-side research, Ross was a real estate banker for Chemical Bank doing lending, investment banking, and workout.

Mr. Smotrich earned an MBA from Columbia University in Finance/Real Estate and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Diplomatic History/International Economics.

Ivo de Wit ’17
Adjunct Professor

EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset as a Business

Ivo de Wit is a Managing Director and Fund Manager of the Global Alpha Fund. Based in London, Ivo is a member of the GIP Executive Committee and he is responsible for performance, strategy, and investment decision making of the global portfolios. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow at Columbia Business School.

Ivo joined CBRE Global Investors in July 2010. Prior to this Ivo worked at ING Real Estate as Global Portfolio Manager in London, where he was responsible for managing global non-listed real estate investment accounts for institutional clients. Before that, Ivo was part of the Global Executive Team of ING Real Estate Investment Management. He has been responsible for strategic planning, asset allocation, investment selection and performance monitoring for both listed and unlisted funds. During his more than 20-year real estate investment career, he has worked in various regions around the world focusing on business and strategic direction, executing new business opportunities and allocating seed capital. In New York, Ivo was a Vice President for Clarion Partners.

Ivo has a Ph.D. in Finance from Maastricht University and an MBA from the Joint Global Executive Program from Columbia Business School and London Business School.

Richard Wolfe
Adjunct Professor

Real Estate Transactions Richard A. Wolfe is a tax partner resident in Fried Frank's New York office.  He joined Fried Frank in 1988 and became a partner in 1995.

Mr. Wolfe has extensive experience in a full range of real estate transactions, including real estate joint ventures; formation of real estate funds; UPREIT and Down-REIT transactions; private REIT transactions; tax-efficient acquisitions and dispositions of real estate; forward and reverse like-kind exchanges; structuring foreign investment in US real estate; restructuring of distressed real estate; acquisitions of distressed real estate loans; real estate financings and refinancings; and dealing with New York taxes relating to real estate, including the real estate transfer tax, the commercial rent or occupancy tax, the mortgage recording tax and the property tax.

In addition, Mr. Wolfe has substantial experience in corporate, partnership and international transactions, including taxable and tax-free mergers and acquisitions; tax-free spin-offs; joint ventures, in both corporate and partnership form.

Mr. Wolfe is regularly involved in cross border tax planning, both inbound and outbound, with particular focus on minimizing global taxes, strategic placement of assets within a worldwide group, Subpart F, FIRPTA and tax treaties.

Mr. Wolfe understands the business needs of his clients and works with them to structure transactions in a tax efficient manner that also accomplishes their business objectives. He views tax issues as “deal” issues rather than an issue for just one party – a transaction needs to work for both parties from a tax perspective, or the deal won't proceed. He comes up with creative solutions to complex real estate transactions by focusing on both the transactional and tax aspects of the deal to maximize value for all parties. 

Mr. Wolfe also has substantial experience in handling tax controversy matters, particularly dealing with IRS field agents, appeals officers and district counsel on significant audit issues.

Mr. Wolfe has given numerous presentations on a variety of real estate topics, and is an adjunct professor in the graduate program in real estate at the Columbia Business School.

Real Estate Private Equity

The Real Estate Private Equity 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 a specific company sponsor.  Student groups, usually consisting of three to four students, work with an outside project sponsor to create a project presentation based on a current, real-world sponsor need.

Additionally, the course delves into fundamental real estate private equity topics, including return drivers, risk assessment and mitigation, joint venture and fund structures, secondary investments and leasing.  Practitioners are often guest speakers.

The highlight of the class for many students is learning how to “triage” deal flow.  This consists of weekly investment cases where the class asks Professor Jacobs ('96) key deal questions based on nothing more than an image of an asset and a map projected on the class screen.  Thereafter, the students must come up with a “back of the envelope” analysis to determine if a more thorough evaluation of the deal is necessary.


Course Prerequisites

Students wishing to enroll in Private Equity must have taken Corporate Finance (B6300), Real Estate Finance (B8331), and Real Estate Transactions (B8332). Previous real estate experience is highly recommended.


Private Equity Final Presentations

Students explore entrepreneurial real estate opportunities through Real Estate Private Equity. In the class, students work on group projects with industry sponsors. Under the founding idea of the competition, students working in groups are given an opportunity to take the kernel of an idea, develop it into a comprehensive business plan, and make an oral presentation of the plan to their class. Through their participation, students enhance their research, problem-solving, team work, and presentation skills.

Class participants present their plans to a group of senior professionals, faculty members, members of the Real Estate Circle, alumni, mentors, and peers. The Real Estate Private Equity Final Presentation event is followed by a reception and awards ceremony. Cash prizes are awarded to top-scoring plans as judged by a panel of Columbia Business School alumni and real estate practitioners. Some winners take their plans on to further success, additional funding, or mentoring. Students may also explore the annual Columbia Shark Tank Competition through the The Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School.

Special thanks go to Daniele D. Bodini ’72, the sponsor of the 2009-2019 competitions, and Sheldon Seevak, the competition creator, as well as to the competition judges and industry participants. Read about past presentations and winners →


Testimonials

"The Real Estate Private Equity course gives students a real-world look at how investors approach complex real estate investment opportunities. Through class lectures on different aspects of investment due diligence and in-depth working sessions with project Sponsors, students gain a realistic sense of how what is required to successfully create and execute on a real estate investment thesis. The class has sharpened my real estate fundamentals and entrepreneurial outlook more than any other class at CBS!" —Kenny Thompson ’19

“The Real Estate Private Equity Class proved to be one of the most rewarding academic experiences of my MBA experience .  The course provided an opportunity to apply the theory I learned throughout the MBA to a real world opportunity – an exercise that deepened my understanding of fundamental real estate principles and built confidence for my post MBA career.  A world-class instructor and a dedicated project sponsor also provided a level of insight into Real Estate Private Equity to which I never previously had access.” — Kevin Cullen ’19


Get Involved as a Project Sponsor

If you and your company are interested in sponsoring a project for this course, please contact:

Angela E. Lee
Associate Director
ael2165@gsb.columbia.edu

Real Estate Industry in the Classroom

Companies value the human capital available through the MBA Real Estate Program. Through case studies, guest lectures, and Q&A, students trade insight with corporate participants, many of them important players in the field, including the following from the 2018–2019 school year.

Advanced Seminar in Real Estate | EMBA Block Week Course | Global Real Estate Investment | NYC Immersion Seminar: Real Estate Development | Real Estate Debt Markets | Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis | Real Estate Entrepreneurship | Real Estate Finance | Real Estate M&A Deal Workshop | Real Estate Portfolio Management | Real Estate Private Equity | Real Estate Transactions | PropTech and Real Estate Disruption | Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development 

Advanced Seminar in Real Estate
Instructors: Russell Platt, Michelle Felman
Dean Adler, Lubert-Adler
David Belt, DBI Projects
Jason Blank, Brockton Capital
David Brush, Merlin Properties
Mariana Circiumaru, Green Oak Real Estate
Jay Cross, Related Hudson Yards
Mike Fascitelli, Imperial Company
John Grassi, Spear Street Capital
Ron Kravit, Cerberus Capital
Mike LaBelle, Boston Properties
David Marks, Brockton Capital
Andrea Olshan CBS ’04, Olshan Properties

EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset & Business
Instructors: Chris Mayer, Ivo de Wit '17
Richard Cohen, GTIS Partners
Leah Dillon, Prologis
Mary Lang, Prologis
Jennifer Morgan, King & Spalding
Jenna Sheehan, Harrison Street

Global Real Estate Investment
Instructor: Camille J. Douglas
Peter Ballon, CPPIB
Dan Dubrowski, Lionstone Group
Adam Gallistel ’04, GIC
Benjamin Griswold, Blue Water Worldwide
Ankur Gupta, India
Susan Petrela, Red Reef Partners, L.P. 
Camilo Varela, Equity International
Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments

NYC Immersion Seminar: Real Estate Development
Instructor: Brian Blaesser
Chris Balestra, Taconic Investment Partners
Isaac Henderson, L+M Development Partners
Rohan Mehra, Prusik Group LLC
Jeremy Shell ’04, TF Cornerstone
Philippe Visser ’04, Related Companies
Demetrios Yatrakis ’10, Lonicera Partners

Real Estate Entrepreneurship
Instructor: Christopher Mayer
Zach Aarons ‘13, Metaprop
Tripty Arya '12, Travtus
Joe Azrack ’72, Azrack & Company
Matthew Baron '07, Simon Baron Development 
Nick Bienstock '96, Savanna
Chris Bledsoe, Ollie
Bill Ferguson, Ferguson Partners
Eric Hadar '89, Allied Partners
Adam Kaufman,  ArborCrowd
Nancy Lashine '81, Park Madison Partners
Neville Rhone Jr., Arc Capital Partners
Susannah Vila ’13, Flip
Yulia Yaani ’08, RealAtom

Real Estate Debt Markets
Instructor: Brian Lancaster
Jacob Feingold '14, Canyon Partners
Richard Hill, Morgan Stanley
Ron Kravitz, Cerberus Real Estate Capital Management
Steven Marks, Fitch Ratings

Real Estate Equity Securities Analysis
Instructor: Ross Smotrich '83
Nora Creedon, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
Conor Flynn, Kimco Realty
Jay Leupp, Lazard Asset Management
Jamie Handwerker, HKS Capital
David Neithercut '82, Equity Residential 
Matt Rand CFA, J.P. Morgan Asset Management 
Stuart Seeley, Morgan Stanley Investment Management

Real Estate Finance
Instructors: Brian Lancaster (fall & summer), Tomasz Piskorski (spring)
Kenneth Caplan, Blackstone
Peter Lewis, CEO, Wharton Equity Partners
Michael Sarkozi, Wells Fargo

Real Estate M & A Deal Workshop
Instructors: John Haggerty, Gil Menna
Ted Bigman, Morgan Stanley Investment Management
Michael Connor, Morgan Stanley
Zach Eckler, Goldman Sachs
Rob Gifford, Lehman Brothers Holdings
Steve Hentschel, HFF
Jens Thomas Jung, Citigroup Global Banking
Jonathan Litt, Land and Buildings
Gregory S. Wright, Digital Realty Trust

Real Estate Portfolio Management
Instructor: Michael Giliberto
Uchi Akeujo, Simon Property Group
Nancy Brown, JP Morgan Asset Management
Brian Carr, HighBrook Investors
Manny Casagna, NYS Common Retirement System
Ann Cole, JP Morgan
John Kessler, Empire State Realty Trust
Ivo de Wit '17, CBRE Global Investors

Real Estate Private Equity
Instructor: Andrew Jacobs '96
David Lei, Carlyle 
Gregorio Schneider, TC Latin America Partners
Sarah Schwarzschild, The Carlyle Group

Real Estate Transactions
Instructors: Jennifer Morgan, Richard Wolfe
Janice Mac Avoy, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson 
Sarah Robinson Borders, King & Spalding 
|Rick Jones, Dechert, LLC
Sam Judd, Asana Partners
Libby Kislak, Blackstone
Matt Lustig, Lazard
Jon Mechanic, Fried, Frank, Harris,
Steven Plavin, Blackstone
Kevin O’Shea, Milbank
Lynne B. Sagalyn, Columbia Business School
David Sherman, Metropolitan Real Estate
Ross Silver, Fried, Frank, Harris,
Rob Sorin, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson 
Mark Thigpen, King & Spalding
Glen Weiss, Vornado Realty Trust

PropTech and Real Estate Disruption
Instructor: Tomasz Piskorski
Zach Aarons, MetaProp NYC
Alexander S. Albert, Common
Zubin Canteenwalla, Common
Derek Cedarbaum, Enertiv
Kyung Sun Chung, Holistic Growth Initiatives
Jim Costello, Real Capital Analytics
Colin George, CEO, Real Factors
Lou Hong, Dealpath
Gary Kao, Dealpath
Adam Kauffman, ArborCrowd
Thomas Klocanas, ConsenSys
Cindy Lin, Juniper Square
Michael Mandel, CompStak
Elizabeth Porras, Juniper Square
Lisa Shaforostova, CBRE
Michael Sroka, Dealpath
Greg Thompson, Skystone Group
Jonathan Wasserstrum, SquareFoot

Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development
Instructor: James Patchett
Margaret Anadu, Goldman Sachs
Chris Balestra, L+M Development
Charlie Bendit, Taconic Investment Partners
Andrew Kimball, Industry City
Nedeem Meghji, Blackstone
Rohan Mehra, Prusik
Ron Moelis, L+M Development
Colleen Wenke, Taconic Investment Partners