Schools focus on industry changes

A look at new courses on timely industry topics as the academic year begins

As the ranks of New York City’s real estate professionals grow, so does demand for professional development and graduate-level education in the field. Manhattan’s real estate schools report that enrollment — from entry-level agent-certification courses to MBA programs for aspiring real estate executives — is on the rise.

Enrollment gains reflect the 8.6 percent increase in the number of licensed real estate salespeople in New York City since last year, according to Department of State data provided to The Real Deal. Core salesperson classes at the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College, for example, are increasing in size, and the school is also seeing growth in its other certificate courses. (It would not provide specific enrollment figures.)

At New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, graduate, professional certificate, and noncredit courses are also attracting more students. Between the spring semesters of 2013 and 2014, the school saw a 10 percent increase in enrollment in graduate programs, and a 27 percent increase in noncredit enrollment, according to figures provided by the school.

At Columbia University’s Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, which offers MBA and executive MBA programs, enrollment remained consistent in the aftermath of the financial crisis, despite a tight labor market, according to Lynne Sagalyn, the center’s director. But now that the industry has entered a new cycle of growth, the school is also attracting students who are not solely focused on a career in real estate.

“When real estate becomes hot again, not only do real estate–focused students want to take classes, but the regular finance students look around and say, ‘I ought to have real estate knowledge as part of my business knowledge,’ ” said Sagalyn.

To get a better sense of the type of real estate education prospective students can expect to obtain at these schools, TRD rounded up some of the new offerings in New York this fall:

Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College

Baruch College, part of the City University of New York, is offering courses on a range of timely topics. The school is launching a new course in affordable housing management, which covers the skills needed to maintain various types of affordable properties in an economically sustainable manner.

The Newman Institute will also explore the creation and evolution of vehicles such as mortgage securities and real estate investment trusts in a new class on real estate capital markets.

As foreign investment continues to flow into the U.S. real estate market, the school has devised a course on the EB-5 visa program, which provides a pathway for immigrant investors to obtain a green card.

And Baruch is also starting an exam course for the new version of LEED AP, the advanced credential in green building and rating. The course is not just for designers, but anyone in real estate who wants to understand the latest standards in green building and how to market them, said Nyman.

For details on individual courses and registration, visit

New York University Schack Institute of Real Estate

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New York University’s Schack Institute is offering several new courses as part of its masters programs in real estate, construction management and real estate development.

The school has new courses focused on understanding tools and techniques to meet the needs of underserved communities, including, “Affordable housing development” and “Community engagement in real estate development.”

The Schack Institute is also offering, “Technology in the construction industry,” a course focused on new technologies that can reduce the cost and implementation time for development projects.

The administration and faculty have also restructured the finance and investment certificate course requirements to give students the opportunity to develop their final projects within one of three specialized tracks: capital structure investments, corporate finance, and securities/portfolio investment options. The school believes greater flexibility will allow students to better align their academic training and professional goals.

In addition, the institute has developed a new concentration called “Global Real Estate” that ties together previously offered courses and aims to expose students to various frameworks for real estate development around the world. The concentration includes study trips to a number of U.S. and international cities.

For details on course offerings and admissions, visit

Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate at Columbia University

Columbia’s Milstein Center is integrating new topics into existing courses and introducing classes that are designed to respond to the financial crisis and the new realities of the current real estate cycle.

The school is refreshing its “Social Impact Real Estate Investing and Development,” course, which was previously taught by deputy mayor Alicia Glen. The two-part course now explores investment policy and finance for city development, and the financial tools that make affordable housing possible.

Michael Giliberto, former managing director of JPMorgan’s investment management business, will teach a course focused on designing and implementing strategies for managing large, private-market real estate investment portfolios. The course extends the center’s offerings in project-level real estate finance and investment management.

The school will continue its tradition of offering daylong seminars on emerging issues in the industry. One such event will examine the shift in the joint ventures landscape toward more 50-50 projects (rather than those with clear leaders) by examining how partners share financing risk and control decisions.

For more details on Columbia’s programs, visit