HELP - Career Advice

I currently work for a financial services firm as an analyst but want to pursue a career in real estate development. I graduated from Penn State four years ago with a B.S. in Economics but have no professional real estate experience.

I’ve recently applied to New York Universitys Masters in Real Estate program with a specialization in Development. But would this help me gain access to the industry and the career path that I want to be on? Or would an MBA suffice?

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Different people define “developing” differently. If by developing you mean changing property in some way to enhance its value (like by subdividing or getting zoning approvals), here are some thoughts (from a RE broker).

When I started brokering land 20 years ago, I tried without success to find books, courses, etc. Learned the hard way–by “extraction”, meaning I cornered people and pulled info out of them. Along the way, worked as Dir of Land Acq for a developer and builder organization finding property, analyzing feasibility, doing due diligence and helping to take it through approvals.

Education, I think, is a combination of theory and practice. If you want entree into the developing business, you’ll need to either work for a developer or partner up with them on a project. Developers in my area are always looking for property. Find one you think has potential and start the dialogue with developers. Even if they don’t buy the property, the dialogue could open a different door for you.



Thanks for your response. Unfortunately, it sounds easier said than done. If I could get a job with a developer I probably wouldn’t consider putting my life on hold to go to school in New York. Also, i’m not a realtor, or in the real estate industry for that matter. I work for a financial services firm and I don’t have any direct real estate development experience.

But are you basically trying to say that experience would be more benefitial than more schooling?

Thanks again.



If you presently have no involvement with real estate (investing or career-wise), then you would need to bridge that gap. I thought that perhaps you’d been looking at investing in property, and that’s why I suggested finding a property and using it to start a dialogue with a developer. I think you would need to start getting hand’s on exposure to real estate in some way. I’m not sure that you’re going to be able to get that from courses. These supply information but no contacts with people engaged in the business. Have you considered getting a RE license? This might be a good first step just to put you closer to the RE business. Nothing is easy–I certainly understand!