The GREM program is the first step on your path to leadership in the global real estate industry. The specific avenue you pursue upon graduation is up to you. Real estate activities are diverse—from development and construction to financing; from feasibility analysis and regulation to asset management and institutional investment; from research to urban planning, government affairs and more.
Commercial Real Estate Development
Commercial real estate developers create the built environment within cities, impacting the way societies live and interact for current and future generations. The successful developer creates and executes a development program meeting the needs of the market within the context of the physical geography, legal and political constraints, and return requirements to capital. The property development business is risky. Successful developers are detail and results-oriented. Strong financial analysis skills are required in addition to the ability to balance the demands of multiple projects and work effectively with a variety of partners including investors, contractors, community leaders, and regulators. The risk in development may be high, but the satisfaction and return can be even greater.
The creation and maximization of value, whether for a single asset or across a portfolio, requires the unique skills of asset managers. Deciding between working as part of an investment fund, full service real estate advisory firm, or directly for a property owner, are critical decisions asset managers must make in order to execute a successful investment strategy while facing the constantly changing dynamics of local property and capital markets. Whether acquiring assets as part of an investment strategy, repositioning assets through capital improvements, leasing strategies in response to changing local market dynamics, refinancing assets to optimize the risk adjusted investment returns, or disposing of assets to realize the results of the strategy, asset managers need a thorough understanding of property and capital market dynamics, strong analytical skills to recognize and measure opportunities, and team management skills to execute the strategy.
Commercial Lending and Real Estate Finance
Commercial banks which provide capital to real estate projects usually specialize in types of financing including construction lending, commercial mortgage-backed securities, or mezzanine financing. Jobs with banks or insurance companies will be highly analytical, requiring the performance of financial due diligence and market analysis. Good communication and networking skills are important in generating new business through relationships with commercial real estate developers and brokers. The state of the current mortgage environment also offers opportunities for independent loan modification companies which work with lenders and borrowers to restructure the terms of a loan.
Real Estate Securities Analysis and Investment
Publicly traded securities backed by real estate assets, such as real estate investment trusts or commercial mortgage-backed securities, have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, requiring specialized expertise to understand the dynamics of these specialized investment vehicles. The performance of any real estate security is connected to the dynamics of specific markets and properties within the underlying portfolio and subject to the specialized tax and legal structures that underlie the security, requiring a different expertise compared to traditional stocks and bonds. Whether working for an investment banking firm creating securities, a fund manager buying and selling securities, or as a securities analyst or rating agency, having strong financial analysis skills combined with knowledge of both real estate markets and public capital markets are keys to success.
Consulting and Advisory Services
The complexity of the real estate industry requires experts able to bring unique knowledge and skills needed to solve real estate challenges. Consultants and advisors assist clients through complex or specialized challenges, such as investment or leasing brokerage, appraisal and valuation, corporate real estate services, tax advisory services, or other specialized consulting. Graduates find rewarding opportunities at major brokerage firms, valuation firms, major accounting firms, and other professional services firms.
In addition to career opportunities in the private sector, real estate skills open up a wealth of opportunities in government (local and national) and intergovernmental agencies.
Urban Planning and Regulation
Urban or city planners work with city and state governments to manage the growth and development of communities for the benefit of inhabitants and the environment. Urban planners work with developers, investors, residents, and politicians to minimize pollution, congestion, and crime while maximizing property values, quality of life, and sustainability. Planners may work directly for a municipality or for a consulting firm.
A number of governments have greatly expanded their role in finance and real estate in response to economic conditions. Opportunities exist for examiners, accountants, and financial analysts as well as in the disposition of property. Government agencies regulate professional licensing, banking, and insurance transactions while also administering real estate incentives. Political action committees and trade associations influence state and federal regulations on major real estate issues. The regulatory environment for the global real estate sector keeps changing and significant opportunities exist in working with or lobbying government agencies.