College Degree for a proffesional investor??

28 Replies

Ok investors,

So this is the boat I am in. I am going to get into the student housing game while I am in college. I am a veteran and I would almost be a fool not to go because the military pays me a salary to get an education. So, I figure I will be there so I might as well rent my place out and build from there.  So! I know I want to do this for the long term, the big crazy dream is to have a big awesome development company where I build houses ( or maybe commercial property) for sale or rent. I will have to declare a major sooner or later I am kind of resting on my laurels right now just doing the Gen Eds. Is there anybody out there wiser then me that, if they had to choose, could recommend either finance or construction management as a major? Also, Im at UF in Gainesville FL if any investors want to meet for coffee :). Thanks, guys.

Originally posted by @Jacob L White :

Ok investors,

So this is the boat I am in. I am going to get into the student housing game while I am in college. I am a veteran and I would almost be a fool not to go because the military pays me a salary to get an education. So, I figure I will be there so I might as well rent my place out and build from there.  So! I know I want to do this for the long term, the big crazy dream is to have a big awesome development company where I build houses ( or maybe commercial property) for sale or rent. I will have to declare a major sooner or later I am kind of resting on my laurels right now just doing the Gen Eds. Is there anybody out there wiser then me that, if they had to choose, could recommend either finance or construction management as a major? Also, Im at UF in Gainesville FL if any investors want to meet for coffee :). Thanks, guys.

My two degrees didn't help with my investing. I'd suggest teaming up with someone and actually buying a property. Your VA loan ability has some advantages but it doesn't have to be used. You can simply buy by taking over someone's loan, fix the place up and sell or not sell, depending on your goals. It's call Subject To, do a search in the search window for BP.

Thank you for your service.   Hard to go wrong with finance, economics or accounting.  At any rate, I would look at joining ULI, NAIOP, and ICSC.

look into healthcare! Has nothing to do with investing but can provide a strong financial foundation to support your real estate dreams!

Originally posted by @Jacob L White :

Ok investors,

So this is the boat I am in. I am going to get into the student housing game while I am in college. I am a veteran and I would almost be a fool not to go because the military pays me a salary to get an education. So, I figure I will be there so I might as well rent my place out and build from there.  So! I know I want to do this for the long term, the big crazy dream is to have a big awesome development company where I build houses ( or maybe commercial property) for sale or rent. I will have to declare a major sooner or later I am kind of resting on my laurels right now just doing the Gen Eds. Is there anybody out there wiser then me that, if they had to choose, could recommend either finance or construction management as a major? Also, Im at UF in Gainesville FL if any investors want to meet for coffee :). Thanks, guys.

Thank you for your service Jacob. The best way to advance in your real estate/construction goals is to apprentice those who are already doing it. Most people I know in the construction business did the same. If they did get a degree, its has been in something unrelated. If you want to work in construction and development...work at it, don't learn about it. Getting a degree may be good to get you hired somewhere, then you'll really start learning.

Too bad BP doesn't offer degree's...yet @Joshua Dorkin ? @Brandon Turner ?

Speaking as a new investor, I am relying on my Business Administration/Finance degree to help me understand things like time value of money and analytical considerations. Not sure how it will serve me long term.

@Jacob L White Real Estate investing takes money. Either your own or someone else’s. If you’re going to use your own and you don’t already have a nest egg ready to be used, then it is a good idea to get a job where you can show a high W2 income. This will help you get loans. You can plan your schooling around getting a degree around something that interests you that can also provide a solid W2 income.

You don’t need any type of degree to be a real estate investor though. In general, the school system tends to lag behind when it comes to the current market because of the time it takes to create curriculum vs the time it takes for the market conditions to change. Finding someone who has lived through and invested through different market changes may be able to give you immediate information that would be important for investing today. Thus a mentor could be more valuable to you overall than a college degree when it comes to investing in my opinion.

Additionally, the skill in raising money may be more valuable than even getting a high W2 income job because at some point you will run out of money in investing (no matter how much money you can reasonably earn) unless you learn to bring other investors in on deals.

I'd recommend spending time figuring out what you want in life and then aligning your decisions with it.  Big crazy awesome dreams are good if they are well thought out...but not if they are just passing thoughts.  Figure out which they are and it should provide clarity.

You are doing everything so well, except your choice of college...  Go Dawgs.

I cant imagine there are any bachelor degrees which will be very helpful on the real estate side of things, but you are talking about running and owning a business, so my suggestion is to do Finance, Accounting, or Entrepreneurship. With a strong suggestion to double major in Finance and Entrepreneurship. This should give you a good base of knowledge to run the financial side of your business intelligently and support your investment ventures.

Wow what an awesome community, too many to reply to individually. You guys get nothing from this but I never have a question go unanswered. The general consensus seems to be go the business route and I agree. I like what Yonah said about experience. I will be looking for developers and rehabbers in the Gainesville area that I can work under while I am getting my degree in probably Finance. That seems like the perfect plan. I have the luxury of my mother as my first investor so we will be taking the 90 day challenge and buying our first rental here soon! Thanks so much guys.

Originally posted by @Jacob L White :

Ok investors,

So this is the boat I am in. I am going to get into the student housing game while I am in college. I am a veteran and I would almost be a fool not to go because the military pays me a salary to get an education. So, I figure I will be there so I might as well rent my place out and build from there.  So! I know I want to do this for the long term, the big crazy dream is to have a big awesome development company where I build houses ( or maybe commercial property) for sale or rent. I will have to declare a major sooner or later I am kind of resting on my laurels right now just doing the Gen Eds. Is there anybody out there wiser then me that, if they had to choose, could recommend either finance or construction management as a major? Also, Im at UF in Gainesville FL if any investors want to meet for coffee :). Thanks, guys.

 Hi Jacob-

Have you met @Jarred Mussen or @Parth Patel they are also here in town. 

My opinion on the education is to do what you feel passionate about and if you don’t know yet then perhaps do an assessment through the school to see it tells you. Some say it’s beneficial and others don’t have an opinion one way or another. 

In any case, definitely meet up with some local investors to see what they are doing. Party Andy I have yet to connect outside of chatting. I’ve met Jarred and he’s a nice guy and a personal trainer. We talk about re more often now bouncing ideas off one another.

I’m available most days if you want to meet up. I can tell you what I’ve been doing and planning for.

Good luck!

@Jacob L White Finance for sure! You seem to have the right idea in getting the degree and working for a developer while in school. If the goal is to own a development company then why worry about buying a rental right now?

@Grant Rothenburger to get in the GAME brother! And because I want to get a steady stream of cash flow coming in from rentals to repurpose to buy and flips and then eventually new construction projects.

@Jacob L White I'l just out on a limb and say that finance is the better option for you.  It's more universal in terms of the applicability and isn't as subject to boom/bust cycles.  I'm always a believer in having a backup plan.  What if the real estate thing doesn't work out?  At least your finance degree could wedge open a door into accounting/finance departments.  If it doesn't work out, well I don't know anyone in real estate that doesn't want to be able to build a spreadsheet, run financial projections, etc.  

Eventually I want to become a professional (full time) investor, and I studied engineering. I’m going back to school in the fall for a masters (also in engineering). I think it’s served me well so far, and would recommend studying that, assuming you’re up for the 4 years of grueling physics and math lol

I'm a veteran and did the exact same thing, got a degree in finance.

It doesn't help too much, I have a bit better understanding of concepts than I would have without the degree. out of my 120 credits I would say ~9 of them were useful.

Get it because it's paid for, not much other reason.

If you are in college and the government is paying for it - you might as well get a degree in Construction Management. I got my Master of Architecture degree and I use my design skills daily. Currently, I work full time in Construction as an Assistant Project Manager and all of the skills I have acquired are translatable. 

I tried to really avoid a degree for long time... but I got to the point where my work experience required it to position me for the next level. I also took advantage of the post 9/11 GI Bill to get my BA and then had time left over so my Masters. The BA opened doors for sure, just simply for checking off that box. The Masters, not sure, but I can't think how it hurt.

But with that said, would I go get one just to do it? Probably not. It's an investment for yourself so you have to look at the returns. Do those around you have it, does it come up about not having one? These were some of the early signs I brushed off and thought I could be different and not get it.... and I probably could have, but I got my degree. The value in a degree is the networking... yes the education is important as well so don't get something that won't help, but if it's only education you want plenty of free options.

You should give consideration to civil engineering, finance, construction management or real estate.

You'll get a lot of different advice... but if you go out and look at what people want in a developer you won't see a lot of "must have five years experience as a slum lord" in a hiring ad.

Whatever you study, work or do internships to build a network and get experience to get that next job. You need both education and experience.

@Scott Graham have you found that your architecture degree has been useful in your renovation business? I saw on your profile that you renovate houses, which is what I want to do to generate the capital for buy and holds and to gain the experience to eventually do the spec building.

I make about as much as I would working studying so I might as well study, the question is do I learn how to build the house or do I learn the financial side of investing in general. What would be a more valuable skill to get a professional education in. Decisions decisions! Thanks for the input everyone.

@Jacob L White My degree in architecture has certainly been useful. I work full time as an architectural designer for a high-end residential home builder. I am doing everything from the design work, construction cost estimating, marketing, graphic design work and I am out in the field building the homes. The degree gave me the skills and the professional credibility. It has created several professional opportunities that simply would not exist if I did not get the degree. Also, I am in the process of completing my license to be an Architect; I have 4/6 exams complete! When my partner and I talk to other investors, banks, lawyers etc., they have a different level of respect for us based on our background and desire to build quality homes. If I were to do it all over again, I'd highly consider a degree in Construction Management. There you will get in depth with construction cost estimating, financing, project management, and construction scheduling. All of which is extremely valuable skills to have.

I'm on the side of those who got a degree in finance and found it utterly useless. Finance courses largely don't get into anything investing related. You'll learn some math and the skills for being an assistant manager at a bank branch in a strip mall. 

The construction management route might be a bit more practical. But sales is probably the most useful skill you can learn. If you can sell, you can get build your development business and hire the finance grad to crunch your numbers :) 

@Jacob L White ... Good luck man ..... for me when i went to school i always thought of that "Degree"  as an "asset" that must pay dividend for 30+ yrs to come and also should have a minimum market demand .....so i went after Engineering ..and it paid more dividend that i could even dream ....

So, my vote is for you to think "Physics/Chemistry/Math"and your world will be different..... example:  A) you can do MAGIC just by spending 15 mins to identify best deal on the block using one math equation (simple regression) analyzing Comps that will take lot of years of experience to figure out ....and B) Guys with physics /subsurface background in Houston are killing by buying mineral right where everyone is fighting for above surface. They buy cheap and they are the ONLY one knows the value of it .... 

Simply put together  .. whatever you do "Be Unique" and find a way to differentiate from mass population ...

Also just for fun...suggest that you walk into your schools career service center and ask them starting salary by degree from your school and let the data guide you :) ......just my 2 cents. ....

When I was in school I sat down to talk to a guy that was buying a shopping mall and converting it to office. His business consisted of him, his daughter, and an accountant.

If you'd like to hire a CFO and pay them $100,000 a year to put together spreadsheets... that's a strategy.

Similarly I was in a meeting with a guy that ran a development/GC outfit. He told the rest of us that he regretted not studying accounting because he wanted a deeper understanding of what the numbers really meant. He did his pro formas with pen and paper, by the way, and he's been in business for 50 years.

Thank you for your service.  I am not going to consider myself wiser than you but my suggestion would be finance.

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