Is a Master's in Real Estate worth it?

14 Replies

I am 22 years old and a recent college graduate with a finance undergraduate degree.  Throughout college, I increasingly began to have a great passion for real estate investing along with pretty much anything real estate.  While finishing my undergrad, I decided that I wanted to gain more knowledge and open more doors for opportunities involving real estate, so I applied and was accepted into a few different MSRE programs.  For a while, I believed that I am making the correct decision by obtaining a masters in real estate to learn more and have a degree, but lately, I have been second-guessing myself and I am unsure if the MSRE degree is worth spending 30,000 towards tuition when I could instead get my feet wet with getting my first deal.  In the long run, I want to be a real estate investor and potentially get into syndications, and eventually maybe even have my own property management company. I guess my question is, is it worth spending the money on a master's in real estate, or am I better off trying to find a job and mentor and learn from the experience?  I am having a really tough time deciding what path to take and am looking for other points of view.

Originally posted by @Isaac Westlake :

I am 22 years old and a recent college graduate with a finance undergraduate degree.  Throughout college, I increasingly began to have a great passion for real estate investing along with pretty much anything real estate.  While finishing my undergrad, I decided that I wanted to gain more knowledge and open more doors for opportunities involving real estate, so I applied and was accepted into a few different MSRE programs.  For a while, I believed that I am making the correct decision by obtaining a masters in real estate to learn more and have a degree, but lately, I have been second-guessing myself and I am unsure if the MSRE degree is worth spending 30,000 towards tuition when I could instead get my feet wet with getting my first deal.  In the long run, I want to be a real estate investor and potentially get into syndications, and eventually maybe even have my own property management company. I guess my question is, is it worth spending the money on a master's in real estate, or am I better off trying to find a job and mentor and learn from the experience?  I am having a really tough time deciding what path to take and am looking for other points of view.

I'd say 'not on your life'. 'Specially for $30,000 and a wasted year or two.

"Dem that can do it, do; Dem that can't do it, Teach" I learned that from a wise guy.

If someone can be successful in real estate why would they teach? Teaching is a downgrade from being successful at real estate. If they are successful they don't need your money.

Join a REIA (NationalREIA.org) in your area and get to know some guys who are really making a difference and who can actally help you in a career of investing.

Before you spend ANY money on ANYONE's teachings, ask them how many properties they OWN and how many deals they've DONE.

Totally agree @Account Closed . Every successful REI I know is without a master's degree and those I know who are the most wealthy, don't even have a bachelor's degree. Use that $30k towards your first deal and learn from those who are already winning in the game...for free! Best of luck to you.

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@Isaac Westlake Real estate is a hands on business. It cannot be taught in a classroom. There is no better method of education than getting out there and getting some real life experience. I definitely think you should skip the masters and jump into real estate investing if that is where your passion is. Every successful investor that I know has gotten where they are without any formal real estate education. Bigger pockets is a great place to ask questions and get advice as you move forward. I vote no on the masters. Dont rack up a ton of unnecessary student loan debt, especially on something that isnt going to make you any more money if you want to work for yourself. Now if you want to go be an employee somewhere (even high paid executives are employees) then thats a different story.

@Isaac Westlake overall this board leans against a college education of any kind.  If the question was asked if it is better to waste time completing elementary school or buy a house the answer i would expect to hear is buy a house.  With that being said it depends what your goals are.  In the corporate world or if your goal is to build and head a large RE corporation then a masters would be good for both the education and the contacts.  If plan is to just buy a few houses then maybe not.  I am all for minimizing education debt though.  If you pursue further education find a job of some kind in RE while in school and work to minimize your debt.  This will definitely help you build capital for first purchases

The most driven professionals in this space, however, know that earning a master's degree in real estate can open up new—and lucrative—opportunities. ... MSRE graduates go on to work as asset management advisors, analysts, planners, and project managers, and in other roles in the real estate sphere.

If you have a passion for investing then start investing. An MBA is not an investment unless you think there is something it can give you that the real world cannot. If you want to start a PM business then put that 30k into a multi unit where you can source, screen, and rent to real people. Now your 30k is working for you and giving you experience. Or get your RE license and use the 30k to market your new business and to hire your first employee. Either way good luck to you. At some point you have to stop going to school and start getting to work.

In my opinion, no, it's not worth it.

I did nearly a year's worth of MSRE and I noticed that I was learning more from Bigger Pockets and other podcasts than I was from actual college courses. Luckily for me, I was using the GI Bill and it didn't cost me a penny. 

There are certain degrees worth going the distance.

Brain surgeon.....go the distance.

Real Estate investor....Take the $30K and start your investing journey.  You will learn more in the field than you ever could in the classroom.

@Isaac Westlake as mentioned, most people here clearly lean against it.  I am partially in that camp.  If you want to own 100 SFRs, you can do that one by one without a degree at all. 

Personally, I view a masters as more networking than education, and many of the people I know with them agree.  That being said, if you were planning on attending an elite school, where you will likely meet many people with big family connections, it can be more than worth it.  I know many in real estate who met their seed investors in their MBA program.  But everyone of them that comes to mind attended ivy league schools where they were generally surrounded by wealth.

At the end of the day, an MBA can help open some doors, but it is the hustle that brings success, not the degree obtained.  

Originally posted by @Evan Polaski:

@Isaac Westlake as mentioned, most people here clearly lean against it.  I am partially in that camp.  If you want to own 100 SFRs, you can do that one by one without a degree at all. 

Personally, I view a masters as more networking than education, and many of the people I know with them agree.  That being said, if you were planning on attending an elite school, where you will likely meet many people with big family connections, it can be more than worth it.  I know many in real estate who met their seed investors in their MBA program.  But everyone of them that comes to mind attended ivy league schools where they were generally surrounded by wealth.

At the end of the day, an MBA can help open some doors, but it is the hustle that brings success, not the degree obtained.  

Probably unlikely that an ivy league school's master program has a price tag @ $30K like poster is considering.....just sayin'....

I have my Masters of Real Estate Development from USC. This was a great investment for me, but I would not recommend a masters for most real estate investors. This degree and the school have helped me a lot in fundraising for projects, as it is trusted by investors, and the connections were amazing for the development side of the business. 

If you are looking to get into investing, I would say use this website, podcasts, and local real estate meet-ups as your education. Go offer your time to a local investor for free and learn from him as your help him on deals. The money will come to you, don't be greedy up front

It really depends on your goals.  You're going to get a lot of success porn posters in this thread who are focused solely on "making it" or broadcasting their ego.  

I personally think that people who have graduate degrees present themselves better and are largely correlated with being more educated.  They have a bigger universe of deals they're competent to do and can sell their time for more money when times are lean like they are today.  They have more optionality and lower downside.  It does trade off a few years and a small amount of money in the grand ball of wax.  Anyone worried about $50k or so isn't really a super successful real estate investor anyway so I'd discount the comments from those who think this is a lot of money to risk.  

Getting more education is generally a pretty good risk-adjusted bet if you're able to have this option.  It's not for everyone and many people won't qualify for this path and thus will dissuade you from it because of their ego investment or personal insecurity and not because it is in your best interest.  Be careful who you take advice from.