is a degree in business administration real estate worth it?

9 Replies

Hey everyone,

I am currently attending my first semester at Cal State LA for a BA in social work. I am switching majors to business for the Spring 2020 semester at Fresno State in Ca. The reason for the switch is that I do not agree with so far what the major entails in the Social Work field and the leftist agenda that all the professors are trying to push on their students. I just have no interest in this field like I thought I was going to have. My mistake was not fully looking into the program and I also had no idea there were business programs with an emphasis in Real estate. I have applied for a BA in business administration with an emphasis in real estate and urban development at Fresno state. All I can think about in class and all day is real estate so I figured that this degree option is for me. What I want to know is: is it worth it in y'all s opinion? I know that I can learn everything by reading and through experience (which I have thus far) but I have a GI bill that I want to utilize and save as much of the BAH as I can to fund my next deal so falling into student debt is not a possibility. I currently have 1 SFH rental and I am currently converting my garage into a permitted ADU. My plan is to buy my 2nd home in Fresno when I transfer with a 2nd VA loan and House hack and also convert the garage into an ADU and live in it (Ill live for free that way). I also plan on starting to get my real estate license as soon as construction of my ADU is complete. Any thoughts?

It depends on what you want to do and how you think the degree will help you. A degree in real estate administration is excellent, as is any business degree. They have more value than the fuzzy social sciences or "studies" degrees, which are really useless. It sounds like you want to make real estate a career, and if so, find a good mentor.

My answer is based on 30+ years of experience. FYI, I have a Bachelors in engineering (USCB -1971) and a Masters in Management (USC) and it took 10+ years to get the experience that complemented my degrees.

As a full-time job, I am the CEO of a multi-state technology company. When it comes to degrees, I tell my HR department, "you can't teach experience." I will hire experience over a degree every time; a "workings man Ph.D. is more valuable than any university degree.

A newly minted degree is just a piece of paper that indicates someone may have been provided basic knowledge and a toolset in a particular discipline and were able to complete a task. It is no way indicative of ability or skills. It is a foundation to grow from.

My wife teaches business law at Cal State Northridge, and she explains how they have to instruct at the lowest common denominator which hurts the students with abilities. College is not like when I attended, and she attended. They just provide the bare minimum to allow the student to graduate.

Thanks for the response Jeff

Can you tell me more about a degree in real estate administration? The only program I have came across were on Real estate and urban development. Right now I have enough time on my GI bill to cover up to a masters so I want to fully utilize them. Yes I want to make real estate a career, I just didn't pursue this path until now because of my lack of knowledge in real estate programs. The BA program in Fresno will qualify me to take the brokers exam, but I'm still not to sure if I want to be a broker, still need to do more research on what they do. I figured an agent would be a great start and a way to gain experience and build relationships. I wouldn't even know where to start on finding a mentor that is willing to show me the ropes. What I am looking for in a career in real estate is a position with many opportunities and pays well.

I am 100% with you on experience over a degree. I learned through the military and my father that a degree doesn't mean that someone can actually do the job. Yes coming back to college opened my eyes on how low the standards are when it comes to education. If it wasn't for these benefits, I would have took a job in a trade.

@David Maldonadoalfaro For whatever my advice is worth... let me start with my own experience so you know where I'm coming from: I'm active duty, with a degree in engineering, doing program management.  I purchased 24 multifamily units thus far with no formal real estate education.  Oh and I'm a licensed agent in Florida as well.  

I've networked with a LOT of real estate investors and agents.  I don't know a single one with a degree in real estate.  I don't know what that indicates or means, but it's my own data point.  

But if I were you, I wouldn't spend time and money (or GI Bill entitlement) on a degree program you don't enjoy or don't think you'll enjoy.  

Contrarily, almost any skills you learn in any degree program or career field can apply to real estate.  My experience has translated to excellent networking, management, and analysis skills.  But don't ask me to be handy... that I am not!  For you, I presume social work involves a lot of interacting with people; a PERFECT skill to master for real estate investing!  So I wouldn't say it's a loss to start there, just a different path.  

I tell this to every vet and single active duty person I meet: I love the VA loan house hack idea. This will put you on a fantastic path by reducing the biggest expense most people have. I wish I'd known about real estate 8 years ago, but here we are. I didn't discover REI until just over two years ago.

Have you thought about renting to college students?  If you rent by the room, you may be able to push up your rents in Fresno.  I'm not at all familiar with the market, but worth looking at!  

Best of luck to you!

I would completely agree with Jeff on this one.  College is an amazing thing but at the end of the day its just a piece of paper that gets you in the door.  You can definitely get a lot out of any program but it all depends on your goals going in.  I attended college for 12 years, received a handful of degrees, and at the end of the day the random jobs I took on while studying taught me more about the real world then any class.  

If I were in your shoes I would get a part time job during your studies at a local property management company or as a real estate agents assistant.  You'll learn just as much if not more learning from those already doing it.  On top of that you'll walk away from college with a job and real world experience.  This will put you miles ahead of the competition and will help build your own circle and credibility in the area.

Best of luck!

@Charlie Cameron First and foremost, thank you for your service brother. I agree with you on not wasting my GI bill on something I don't like, which is why I'm going the business administration route. Real estate has always interested me. I have read countless book on real estate and have learned everything from my father. My father achieved financial freedom through real estate and I want to do the same. So that is why I am going through the BA in Business admin with an emphasis in Real estate. But as for a Masters, I do not know which route would benefit me more.

So what go you started in REI? Yes I am still contemplating whether to rent out by the room or just the whole house. Yes you can charge more per the room especially if it comes furnished. A basic 3 bed 2 bath SFH in Clovis closer to the colleges will rent out for about $1400-$1600 depending on the condition of the house, or rent out each room furnished for about $600 but from what I have researched utilities and internet are usually included. Also it is more of a hassle to have separate rental agreements for each room and replacements for vacancies.

@David Maldonadoalfaro Makes sense to me. I got started in REI when I realized how slow mutual fund investing was. I don't subscribe to the "work until 67" model - seems pointless to me. Index funds were not going to get me there. Real estate will enable me to, at the very LEAST, replace the active duty portion of my income when I hit military retirement. Then in my forties, I can decide what I want to do each and every day (probably start a new business). My plans are much grander, but that's the fall back.

Yeah those numbers may not be worth the effort then of filling each room instead of the entire property.  

Shoot me a message if you'd like to chat sometime!

@David Maldonadoalfaro. Generally if you just want to invest in real estate getting a degree in real estate isn’t worth jt

You will be a poor person with a career in social worker. What you outlined makes sense. If you like computer taking MIS courses.  Many MIS administrators (Business School) make 130-150K in Silicon Valley. Finance becomes financial planners a higher paying career.

To be a landlord I’d get a counseling / mental health degree to deal with insane irrational tenants which is 99% of them . Then I’d get a degree in waste management because these idiots will pack garbage anywhere and everywhere . Then I’d look into a pest control technologies degree because they will leave food out all day which always attracts vermin . That should be about all you need