Real estate is not just about the financial product, it is about the physical environment and its effect on the shape and nature of communities we live in, it is about policies and their impact on economic development of a city or region, it is about design – in other words, it is a rich and exciting eco-system offering students many opportunities.  To reflect the true nature of real estate, the real estate education our students receive emphasizes interdisciplinary blend of theory and practice, providing students not only with the fundamental knowledge of the financial aspects of real estate real estate, but also ability to solve complex problems and communicate their ideas effectively.  

Fisher College of Business offers real estate degree programs for graduate students and undergraduate students.


Within the Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) Program we offer the Real Estate Management Career Track. It is tailored to preparing students for a wide range of professional career paths in real estate investment trusts (REITs), real estate operating companies, real estate development, financial institutions, investment banks, consulting firms, and e-commerce startups. Consisting of three core courses, students are also encouraged to take courses in City and Regional Planning, Law, Geography, Construction Management, Civil Engineering, and Environmental Resources.


The undergraduate degree, Real Estate and Urban Analysis, builds upon two years of liberal arts education and the business core of accounting, finance, marketing, management, and quantitative methods. Undergraduate real estate majors take real estate finance, investment analysis, and appraisal with courses in real estate law and principles available. Students are encouraged to supplement their major with urban economics, urban geography, city and regional planning, and other courses.

Students often minor in City and Regional Planning while majoring in business.

We take advantage of the size and expertise of The Ohio State University. Through an interdisciplinary collaboration our students can take courses in business, urban planning, law, architecture, construction management, engineering, environmental resources, and geography. All are taught by world-class faculty in their own area of expertise.

We have created a list of suggested  courses to enhance student’s education in real estate. Please remember that all courses should be taken with the consultation of your academic advisor to tailor the best education plan for you.  For any of the courses offered outside the Fisher College of Business inquiries about enrollment permission, when courses are offered, who the instructor is, etc. should be directed to the school or college which administers the course.

Expand any of the boxes below to learn more about each course type.


7240 Real Estate I

Term: Spring I
Provides in-depth exposure to the dynamics of the real estate development process including ground-up development and re-development. Topics covered include market analysis, site acquisition, due diligence, zoning, entitlements, approvals, site planning, building design, construction, financing, leasing, ongoing management and disposition and related property laws. Additional topics include analysis and evaluation of the similarities and differences of traditional real estate product types. Emphasis is on concise analysis and decision making. The course will utilize experiential teaching methodologies by creating diverse teams of students to analyze and solve real development cases in Central Ohio. Students will be required to make a group presentation of their development proposal. Prereq or concur: MBA 6221 or 6222.

7240 Real Estate II

Term: Spring II
Provides an overview of real estate valuation and advanced fundamentals of real estate finance. It will cover topics fundamental to the valuation of real estate, including the process, procedures and valuation methods. The course focuses on the valuation of income-producing properties. Advanced topics in valuation are presented. Topics include real estate capital markets, equity vehicles (REITs) securitization and the proliferation of securitized debt (MBS, CMBS and CDO) and mortgage-related instruments (mortgage derivatives). It emphasizes a conceptual framework for decision making in the uncertain environment of real estate markets. Prereq or concur: MBA 6221 or 6222.

5402 Real Estate Valuation

Term: Spring
Professor: Matt Sheridan
This real estate valuation and financial modeling course will cover existing income producing property as well as ground up construction. Topics include market analysis, comparable valuation, income valuation, cost valuation, real estate finance, expense reimbursements, budget development, and pro-forma modeling. The course will utilize Argus DCF, the industry accepted real estate specific financial modeling software.


3400 Introduction to Real Estate

Term: Autumn and Spring
Professor: Paul Weinstock
Provides a basic overview of the Real Estate Industry. Topics covered include finance, law, property management, land planning and acquisition, urban economics and green development. Available to business and non-business majors. Prereq: Econ 2001.01 or 2002.01.

4410 Real Estate Finance

Term: Spring
Professor: Paul Weinstock
Fundamentals of Real Estate Analysis: Particular focus is on sources and methods of obtaining funds, project feasibility, valuation of distressed assets, appraisal and municipal finance. Prereq: BusMgt 2320, 2321, BusFin 3220, 3400, & 3500.

4411 Real Estate Management

Term: Spring
Professor: Paul Krimm
Examines Property Management for all types of Real Estate Assets. Topics include finance, acquisition, construction, budgets, sales and marketing, leasing, negotiation and environmental issues. Prereq: BusMgt 2320, 2321, 3220, 3500, & 3400.

4412 Real Estate Law

Term: Spring
Professor: Paul Weinstock 
Examines the major legal and ethical aspects of real estate transactions, contracts, brokerage, leases and environmental law. Prereq: BusMgt 2320, 2321, BusFin 3220, 3400, & 3500.

4413 Real Estate Planning & Development

Term: Spring
Professor: TBA
Provides a comprehensive look at the development process, from identifying an opportunity through to the finished product. Teams will work on a current site-based development case study that will encourage real world applications to real estate theory and strategic collaboration. Prereq: BusMgt 2320, 2321, BusFin 3220, 3400, & 3500.

5402 Real Estate Valuation

Term: Spring
Professor: Matt Sheridan
This real estate valuation and financial modeling course will cover existing income producing property as well as ground up construction. Topics include market analysis, comparable valuation, income valuation, cost valuation, real estate finance, expense reimbursements, budget development, and pro-forma modeling. The course will utilize Argus DCF, the industry accepted real estate specific financial modeling software.

The Knowlton School of Architecture offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and City and Regional Planning, which compliments more traditional business education. Below you will find only selected classes - for a full list of courses offered please visit their course listing

 Undergraduate courses

  • CRPLAN 2110: Creating Innovative Cities and Regions

    Successful cities rely on innovation to keep them forward moving. Emerging trends and unmet market needs are studied to generate innovative planning solutions.

  • CRPLAN 3100: Analyzing the City

    Spatial, economic, and demographic tools aid in forecasting the future of cities and regions. These tools serve as a foundation for imagining the future.

  • CRPLAN 3400: Planning for Sustainable Economic Development
    Understand the intersection of economics, theenvironment, and development in order to use planning tools to promote sustainable economic development.
  • CRPLAN 3600: Land Development
    This course examines the various aspects of land development in the U.S. context. The land development process often begins with an idea to create a new community or development. However, in order for any development to be successful, the project must be economically viable and attractive to consumers. Developers and planners need to understand the local market, and developers will need to target buyers if they want to create a successful project. It is necessary for those involved in the land development process to understand the market demand for specific types of projects. Students in this course will be required to create a proposal for development of a site in the Columbus area, figuring out and considering all factors of the land development process including market analysis, financing the project, site planning, engineering and implementation.


Graduate courses

  • CRPLAN 5001 - Introduction to GIS
    Introduction to the basic principles of geographic information systems and their use in spatial analysis and information management.
  • CRPLAN 6010: Innovation in City and Regional Planning
    Successful cities are innovative and forward thinking. Challenges students to focus on generation of truly innovative ideas to improve cities and regions.
  • CRPLAN 6400: Site Planning and Development
    Effective site planning can lead to the development of a strong community. Learn the design, environmental and infrastructure elements that are needed to generate a feasible development project.
  • CRPLAN 6430: Urban Design

    Vibrant cities contribute to quality of life, through urban design and urban form. Site analysis, context sensitive design and impacts of design choices are explored.

  • CRPLAN 6460: Real Estate Finance for Planners

    Realize plans by understanding the financial mechanisms to fund projects. Explore how public - private partnerships create opportunities for affordable housing, downtown revitalization, and neighborhood improvement.


College of Engineering - Hitchcock Hall
The College of Engineering is consistently ranked among the top engineering schools in the nation. They offer 13 undergraduate and 17 graduate engineering programs through the 11 engineering departments, as well as two undergraduate and three graduate degrees from the Knowlton School of Architecture.

CIVIL EN 540 Civil and Environmental Engineering Systems U G 4

Basic concepts and methods of systems engineering and applications to civil engineering problems in transportation and water resources planning, structural design, and construction management.4 cl. Prereq: Civil En 405. Not open to students with credit for Civil En 540. Cross-listed in Environmental Engineering.

CIVIL EN 570 Transportation Engineering and Analysis U G 4

Term: Winter
Introduction to topics in transportation engineering and analysis; geometric design, traffic flow, freeway capacity, traffic signals, demand-performance equilibrium, pricing, and design under uncertainty. 4 cl. Prereq: Eng Mech 430 or Mech Eng 430; prereq or concur: Civil En 405, minimum CPHR of 2.00, and standing as civil en major, or written permission of dept chairperson.

CIVIL EN 604 Terrain Analysis U G 4

Term: Autumn
Principles and applications of photo pattern analysis, geologic and geomorphologic patterns, terrain studies, and land use suitability and capability mapping. 3 cl, 1 3-hr lab. Prereq: 405 or Survey 450 or equiv with written permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for Geod Sci 604. Cross-listed in Geodetic Science.

CIVIL EN 607 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems U G 5

Term: Autumn
Basic principles of geographic and land information systems and their use in spatial analysis and information management. 3 cl, 1 3-hr lab. Prereq: Sr standing. Not open to students with credit for Geog 685; or 607 in C&R Plan, Geod Sci, Geog, Geol Sci, or Nat Res. Cross-listed in City and Regional Planning, Geodetic Science, Geography, Geological Sciences, and Natural Resources.

CIVIL EN 685 Deterministic Construction Estimating and Pricing U G 4

Term: Autumn
Generally accepted models and methods of estimating and pricing; identification of causes of underestimating and under pricing. 2 2-hr cl. Prereq: 576.

CIVIL EN 686 Construction Contracts and Claims U G 4

Term: Spring
Contract documents and specifications; formulation of contracts; offer, acceptance, breach, and damages; responsibilities and liabilities; claims; labor agreements. 2 2-hr cl. Prereq or concur: 576 or equiv with written permission of instructor.

CIVIL EN 760 Civil and Environmental Engineering Planning U G 5

Water resource planning process, benefit-cost analysis; environmental, economic, and social impacts of civil engineering projects; project selection; and case studies in water resources, transportation, and energy. 5 cl. Prereq: 516 or Civil En 516. Not open to students with credit for Civil En 760. Odd years. Cross-listed in Environmental Engineering.

For more information on Civil Engineering Courses contact:
Hazel A. Morrow-Jones
Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Education
Associate Professor for Department of City and Regional Planning
165 Hitchcock Hall
(614) 292-1027

Construction Systems Management (CSM) is the planning, construction, and management of dwellings, service structures, and other permanent facilities. The systems approach to curriculum in the CSM specialty provides understanding of land acquisition and development, social, environmental and legal factors, as well as financial management and marketing. It provides students with a background in the technical and managerial aspects of construction.

  • CONSYSM 3450: Estimating for Construction

    Reading and interpretation of construction drawings and specifications for construction projects. Estimating the material requirements and costs of building construction projects using commercially available estimating tools.

  • CONSYSM 3451: Scheduling Construction Projects

    Planning, scheduling and tracking of construction project elements including management of time, resources, cost and safety.

  • CSM 4641: Construction Project Management

    This course focuses on the management of standard commercial/residential construction projects, including planning, resource management, schedule management, financial management, cost control, risk management, and labor relations. Completing projects on schedule, within budget and according to specifications is a constant focus. This course also introduces new management concepts and emerging information technology applications in construction.

  • CSM 4642: Construction Control - Contracts and Documents

    The course looks at a systems approach to a complete set of construction documents. The basic elements, principles of and requirements for contracts and documents used in the construction industry to control commercial and residential projects will be discussed and applied. Among the topics for discussion will be the documents used to control a construction project, the contract delivery methods, contract payment methods, subcontractor and supply contracts, bidding procedures, negotiating claims, disputes and payments, administering contracts, controlling change, and monitoring quality control. Insurance, bonding and other responsibilities of owners and contractors will also be reviewed and practiced.

  • CSM 5670: Green Building and Sustainable Construction

    The course provides students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to understand, evaluate, select and adopt sustainable design and construction strategies and applications in the areas of site selection and land use, energy and water conservation, renewable energy systems, green building materials and products, construction waste management, indoor environmental quality and other environmental and economic issues related to sustainable built environments.

The Moritz College of Law offers a number of classes relevant to the real estate industry.  Classes at the College of Law are only available to graduate students.

LAW 6112 – Property Law

This course examines traditional and modern concepts of property, including ownership, the creation of interests held in personal and real property, the transfer of such interests, and private and public restrictions upon the use of property. While much of the course will focus on issues involving the possession, ownership, and use of land by private parties, topics covered may also include property rights in ideas, body parts, and other intangibles; zoning; protection of minority or economically disadvantaged groups; or eminent domain.

LAW 8600: Real Estate Finance

The course covers two major areas: real estate transactions and real estate finance. The transactions portion covers real estate contracts, rights and liabilities of real estate brokers and the recording acts. The finance portion examines advanced real estate financing, emphasizing mortgages, deeds of trust, installment land contracts, rights and remedies of borrowers and lenders, and contemporary financing innovations.

LAW 8603: Real Estate Development

The course will take a practical, “hands on” approach to the multi-faceted area of real estate development law. Case studies based on actual, “real world” projects will serve as the backdrop for our examination of the myriad of legal disciplines that a real estate development lawyer needs to master in order to be successful. Disciplines explored will range from traditional real estate topics such as the leasing, acquisition and conveyance of real property to tax, partnership, bankruptcy, environmental, finance, ethics and public policy considerations.

We will examine the role a lawyer plays during each stage of the life cycle of a real estate project, with particular emphasis being placed on how a lawyer’s actions and judgments can serve to enhance (or detract from) the ultimate success of a real estate deal.  Mock negotiations by students (utilizing the actual documents used on the projects on which the case studies are based) and presentations by guest speakers from around the real estate world (lawyers, developers and governmental representatives) will be among the techniques used to teach students to think like real estate development lawyers.

LAW 8500 - Landlord/Tenant Law

This course will provide a survey of residential landlord and tenant law with a primary focus on Ohio law. The course will briefly look at the federal law regarding fair housing and subsidized housing issues. The course will focus on practical applications of the law and will primarily be taught using problems, hypothetical scenarios and through role play. Students will be graded on participation, attendance and practice related written components.

LAW 8609 - Commercial Leasing

The course will be a focused study of the various business and legal considerations which drive the leasing of a commercial real estate project. We will examine the material provisions of a variety of lease documents, including office, industrial, retail and ground leases. The students will be given ample opportunity throughout the semester to review, negotiate, draft and revise the provisions of a commercial real estate lease.

For more information on Real Estate Law Courses contact:
Rick Daley
Senior Lecturer in Law
Drinko 255P
(614) 292-4328

The field of real estate offers more career choices today than it ever has. For starters, career opportunities can be found in working for anyone of the following types of organizations:

  • Large public real estate companies, which are coming to resemble corporate America in their organization and structure
  • Small private entrepreneurial organizations, which are unique to real estate; companies that invest regionally within the United States, nationally, or globally
  • Companies that specialize in a single product or related products, such as office buildings, shopping centers, hotels, industrial real estate, apartments, or home building
  • Companies that develop or own multiple real estate products; nonprofit organizations that own and develop real estate
  • Companies that finance real estate
  • Corporations with their own real estate departments
  • Companies that provide real estate services, such as design and architecture firms, brokerage companies, and various consultancies

Browse the following real estate career paths:


Appraisers are extremely important and key to properly valuing real estate.  The main responsibility is to estimate the value of property. Generally, this is accomplished through analysis and comparable research of similar properties. Valuation can also be conducted financially through discounted future returns. 

The key value in being an appraiser is the ability to properly and accurately assess values since multiple parties involved in real estate depend on it.  Appraisers can specialize in residential property or commercial property.

To become an appraiser, a person begins their careers as an appraiser’s trainee.  Appraisers are commonly employed by appraisal companies, which service a variety of clients on a fee basis such as banks or insurance companies. Commercial and consulting appraisers are employed in consulting positions by the big four accounting firms.  Because appraisers are needed for refinancing as well as new sales, even when the real estate market is slow, appraisers tend to stay busy.

The outlook for commercial appraisers is promising, since the appraisal industry has had some scrutiny due to soaring prices during the mid 2000s. There is certainly a premium placed on appraisers that are ethical and accurate in assessments. The outlook for residential appraisal is similar and technology is quickly changing the landscape.

Many opportunities abound appraisers who are looking to implement big ideas especially in the residential sector to streamline processes and create a more accurate way to assess property values.

Commercial real estate brokers are the professionals that help lease newly developed and existing real estate to new tenants. Usually brokers work on either the tenant representation side which means they help clients identify and lease space or they work on the seller representation side meaning they try and find new tenants to go into specific properties.

Commercial brokers may have a specific type of real estate that they focus their efforts on. They may only work on retail opportunities or focus on finding companies in need of new office space or industrial facilities. In order to do this, brokers obtain listings which are agreements between owners to place properties for lease with the individual or firm or it could be an agreement to be the representative seeking their new space.

When listing a property or seeking a new property, brokers compare the listed property with comparable properties that recently signed leases, in order to determine a competitive market price for the property. In order to be successful, commercial brokers tend to focus on very specific geographic areas. To be successful they need to have a strong knowledge of their local markets. Without the knowledge of what spaces are currently vacant or what new space is being developed, they broker cannot properly represent their clients.

If a broker is working on tenant representation then they need to create relationships with developers and property managers in order to find their clients the best space for the least amount. A broker may also represent a developer or property management company who needs to tenants fill their vacant space. In this case the broker must network and facilitate relationships with retailers and companies that may be in the market for new or upgraded office or industrial space.

It is important for brokers to have an entrepreneurial and sales mentality. They need to constantly be making contacts and seeking new opportunities because most brokers work on a commission basis. The more space they can help lease the more financial gain for the individual.

Jobs are available in brokerage in two capacities. There are national and international brokerage firms such as CB Richard Ellis, Jones Lang LaSalle, or Trammell Crow that have multiple offices with each focusing on their specific city and submarkets.

The first year or two could be difficult financially as a broker because the individual needs time to build up their contact and client base before being able to make a great number of deals come to fruition. These large companies will likely offer a base salary that will be minimal because of the expectation that the broker will make substantially more off their commissions.

The other way to work in brokerage is to do so independently. This is probably recommended more for experienced professionals who have a strong client base and know the market and real estate community well where they do not need the support of a large company.

There is no easy way to get right into brokerage though. To get into brokerage having a more marketing and sales mentality is important. It is also helpful to have some finance experience in order to analyze the transactions they are trying to undertake. Big companies like the ones mentioned above would probably hire for transaction analysts or marketing research positions as a way to train future brokers.

This way new employees have an opportunity to learn about their specific real estate market and learn all the elements it takes to put together a successful transaction. Majoring in marketing would be important for these types of positions because it will allow students to understand sales tactics and the marketing research necessary to have a lucrative career. Some companies may hire brokers directly from MBA programs as well.

In addition to the college education, some states also require some undergraduate work as a part of obtaining a broker’s license. Some states require brokers to take licensing classes and pass examinations in order to be considered licensed. In addition to the initial course and exams, brokers have to maintain their license by attending continuing education courses that keep them up to date on current trends and issues in the industry.

Real estate has become an important part of the overall strategy for many businesses. Some of the largest corporations around the world, and they must decide what the best utilization for their business is. Many of these companies have to decide if they should buy and hold their facilities or merely be tenants leaving the responsibility of maintenance and ownership to a developer or property manager.

Retail stores are a good example of companies who must decided how to invest in their real estate. As brands and numbers of stores grow across the country these companies must maintain an internal real estate team who decides where the best location for a new store.

These professionals function very similarly to someone who works at big development firm. They must do everything a developer does ranging from doing their market research to seeking out multiple sites that fit their vision and company strategy the best. For a store like Best Buy this may include finding a vacant piece of land to build a free standing store. Retailers like Victoria Secret that exist in malls or other shopping centers need to be aware of what vacancies exist or will be coming about as well as what new facilities that meet their criteria will be built.

It is also the responsibilities of these professionals to understand and determine where the store should be located within a mall or lifestyle center in order to maximize value to the company. That would involve an analysis of rents, depending on store size and location, as well as consumer market research to better understand peoples’ buying behaviors.

A big component of working in corporate real estate is being strategic. That means understanding where the next big city or market might be for a store to move into or the next popular shopping area that will open.

A corporate real estate officer must be able translate his/her company’s strategy into its physical space and create as much revenue as possible. Not only does this have to do with finding, managing, and maintaining the physical facilities but some workers are also involved in understanding how to best create and adjust a store’s layout.

It is important to recognize that some merchandise will sell best when it is in specific places within a store, that be near the front door or adjacent to another section’s merchandise, or recognize that the store’s location needs to be at a certain place within a mall or lifestyle center. It can be part of the corporate real estate department to determine how the store should be laid out in order to maximize the company’s investment.

A finance background and education is extremely helpful and necessary for a position in corporate real estate. Just like a developer, a corporate real estate professional must know how to structure a potential real estate transaction to benefit the company. That involves creating analysis and projections of construction costs that will be incurred as the store is built or fitted to meet the store’s criteria and what future revenues the store will make from customer sales. These analyses will tell the company how much it can afford to pay for monthly rent and could help determine the size of the store the company will want to invest in.

In addition to the finance background, professionals working in corporate real estate must also understand the legal sides of the business in order to create a purchase contract or lease that fits the company’s needs. Marketing is also necessary to understand who customers will be and what geographic locations they will most likely be willing to shop at or near. Knowing the construction process is extremely necessary because that will help create the projections for the store’s value. By knowing construction timing the professional can adequately project the time when the store will open and when merchandise will need to be ordered.

Internships are a great entry way into these companies, with the hope that they will hire their interns full-time. The best way to find out about these opportunities may be to contact companies directly. Businesses ranging from fast food restaurants to clothing stores are regularly in need of new space, so by researching some of the top retailers across the area, fastest growing in the country, or just personal favorites might present opportunities for corporate real estate positions.

Developers are considered to be the visionaries of real estate. The most successful developers possess a great deal of passion, perseverance, and savvy as they must fulfill a variety of roles. First, and foremost, a developer is an entrepreneur.  Their job is about finding new opportunities to create and develop a project that will make money and/or improve a community. In that same sense, they must research and analyze, using these tools to find the new opportunities. 

Developers are also planners because they have to coordinate the activities of everyone working on their development. They need to understand civil engineering and architecture in order to articulate to the consultants how they want a site to layout, ultimately look, and understand if their vision can realistically be built. Developers have to fill the role of lawyer and negotiator in order to purchase the existing property and know the zoning laws and local regulations. These laws indicate everything from knowing what type, size, and height structures are allowed to legally be to understanding how many parking spaces are necessary.

Most developers work is not done once the project has been approved by the local government. While some will sell their project to a construction company or home builder, most stay involved in the process in order to see their vision become a reality and gain the financial rewards from their extensive hard work.

In order to see a development through to completion, developers need to be knowledgeable of the construction process for their structures including how long a building should truly take to complete, the types of materials and equipment necessary for construction. The necessity in understanding these processes allows developers to begin their sales and marketing campaigns as well as when to expect the project to begin returning cash flow back to them.

Ultimately many developers are involved in the sale of their projects, but others remain involved as landlords and maintain a role as property manager of the development. These developers need to know what services tenants require or how to make sure that building are properly maintained for business, retail, or resident use.

Generally, a developer begins by analyzing extensive research in a market to locate a site for possible development. This could be an open field, abandoned warehouse or a rundown apartment building but there is a unique feature to this site that makes it appealing. For new homes it could be the school district the property falls in or an up and coming part of the city might attract new retail stores. Developers continue to apply their research, mixing it with experience, intuition, and unique sense of vision to create what the new site will become.

Next, developers seek out funding. They can do so through a variety of sources. The most common for smaller developers is to through a local bank. Since developers are good at building relationships they usually have a specific bank or two that they use for new project funding.

Depending on the size of the project, developers may seek out institutional investors such as investment banks, pension funds, or insurance companies. All lenders provide loans to developers so they can ultimately have the funding they need to plan and build their projects.

The developers need funding years before construction can begin because the planning and approval process can take many years. A developer cannot just build whatever they want on site without any approval. That is why they hire engineers and architects to design their development and construction plans.

Governments want to make sure similar types of buildings are constructed in proximity to one another and will have specific guidelines on issues ranging from parking lots, to driveway locations, to the number of and types of trees planted on a site, to the exterior building materials used during construction. 

This is where a developer’s interpersonal skills are necessary because with good relationships they may have the ability to negotiate with the local government about its requests for items it wants included in the project. What is important to remember is that all these funding and planning functions must occur one to five years before the actual construction process can even begin.

All of the potential for wealth, glamor and success is constantly met by the huge risks each opportunity poses. Successful developers, like Donald Trump, are often glamorized in the public eye, but there are as many or more failures than there are successes. A project can fail at any number of places throughout the development process.

As previously mentioned the government has final approval on any development and they could continually reject development plans and the project would never move past the entitlement process. At times jurisdictions enforce development moratoriums because of too much development.

For projects in construction that may be okay because they are allowed to continue, but it could stop any new project from entering the entitlement process for months or even years.  A bad business relationship could result in a lack of equity, personal investment funding, for the project. Although this is extremely rare, banks could suddenly pull funding or close down due to extreme conditions.

In addition to being an individual or self-employed developer, development firms exist in multiple forms both nationally and internationally. Generally these development companies focus on specific building types such as building new homes, office buildings, retail/lifestyle centers, hotels and resorts, or even shopping malls.

A great entry way into one of these companies is to become an analyst. Analysts help to create financial models for each development project. This allows them to form an understanding of how the development process works, as well as the costs and risks that accompany each project. Analyst positions often are available with larger national companies.

Institutional real estate investment has become an increasingly popular way for large pension funds, insurance companies, commercial banks, and other corporations to invest their money. As real estate values and as competition to invest in desirable properties increased, these organizations continued to place more of their assets into development projects.

These businesses are not seeking to be developers themselves, yet they could be important sources of equity or start-up money for developers as they begin their new projects. Commercial banks, like KeyBank based in Cleveland, often have an arm that focuses on the real estate investment. This could involve providing financing to Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) as well as partnering with developers in the construction of a new retail center or large residential community.

Another form of large institutional investing has begun over the last half century with the creation of REITs. These trusts can operate as developer and/or owners of real estate, but there are specific characteristics that a company must meet in order to be qualified as a REIT.

REITs focus on investing in income producing properties, meaning that they place money in projects that will continue to return revenue back to the company. They must invest at least 75 percent of the company’s assets into real estate with at least 75 percent of their income coming from rent or mortgage obtained through those properties. Many of these REITs control their own interests in their properties by also managing them once they are fully constructed.

Additionally, REITs must return at least 90 percent of their taxable income back to their investors through dividends. REITs can focus on specific sectors of real estate across a variety of markets. For example Health Care REIT Incorporated focuses on health care properties and senior living facilities across the country. Post Properties invests in the development of upscale apartments nationally. In Columbus, Glimcher Realty Trust owns and manages shopping malls in multiple states.

Most of the career options in institutional investment companies are focused on financial analysis in some capacity. It is important for these firms to identify quality investments from less desirable ones, and the best way to do so is through pro-forma valuations and financial projections for a specific property. It is vital for these professionals to have a strong knowledge of a property’s local market and comparable properties so they know whether or not a better investment opportunity exists.

Portfolio management and asset management are key positions within institutional investment companies. These professionals know how best a fund’s money should be spent and adjustments in fund spending that may be necessary in order to improve the company’s income.

Analysts are needed in order to help with the valuation of properties and may provide a good entry-level opportunity for those looking to be part of large real estate transactions. There could also be opportunities for positions in market research and statistical research, but finance related positions hold the key for these firms longevity.

Similar to development positions, one of the best ways to gain a foothold into institutional investing is to have a degree in finance or other quantitative subject matter. Additional skills in market research are helpful in studying information related to different geographic and property-specific market segments.

If you are able to secure a position with one of these types of companies, spend time studying the business of the properties you will be analyzing. For a hospitality REIT, understand how a hotel or resort operates, or for a new residential community understand the local demographics as to why this project would sell versus competitors.

Real Estate Property Management is a career that is fairly self-descriptive and encompasses a wide variety of responsibilities.  In general, a property manager deals with the management of the actual real estate as well as responsibility for revenues generated by the property.  In order to accomplish this, a property manager must not only be in charge of the upkeep of the property, but also must learn to deal with tenants and leases. 

This career can cover a variety of properties such as commercial, retail, and residential.  The ultimate goal of the manager, is to maximize income to the owner of the real estate by adding new and retaining current tenants.

In slight contrast to general property managers, community association oversee manage the common property of various associations and organizations for real estate developments such as condominiums, cooperatives, and planned communities.  The day-to-day operations require managers to handle the collection of dues as well as serve the residents or tenants of the properties.

Many of the duties of both property managers and community association managers overlap.  The positions' duties include business management, finance, sales and marketing, and operations.  As mentioned above the manager has the mandate to provide income to meet budgets and returns for property owners and investors.

The manager is also the go-to person for all tenant requests and problems.  In addition, these managers coordinate maintenance staff and schedule regular upkeep as well as execute and enforce lease and contract agreements tied to the property.

Managers can work for a variety of firms or corporations.  A majority of the time, managers are hired by property owners who do not have the time, skill, or expertise to manage day-to-day operations of their properties.

Corporations also have dedicated or outsourced management to maintain and run their facilities.  It is generally not difficult to break into the property management industry. Previous experience as an agent or manager is a plus in getting into property management.  Some get into the industry by building relationships with real estate asset holders.

Case competitions are an integral part of real estate education as they provide students with experiential learning opportunities. Case competitions offer students an opportunity to test their ability to develop innovative solutions to complex real estate case studies designed to simulate actual industry environment. Student teams consist of typically four to six students and compete against others in developing real estate proposals and presenting them to a panel of judges. Case competitions give student unprecedented opportunity to build their social and professional networks, while gaining invaluable resume-building experience.

Our students compete annually in several prestigious real estate case competitions on the graduate and undergraduate level that take place in the spring semester. The Center provides students with financial support for case competitions taking place out-of-state.

The ULI Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition is one of the most prestigious real estate case competitions in the world. We regularly field several teams and partner with the Knowlton School of Architecture and our local ULI chapter to provide professional mentors to each team. The recrcuitment process for the ULI competition generally begins in the fall semester, with the competition taking place first few weeks of January. The teams are composed of 5-6 students from various departments, including business, urban and regional planning, architecture, public policy and others. The teams work with their industry mentors over the period of two weeks on formulating their proposals. One of our Ohio State teams earned an honorable mention at the 2014 competition.

View Ohio State entries from past years:

The annual Villanova Real Estate Challenge for undergraduate students is organized by the the Daniel M. DiLella Center for Real Estate at the Villanova University. The teams consist of four undergraduate students, generally from the business school as this case competition is geared more toward the financial aspect of real estate.  Recruitment for the case competition team begins generally in January to enable students to apply for university funding in support of their participation. The Ohio State University team placed third in 2014.

The USC Marshall School of Business International Case Competition is open by invitation only to colleges and universities with undergraduate business real estate programs. The competition is held on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in the April timeframe. Participating teams are composed of 4-6 students and compete for cash prizes in oral and written presentations that address a real-world real estate problem. Recruitment for the case competition team begins generally in January to enable students to apply for university funding in support of their participation.