Higher Learning

Real Estate Brokerage 101: Schack Institute Divisional Dean Schools The Commercial Observer

In the song, “New York, New York” Frank Sinatra sings that “if I can make it there, I can make it anywhere.” But just how difficult is it to make it big here, especially in real estate?

Whether it’s that new job, a higher salary or commission, or a fresh start entirely, it may be tougher than the song implies if you don’t have the right education.

In 2010, Monster.com leveraged 2.5 million résumés for all job hopefuls in New York City. That’s a big number. In a sea of résumés, it can be hard to make yourself stand out from the competition, especially for those who are looking to break into the real estate industry or make a change from their already established careers.

Furthering your education is one such way, even in the real estate industry. Whether you think obtaining your master’s degree or just sharpening your skills is appropriate for you, educating yourself is the most effective way of differentiating yourself from the competition.
The NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, a division within the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies, has two tracks that professionals can take: the graduate program and noncredit classes through its continuing education program.

The NYU Schack graduate program offers three Master of Science degrees: in Construction Management, Real Estate and Real Estate Development. There are also two graduate certificate programs in Construction Management and Real Estate.

The curriculum reflects and adapts to the dynamic nature of the business landscape and draws on the practical, real-life experiences of its faculty, which comprises some of the most accomplished executives in the industry. Attracting power players to its faculty has been a longstanding tradition for the institute since it was founded in 1967 at the initiative of developer Larry Silverstein and other major real estate executives.

Jimmy Kuhn, president of Newmark Knight Frank and chairman of the NYU Schack Advisory Board, notes that Newmark hires many Schack graduates because “they have the combination of attributes the industry demands: entrepreneurial instincts honed and sharpened by an education that imparts exceptional critical thinking and leadership skills. Since they’re from NYU Schack, we know that they already understand the business—what a cap rate is, how to read a lease—and we avoid a huge learning curve.”

For the professionals who are looking to hone their skills or expand their knowledge in their current working field, NYU Schack’s Continuing Education program each year offers hundreds of noncredit courses—as well as professional certificates and intensive programs, to keep real estate and construction professionals abreast of the latest trends affecting the industry.

Professionals looking to expand their education with a certificate course can select from programs such as Construction Project Management, Sustainable Design, Construction and Development, Commercial Property Management and Real Estate Development.

Indeed, graduates of NYU Schack’s programs pursue opportunities that allow them to seize their dream jobs. One, Jason Twill, moved to Seattle to work as a senior project manager of sustainability at Vulcan Inc., Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen’s sustainability practice.

Another alumnus, nationally recognized ecofriendly and healthy home interior designer Robin Wilson, recently completed a project for the private residence of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which had to be rebuilt due to a black mold infestation. She subsequently wrote a book about her experience, Kennedy Green House: Designing an Eco-Healthy Home from the Foundation to the Furniture.

Continuing education alumnus J. Michael Chumbley, a real estate consultant to nonprofit companies, enrolled in the institute to focus his academic pursuits. He has taken several summer intensive classes in areas such as real estate development, management and global markets.

“Schack provided a fluency in the language of real estate and helped me to develop a vision for the highest and best use of assets,” Mr. Chumbley said. “Now working as a consultant, the complex government and asset management challenges of a nonprofit are much easier to handle.”

Returning to school is easier and more valuable than ever. Whether it’s for a certificate course that will help boost your salary or a graduate degree to change your professional direction, completing courses at NYU Schack provides the ability and practical knowledge to get ahead.

Rosemary Scanlon was named divisional dean of New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate last week. A noted expert and scholar in the areas of urban and regional economics, Ms. Scanlon has served as a visiting research fellow at the London School of Economics, where she served as project director of the London-New York Economic Study, published by the Corporation of London in June 2000. In addition, she has coauthored four reports on financing issues of the London Underground.