Professional Certificate in Real Estate Finance and Development Receives Top Marks

Responding to global developments that underscore the need for greater insight into real-estate markets and risk, MIT Professional Education and the MIT Center for Real Estate (CRE) recently unveiled a new program: Professional Certificate in Real Estate Finance and Development. This five-course curriculum, which expands the reach of CRE’s audience and increases professional participation, covers both fundamentals and advanced topics. The new certificate program enables students to gain new skills and state-of-the-art insights about the key factors and investment strategies driving real-estate markets.

Real-estate professionals from around the world gathered in Cambridge over a two-week period to earn the inaugural certificate after completing a suite of one-to-three-day classes:

  • Real Estate Finance: Fundamentals
  • Evaluating Real Estate Markets
  • Real Estate Finance: Advanced
  • Commercial Real Estate Development
  • Global Real Estate Markets

All five courses are taught by MIT faculty who are experts in their respective fields. W. Tod McGrath is a lecturer in the Center for Real Estate and is president of advisoRE LLC. William Wheaton is a professor emeritus from MIT’s Department of Economics and continues to teach at CRE. Professor Albert Saiz is director of CRE and also an associate professor of urban economics and real estate. David Geltner is currently professor of real estate finance in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and has a joint appointment in the Engineering Systems Division. Walter Torous is a senior lecturer holding an appointment with both the CRE’s Master of Science in Real Estate Development (MSRED) Program and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Participants in these Short Program courses learn to identify and evaluate economically viable commercial real-estate projects, evaluate investment properties, and learn finance theory and taxation principles.

“Engaging with MIT Professional Education as our educational partner made great business sense,” said Lisa M. Thoma, associate director of the Center for Real Estate. “MIT Professional Education’s talented team blended so well with our faculty to execute the overall marketing strategy. MIT Professional Education also did a great job managing public relations, overseeing the program/project management, and managing the lifecycle of our participants—from outreach to registration.”

“We’re delighted that a cohort of 37 participants completed all five courses and earned professional certificates,” said Professor Saiz, director of the MIT CRE. “Nearly 100 others were able to take at least one of the classes and were on track to earn their certificates as well. The strong response we’ve seen in this first year of the program speaks to the value we are providing to a global audience of real-estate professionals.”

“By enrolling and completing our program, our graduates are walking away with a greater understanding of the impact of global real-estate capital and its impact on pricing, international capital inflows, and how to build a global portfolio. In just weeks, they’re developing competencies that give them an immediate and enduring impact on their organizations,” added Saiz.

“Our audience is increasingly multi-disciplinary,” said Bhaskar Pant, executive director of MIT Professional Education, “so this program recognizes that our participants must be skilled and fluent in finance and management issues. Given the critical role that real estate plays in capital outlays and operational strategies for so many enterprises today, this new professional certificate program is particularly well-timed and well targeted. We’re delighted to have MIT CRE’s participation and expertise to make this valuable program happen.”

This is an approach that is already impressing the program’s many participants. After completing Real Estate Finance: Advanced, Scott Backman, senior asset management officer of the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation was enthusiastic. “The teaching forum was highly collaborative,” he said. “Professor Geltner and Dr. Torous were exceptional in sharing their expertise on the subject matter.”

Jim Fitzgerald, owner of RE/MAX Commercial of Boston, echoed those sentiments after completing the Commercial Real Estate Development course. “This course was excellent, and Tod is an incredible talent with commanding knowledge of real estate development,” he said. “You are not bored for one minute in three action-packed days. The guest speakers are some of the best minds in the industry.”