The application season for Fall 2012 admission to the Wisconsin MBA is now underway. The first round deadline is November 4, 2011. We sat down with Sharon McCabe, Associate Director of Recruiting and Career Services for the Graaskamp Center, to talk about the admissions process and her suggestions for candidates for an MBA in Real Estate.
Is a business background required and how much work experience should a candidate have?
In general, our MBA students in real estate have 4-5 years of professional work experience; the Wisconsin MBA requires a minimum of two years. Some students come from real estate or finance related functions. But just as real estate is a multi-faceted industry, our students come from many backgrounds including economics, engineering and law, even politics.
What I think is more important than a specific type of past training, is life experience. We believe that the real-life experience that every student brings into the classroom is very important. Our students come to Wisconsin with strengths along different dimensions, and through our program round out their skill set in real estate.
What GMAT or GRE score is needed?
A Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) score taken within the past five years is required. The GRE may be accepted, on a case by case basis, in lieu of the GMAT. The real estate program is very competitive with average GMAT scores in the upper 600s, but the range for individual students is broad. We look beyond test scores to a candidate's whole application when making our admissions decisions. However, we do give particular attention to the quantitative dimension of the score. Familiarity with quantitative concepts-business ratios and balance sheet basics-is a good foundation to have. While real estate may be a relationship driven business, it's a practical, numbers driven business too.
What else do you look for in a candidate?
I think, most of all, the thread that connects the most successful practitioners in real estate is passion for the craft. That passion can manifest itself in different ways. For some, it starts as an interest in construction, how things get built. For others, it's a consciousness of the built environment or an appreciation of how development can affect a neighborhood or community. For still others, it is the realization that real estate investment can be both tangible and profitable. I think it's important for MBA candidates to be aware of their own journey to this point and to be able to articulate their unique passion for real estate.
What career options are available for graduates with an MBA in real estate?
The Wisconsin MBA in Real Estate is designed to challenge our students to reach their potential as talented, passionate and socially responsible leaders in real estate. Through the exceptional breadth and depth of our curriculum, access to world-class faculty and practitioners, and our global alumni and industry connections, our students are uniquely prepared for their careers and to make their mark on the urban landscape. Graduates commonly follow five basic career paths: development, lending and financing, asset and portfolio management, advisory services, and economic development and public policy. They also have access to a wide variety of resources to support them during the job placement process.
I have seen an increasing number of opportunities available to our students, even as the challenges to the economy continue. Real estate is a fundamental part of the economy; everybody needs it. Trends in population growth indicate an expanding need for both residential and commercial space. Even if population growth stopped, buildings age and need replacing, technology changes and facilities need upgrading. Real estate as an industry is remarkably resilient.
What's the best way to find out more about the Wisconsin MBA in Real Estate?
Come to campus! We're available Tuesdays and Thursdays during the fall semester to host prospective students. Sign up online for a day on our campus in Madison which includes a visit to a class, lunch with a current MBA student, and interviews with me and with the admissions office for the Wisconsin MBA. I think it's a fantastic opportunity to see our beautiful campus in person and to help us get to know our candidates better. But if coming to Madison isn't possible, I am happy to talk with prospective students over the phone or I can connect candidates with one of our real estate alumni in their area. We have some of the most active and engaged alumni in the industry who are amazing ambassadors for our program.
When should candidates apply?
We are taking applications now for the Fall 2012 intake. Wisconsin offers four application rounds; the first round deadline is November 4th. Candidates can visit the Wisconsin MBA Admission web page for dates and more information on the application process. While we look for the best candidates throughout the process, I would encourage candidates in real estate to apply in the first two rounds.
The decision to pursue an advanced degree in real estate is a personal one, and the reasons vary widely. What the Wisconsin MBA in Real Estate offers is this: the foundation in business of an MBA and the specialized focus of a master's degree in real estate. The innovative and top-ranked program at Wisconsin is an in-depth real estate graduate education experience you won't get anywhere else.
Contact us today:
Associate Director of Recruiting and Career Services.
Sharon L. McCabe is an associate director within the Graaskamp Center for Real Estate and a faculty associate in the Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Department, both in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business. Over the last ten years, Sharon has taught several different classes at both the graduate and undergraduate level. Sharon also is actively involved in the recruitment, retention and placement of the real estate MBAs in the program.
Sharon has spent over 20 years in the real estate industry as a market analyst, appraiser, assessor and instructor. She has experience valuing all types of commercial properties including shopping centers, hotels, office buildings and both market-rate and subsidized apartment buildings. As a commercial assessor for the city of Madison, she was responsible for valuing over 1,000 properties worth over $1 Billion dollars for ad valorem taxation purposes.
Sharon has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Urban Land Economics and a Master’s of Science degree in Real Estate Appraisal and Investment Analysis, both from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She is a real estate broker, certified general appraiser and a licensed real property assessor.