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Why I Chose USC for My Master of Real Estate Development Degree

Real estate development is a complex and dynamic field that requires a combination of skills, knowledge, and experience. There are many factors that influence the success of a real estate project, such as market conditions, financing options, design choices, regulatory issues, and stakeholder interests. To become a competent and confident real estate developer, one needs to have a solid foundation in the principles and practices of the industry, as well as exposure to real-world scenarios and challenges.
That is why I decided to pursue a Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) degree at the University of Southern California (USC) back in 2005. USC is one of the leading institutions in the world for real estate education, research, and networking. The USC MRED program is designed to provide students with a comprehensive and rigorous curriculum that covers all aspects of real estate development, from feasibility analysis and site selection to construction management and asset disposition. The program also offers a variety of electives, dual degree options, and international opportunities that allow students to customize their learning experience and career goals.

USC MRED vs Other Top-Tier MRED Programs

When I was looking for a MRED program, I wanted to find one that had a strong reputation, a comprehensive curriculum, a flexible schedule, and a diverse and supportive network. I did some research and found out that there were four top-tier MRED programs in the US: USC, Columbia, MIT, and Cornell. I compared these programs based on several criteria, such as program duration, tuition cost, admission requirements, course offerings, faculty profiles, alumni network, and career outcomes. I also looked at some online rankings and reviews, but I did not rely on them too much, as they can be subjective and outdated.
Based on my comparison, I found that the USC MRED program had several advantages over the other programs. Here are some of the main ones:
Program Duration: The USC MRED program offers both a full-time (3 semesters, 11 months) and a part-time (6 semesters, 2 years) option, which gives students more flexibility and convenience. The other programs only offer a full-time option, which can be more demanding and disruptive for working professionals.
Tuition Cost: The USC MRED program has a lower tuition cost than the other programs, which can make a significant difference in the affordability and return on investment of the degree. The USC MRED program costs $63,000 for the full-time option and $66,000 for the part-time option, while the other programs cost between $75,000 and $95,000 for the full-time option only.
Admission Requirements: The USC MRED program has a more holistic and inclusive admission process than the other programs, which can increase the chances of acceptance and diversity of the student body. The USC MRED program does not require a GMAT or GRE score, and accepts applicants from various academic and professional backgrounds. The other programs have more stringent and standardized admission criteria, such as requiring a minimum GPA, a specific undergraduate major, or a certain amount of work experience.
Course Offerings: The USC MRED program has a more comprehensive and diverse course offering than the other programs, which can enhance the breadth and depth of the learning experience and career opportunities. The USC MRED program offers 12 core courses and 18 elective courses, covering topics such as real estate finance, market analysis, urban planning, design, construction, sustainability, law, taxation, and entrepreneurship. The other programs offer between 8 and 10 core courses and between 10 and 14 elective courses, covering similar but fewer topics.
Faculty Profiles: The USC MRED program has a more experienced and qualified faculty than the other programs, which can improve the quality and relevance of the instruction and mentorship. The USC MRED program has 25 faculty members, most of whom have PhDs, professional licenses, or industry certifications, and have extensive and diverse backgrounds in real estate development, consulting, investment, management, and education. The other programs have between 15 and 20 faculty members, some of whom have less academic credentials or industry experience.
Alumni Network: The USC MRED program has a larger and more active alumni network than the other programs, which can provide more support and opportunities for networking, collaboration, and career advancement. The USC MRED program has over 1,500 alumni, working in 28 states and 11 countries, in various sectors and roles of the real estate industry. The other programs have between 500 and 1,000 alumni, working in fewer states and countries, and in more limited sectors and roles of the real estate industry.

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USC MRED Program Features and Benefits

Besides the advantages that I mentioned above, the USC MRED program also has some unique features and benefits that make it stand out from other programs. Here are some of them:
International Opportunities: The USC MRED program offers several international opportunities for students to gain global exposure and perspective on real estate development. These include study abroad programs, international field trips, global case competitions, and cross-cultural collaborations. Some of the countries that USC MRED students have visited or worked with include China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, England, Canada, and more.
Dual Degree Options: The USC MRED program offers several dual degree options for students who want to pursue another graduate degree in addition to the MRED degree. These include MBA, JD, MPA, MPL, and MSCE. These dual degree options can help students broaden their knowledge and skills, and increase their marketability and career options.
Trojan Family: The USC MRED program is part of the USC Price School of Public Policy, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious schools of public policy in the US. The USC Price School is also part of the USC, which is one of the largest and most renowned private universities in the US. The USC MRED program benefits from the resources, reputation, and network of the USC Price School and the USC, which are collectively known as the Trojan Family. The Trojan Family is a powerful and supportive community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends, who share a common bond and a spirit of excellence, innovation, and service.

Conclusion

In summary, I chose USC for my MRED degree because it offered me the best combination of reputation, curriculum, flexibility, cost, diversity, and network. The USC MRED program prepared me well for the challenges and opportunities of the real estate development industry, and helped me achieve my professional goals and success. I highly recommend the USC MRED program to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in real estate development, or who is considering applying to the USC MRED program.
I hope that this article has given you some insights and information about the USC MRED program, and why I chose it for my MRED degree. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment below. Thank you for reading and have a great day!
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