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MBA in Real Estate

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Get unmatched real estate knowledge along with a general management core. In this top-ranked program, manage real assets, visit global companies, and solve real estate challenges.

Whether you want to manage million-dollar portfolios or develop affordable housing projects, you will be positioned to make an immediate impact.


Best Real Estate MBA Program

U.S. News & World Report, 2024


Participate in domestic and global trips where you network with senior industry leaders and gain hands-on experience to build your résumé


Manage the complexities of commercial real estate and pursue focused tracks in private equity, development, investment, or affordable housing


1,800+ member Wisconsin School of Business Real Estate Alumni Association (WREAA)


MBA student talking

The curriculum integrates a strong foundation in general management with highly focused preparation in real estate. Specialized courses begin your first semester, enriching your summer internship and applied learning experiences.

Customize with additional electives in a wide variety of topics in business, law, engineering, and urban and regional planning. You can also pursue one or more graduate-level certificates in topics such as business analytics, entrepreneurship, strategic innovation, and sustainability.

Year 1

First Semester

  • Financial Accounting
  • Introduction to Financial Management
  • Leading and Working in Teams
  • Marketing Management
  • Data to Decisions
  • Operations Management
  • Real Estate Finance

Second Semester

  • Ethics, Integrity and Society
  • Integrated Company Analysis
  • Business Strategy
  • Economics for Managers
  • Real Estate Valuation
  • Real Estate Capital Markets or Elective

Year 2

First Semester

  • Urban Economics
  • Specialization Elective
  • Electives (3)

Second Semester

  • Applied Learning
  • Electives (3)

Choose from 4 Tracks

Four commercial real estate tracks to build focused expertise in your desired career path.

Commercial Real Estate Development Track

Gain skills and knowledge to successfully manage the development process, from project planning and management, to investment and financing decisions, to property valuation, property management, and real estate asset management. Core courses include Real Estate Finance, Commercial Real Estate Development, Real Estate Valuation and Feasibility Analysis, Urban Economics and Lawyering the Development Deal along with an extensive roster of multidisciplinary electives to foster your entrepreneurial spirit.

Affordable and Sustainable Housing Track

Dive into managing residential and commercial real estate developments with a focus on affordable housing and sustainable development in a hands-on, innovative program led by industry leaders.

Learn how housing markets fail to provide affordable housing solutions and how zoning exacerbates housing uncertainty, segregation, homelessness, and more. Some core courses include Green – Sustainable Development, Residential Property Development, Affordable Housing Development, and Affordable Housing Finance. Apply what you learn and help tackle crucial societal issues through the lens of affordable and sustainable housing.

In this program you will:
  • have hands-on learning with professionals working in affordable housing, sustainable real estate, nonprofits, and government.
  • understand affordable housing financing mechanisms and funding sources.
  • dig into the relationship between the economy, policy, geography, planning, and sustainability.
  • be prepared to manage, develop and finance residential and commercial real estate developments.

Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT)

The first program of its kind in the country, the Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT) gives you the opportunity to work with a team to manage a live $1.7 million portfolio of real estate investment trusts (REITs). Develop fundamental research and portfolio management skills by blending a thorough theoretical foundation with the firsthand experience and challenge of managing real money and working successfully as a team. An advisory board of REIT industry professionals serves as the “client” and provides advice and guidance on investment decisions and presentations. Work directly with executives at REITs, money managers, and sell-side analysts, as well as an AREIT board of leaders in REIT portfolio management, private equity investors, plan sponsors, and other professionals.

Work in a team to:
  • create a view on real estate property sectors through sector reports.
  • underwrite, value, and present stock recommendations for the portfolio.
  • monitor the portfolio and make adjustments throughout the year.
  • create a view of macro economy and then update the view as new data becomes available.
  • monitor capital markets.

Private Equity Track

The Private Equity Track is a unique student/alumni investment board private equity fund, the mission of which is to invest outside capital in an educational setting to deliver real returns for investors. The student teams make investment recommendations in a variety of private limited partnership investment funds. You learn to structure investments across a range of property types, regions, and investment vehicles.

Work in a team to:
  • construct an investment criteria sheet.
  • vet prospective private-placement memoranda.
  • visit prospective investments.
  • create an investment pipeline.
  • present opportunities to the investment committee.
  • generate an annual report/pitch book.

Applied Learning

Small program size means you get a lot of interaction with students and faculty as well as alumni and corporate partners plus hands-on experience to build your résumé.

  • Enter numerous nationwide case competitions
  • Invest real money in either publicly traded REIT shares or limited partnership interests in live real estate transactions nationwide across all property types (AREIT and PE tracks)
  • Gain leadership experience and engage with real estate alumni nationwide through the Real Estate Club and Women in Real Estate (WIRE) Club
  • Participate in global study tours and domestic field trips via applied learning tracks and clubs
  • Make industry connections at alumni events, board conferences and events, and through our mentor program
Students explore green development opportunities as part of the Real Estate MBA Program capstone class.

Expert Support and Career Connections

Business leaders at a panel discussion

Knowledge Center

The specialization is supported by the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. Named for the late James A. Graaskamp, a legendary figure in real estate education, the center serves as your link to a vast alumni network and the global professional real estate community. An advisory board of 130 real estate leaders supports the program, advising, participating in exclusive board lifelong-learning opportunities and conferences, and contributing as guest lecturers and mentors.

Advisory Board

Highly engaged advisory board members have deep ties to industry and consult the specialization on curriculum, projects, and networking.

Jessica Brown

Jessica Brown

Managing Director, Sterling Bay

Jessica Brown focuses on leasing across Sterling Bay’s national portfolio. Brown has worked at the firm for nine years and says every day is different. She recently preleased 70% of a 500,000-square-foot office building nine months before the first phase of the project was complete. Sterling Bay’s portfolio exceeds $20 billion in real estate assets.

World-Class Faculty

Our expert faculty members offer a deep-dive real-estate program that sets you apart.

Mark Eppli

Mark Eppli

Director, James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate
Faculty Associate, Real Estate and Urban Land Economics

Mark Eppli is widely published in commercial real estate and serves on a number of boards, including the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. Eppli was named a “Distinguished Fellow” by NAIOP, a national commercial real estate organization, which recognizes him as a foremost real estate policy expert. He has received awards and recognition for his efforts to attract minorities to the real estate industry, most recently The Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s 2021 Civic Leadership Award.

Program Voices

Brian Cleary
"Working as a consulting mechanical engineer and construction manager inspired me to transition to real estate. The Wisconsin specialization model allowed me to get exposure to core business classes and immerse myself in real estate from day one. The deep-dive curriculum in our first year has positioned me to join the industry at the level I want."
Brian Cleary (MBA ’19)
Associate, Northwood Investors
Jocelyn Friedman
"The Wisconsin MBA gives me the unique opportunity to specialize in exactly what I want to do. My goal was to become a real estate developer. With the Wisconsin MBA I got a high-quality business foundation that gave me career flexibility. I also got a focused, deep dive into all aspects of the real estate industry, from properties through portfolios."
Jocelyn (Friedman) Borchardt (MBA ’17)
Development Director, Dimension Development
"The greatest benefits I’ve gained from the Wisconsin MBA Program in real estate have been the quality of education and access to a powerful network of real estate practitioners. Wisconsin’s real estate program prepared me to successfully reenter the industry as a trained commercial real estate professional, with the skill set to deliver an immediate value to my role within real estate investments."
Amber (House) Scott (MBA ’14)
Director - Real Estate Debt and Equity Investment, Northwestern Mutual
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Connect With Top Employers

Connect with employers through classroom visits, networking events, and applied learning projects. Frequent recruiters:

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Real Estate Careers

Common career paths

  • Commercial or Residential Development
  • Lending and Finance
  • Asset and Portfolio Management
  • Affordable housing
  • Community development
  • Public administration

Common job titles

  • Project manager
  • Development officer
  • Commercial lending officer
  • Housing specialist
  • REIT analyst
  • Transactions associate
  • Real estate manager
  • Senior financial analyst
  • Portfolio manager
  • Vice president
  • Real estate development associate
  • Acquisitions associate
  • Commercial real estate analyst

Your MBA. Your Career Success.

High staff-to-student ratio means you get unlimited support—and exceptional connections—as you step into your ideal career.

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