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Graduate Students Flock Back to Real Estate

August 28, 2001

LOS ANGELES – Graduate students eager to make their mark in the real estate industry have boosted enrollment by 50 percent this fall at the University of Southern California’s Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program. Despite fears of the development industry’s current slowdown, 44 students -- many already armed with advanced degrees -- are optimistic about their prospects in real estate, according to Stan Ross, chairman of the board for the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate ( that supports the education and professional activities of the students. “We have attracted men and women with graduate degrees from the country’s leading business schools including Stanford, Duke and Northwestern,” said Ross. “They had their pick of industries, but chose real estate based, no doubt, on the success of current graduates and the amazing opportunities that a real estate career still offers with pension funds, banks, consulting, real estate investment trusts and many private companies.”

The academic experience, practical training and networking during the one-year MRED program can accelerate a career by several years, according to Peter Gordon, director of the MRED program housed in the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development. “Our graduates go on to national and regional firms that demand proficiency in real estate as well as advanced business skills. They are well equipped with the finance and analytical tools they need to better grasp the issues facing this global industry,” Gordon added.

The average starting salary of MRED graduates is $75,000 with a 10-30 percent annual bonus. Companies that MRED graduates work for include Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, J.P. Morgan Securities, McDonald’s Corporation, Trammell Crow Company, SunAmerica, KB Home and Greystone Homes. In addition, some 30 percent of the graduates have started their own firms or have joined a family-owned company in homebuilding, hotel development and shopping center development.