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More Students Seek Development Degree

August 30, 2001

The real estate development business may be slowing down, but that hasn't deterred budding Donald Trumps from seeking to further their education and skills in this generally lucrative industry.

This fall's enrollment in the graduate-level Master of Real Estate Development (MRED) program at the University of Southern California is up by 50 percent, the school reports. Forty-four students -- many already holding advanced degrees in other subjects -- are optimistic about their prospects in real estate.

"We have attracted men and women with graduate degrees from the country's leading business schools including Stanford, Duke and Northwestern," says Stan Ross, chairman of the board at USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate. "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, says Peter Gordon, director of the MRED program housed in the USC School of Policy, Planning and Development. He adds, "Our graduates go on to national and regional firms that demand proficiency in real estate as well as advanced business skills."

MRED graduates pull down an average starting salary of $75,000, with a 10 percent to 30 percent annual bonus. Among the companies that have hired MRED grads are Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young, J.P. Morgan Securities, McDonald's Corp., Trammell Crow Co., SunAmerica, KB Home and Greystone Homes.

In addition, nearly a third of the graduates have started their own firms or have joined a family-owned company in home-building, hotel development and shopping center development.

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