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The unmet demand for real estate education in Canada

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I continue to be amazed by the unmet demand for real estate (development) education here in Canada.

Following yesterday’s post on the real estate development process, I received a few emails from readers asking about the best university programs (MBA, MRED, etc.) and the best approaches for becoming a developer.

I also had a good conversation on Twitter, which covered off some details that I had left out from my post (for simplicity) and which resulted in me suggesting that a real estate development school needs to be started here in Toronto:

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Now, part of the reason things are the way that they are, I think, is because the real estate industry has been historically dominated by private rich families. People didn’t go to school to learn how to be developers. They learned by doing and that was then passed down to the next generation. All it took was chutzpah.

But as the real estate industry continues to institutionalize and become run by pension funds and large publicly traded companies, I think the point of entry will also become increasingly institutionalized. And that’s where dedicated real estate programs will continue to come in. 

I’ve spoken to a few people at the Rotman School – where I did my MBA – and there doesn’t seem to be a huge interest in a dedicated program such as a Master of Real Estate Development (they already offer real estate courses). It’s more of a “longer term” strategy. 

But I think that’s a mistake.

I’m confident there’s strong demand from the student side, so hopefully a wealthy donor will step forward to help make this happen. The University of Toronto has both a great business school and a great architecture school. That feels like a great recipe for a first-in-kind joint degree offering.

Image: Urban Learning (via Flickr)

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