Assessing Commercial Real Estate Investments and Markets in the Era of COVID-19

The Wharton School

The Wharton School


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Who should attend

This program is designed for those who invest large amounts of capital, such as institutional investors and financial advisors, who do not have a background specifically in real estate but who need to acquire or enhance their understanding of the sector or need a refresher on emerging real estate trends. This program is not for commercial real estate brokers, real estate developers, or other professionals whose primary focus is on the acquisition, construction, financing, or selling of commercial real estate.

Ideally, participants should already have a grasp of concepts such as net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR), free cash flow, discounted cash flow analysis, return on investment, and cost of capital. Familiarity with Microsoft Excel is expected.

Some of the job functions and roles include:

  • Asset managers and chief investment officers for large publicly traded or privately held corporations and institutions such as pension funds, university endowments, and foundations
  • Sovereign wealth fund professionals
  • Family office representatives and other private wealth advisors to ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families
  • CPAs, attorneys, and other professionals who advise institutional investors

Additionally, this program provides an excellent learning opportunity for ultra-high-net-worth investors who are frequently pitched commercial real estate investment deals and wish to be better educated in the subject.

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.

About the course

Real estate surrounds us, but it is frequently viewed with fear and trepidation by investors unfamiliar with the nuances of investing in this alternative asset class. Never has that fear and hesitation been more palpable than right now, as the global pandemic has struck a catastrophic blow to parts of the real estate industry. Various sectors such as retail, hospitality, office, apartments, and some lenders are experiencing multiple shocks caused by COVID-19’s relentless economic fallout. However, the future of the real estate industry will be marked by change and evolution, not collapse. The questions are which sectors, where, and how — not if.

Assessing Commercial Real Estate Investments and Markets in the Era of COVID-19 is for investment professionals who want to be well positioned to recover from recent shocks and make informed investment decisions in both the short and long term. This program will help you better understand the forces that are at play and give you deep insight on how to analyze the investment risks and opportunities that will emerge as demand for commercial real estate expands or contracts in various sectors.

Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Assessing Commercial Real Estate Investments and Markets in the Era of COVID-19, you will:

  • Learn about various sectors of commercial real estate and the different options for investing in them
  • Analyze how to navigate the short- and long-term disruptions in the commercial real estate industry
  • Understand how to balance risk and return in real estate investments in an economy impacted by COVID-19
  • Gain clarity and confidence around evaluating potential real estate investment partners and opportunities
  • Explore the drivers of real estate markets and discover how to invest and manage risk globally based on the political response to COVID-19
  • Determine how best to fit real estate into an overall investment strategy

Experience & Impact

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the commercial real estate landscape. Overnight, the social and economic cost of people being close together has gone up. What was once prized in commercial real estate — population density, access to premium downtown locations, center city business districts, and transportation hubs — now can be a liability. Unlike other industries that can retool a manufacturing line or discontinue a product or service, commercial real estate cannot pivot or revamp its business model quickly.

Some commercial real estate sectors, such as shopping malls and office buildings, were under tremendous pressure even before the pandemic hit. The weight of that pressure has dramatically increased during the ongoing COVID-19 onslaught. Meanwhile, some sectors of commercial real estate such as logistics, cloud kitchens, and data centers have been the beneficiaries of the pandemic as a new (and in some cases permanent) work-from-home status drives exponential growth for online shopping, virtual collaboration, and contactless delivery of food and other everyday items.

To understand the investment risks and opportunities that will emerge from this new world order, you will need to be prepared and well informed to interpret the data and understand the demographic changes that are adding another layer to the investment equation.

Assessing Commercial Real Estate Investments and Markets in the Era of COVID-19 provides you with a complete picture of the pros and cons of the various ways to invest in commercial real estate in today’s radically changing landscape. This program is particularly relevant for institutional investors and financial advisors to high-net-worth clients. Participants will become more discerning evaluators of offers and opportunities in the U.S. and globally. Beyond just improving your awareness of common investing pitfalls, you will also discover how to make real estate a more valuable slice of your client’s or institution’s diversified investment portfolio.

The Wharton faculty, who are the leading minds in real estate today, will explore the fundamental concepts around different commercial real estate asset classes, such as hotels, apartment buildings, shopping centers, and office buildings, and the varied economic forces that drive their returns. The effect of location — including cities, countries, coasts, and neighborhoods and their distinct risk and return characteristics — will also be covered. You will investigate many real estate investment strategies: direct investment, investing in public equity, lending to real estate, investing in real estate debt, or investing in a company or private equity firm that is itself investing in real estate. The advantages and drawbacks of each will be thoroughly discussed, as well as the unique risks that accompany each approach. You will also hone your skills around global real estate investment, including diversifying your investments across countries, finding local partners, and assessing and hedging currency risks.

Participants will discover how best to incorporate commercial real estate into their overall investment strategy. The current state of the U.S. and global real estate market will be discussed, and you will grasp the nuances of managing risk during boom and bust periods. Interactive exercises, case studies, and small-group breakouts make for engaging and thought-provoking sessions.

As a result of attending this program, you will gain a deeper understanding of the concepts, terminology, strategies, and opportunities that will enable you to confidently add both domestic and global real estate to your investment portfolio.

Session topics include:

  • Growth, Booms, and Risk
  • Commercial Real Estate Risk and Returns
  • Differences Across Property Sectors
  • Portfolio Allocation to Real Estate
  • Public Investment and Private Equity Investment
  • Real Estate Debt Investments
  • Global Real Estate


Todd Sinai

Education PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1997; BA, Yale University, 1992 Career and Recent Professional Awards; Teaching Awards Journal of Urban Economics Highly Cited Author Award, 2009 Edwin S. Mills Best Paper Award, 2004 HUD/AREUEA Best Paper Award, 2001 Academic Positions Held...

Gilles Duranton

Education PhD, London School of Economics, 1997; BSc, HEC, 1991 Recent Consulting Urban and regional development, transportation, local public finance Academic Positions Held Wharton: 2012present; named Dean's Chair in Real Estate Professor July 2013; Chair, Real Estate Department 2013presen...

Joseph Gyourko

Education PhD, University of Chicago, 1984; AB, Duke University, 1978 Recent Consulting Commercial real estate market analysis; housing market analysis Academic Positions Held Wharton: 1984present; (Chairperson, Real Estate Department, 20072013; Chairperson, Real Estate Department, 19992003; Nan...

Maisy Wong

Education Ph.D. in Economics: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008; B.A. in Economics: University of California, Berkeley, 2003 Academic Positions Held Associate Professor, The Wharton School: 2017Assistant Professor, The Wharton School: 20082017 Other Positions Consultant, World Bank (Jak...

Bilge Yilmaz

Education PhD, Princeton University, 2000; B.S., Bogaziçi University, 1991 Academic Positions Held Wharton: 2009present; 19982008. Previous appointment: Stanford University Archishman Chakraborty, Simon Gervais, Bilge Yilmaz (2011), Security Design in Initial Public Offerings , Review of Finance...

Asuka Nakahara

Asuka is a partner with Triton Atlantic Partners, a real estate advisory and investment firm that he cofounded in 2009. For the past 18 years, he has taught at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he is a lecturer, and is also associate director of the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Cen...

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Assessing Commercial Real Estate Investments and Markets in the Era of COVID-19 at The Wharton School

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

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