Real Estate Investing

Columbia Business School

Columbia Business School


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Who should attend

The course is designed for businesspeople on the periphery of the real estate business, including investors who touch but don't specialize in real estate, mortgage lenders, private wealth advisors, or chief investment officers who do not have a background in real estate but need to acquire or enhance their understanding of the sector. The program would also be appropriate for real estate professionals who need a refresher of the key concepts and an update to new developments in proptech.

About the course

As yields are compressing in traditional asset classes, more and more investors are increasing capital allocations into real estate. With financing attributes beneficial to institutional investors, fund managers, and entrepreneurs alike, real estate has become an avenue to wealth and a source of portfolio diversification for a wide range of investment entities.

Taught by Columbia Business School’s top real estate faculty from the School’s esteemed Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, the Real Estate as an Asset and Business program provides participants with a deep understanding of real estate valuation and investments — sharpening their acumen of real estate principles, teaching them how to mitigate risk in real estate investing, and strengthening their strategic decision-making capabilities in the field.

The program also introduces participants to businesses and strategies that disrupt and improve the way they buy, rent, sell, and manage real estate assets, including investment in disruptive real estate technologies and applications — insights that will help participants make better real estate investment decisions for the future. While touching on residential housing, the three-day program primarily focuses on the acquisition and management of income-producing commercial properties.


This three-day program is designed to provide an intensive dive into the changing fundamentals and emerging opportunities in real estate. Participants build on their existing business knowledge and learn how to apply that knowledge to the real estate investment market. Specifically, participants will:

  • Solidify their understanding of key real estate investment fundamentals and metrics
  • Using real-world case studies, examine determinants of successful real estate investing
  • Consider the perspectives of investors and investment management firms
  • Understand factors that are disrupting the business and explore strategies to improve buying, renting, selling, and managing real estate assets


Day 1: Commercial Real Estate Fundamentals and Valuation

Day one provides participants with an overview of the categories of real estate assets and investments and provides them with the tools to project and analyze cash flow for real estate properties, including modeling cash flow, the concept of real estate pro forma, and capitalization rates.

Participants also get a deep dive into real estate financing, including mortgage financing and other ways of raising capital for real estate acquisitions and investments. Finally, participants learn about real estate taxation, an important driver of value in many real estate investments.

Day 2: Real Estate Investment Opportunities and Transactions

Day two features a hands-on case exercise where participants model cash flows of a real estate investment comparable to a real-life analysis in the industry. Sessions on day two also cover lender's rights, borrower’s rights, and foreclosure processes, followed by a discussion about value investing strategies in the real estate industry.

Day 3: Corporate Real Estate, Housing, Disruption, and Course Summary

The last program day offers another hands-on case study, providing participants the opportunity to analyze an actual real estate investment strategy. Day three will also address the latest developments in the real estate industry, including the impact of disruptive technologies in the field.

Throughout the program, industry guest speakers will complement the classroom and experiential learning sessions.


Christopher Mayer

Christopher Mayer is the Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate at Columbia Business School. His research explores a variety of topics in real estate and financial markets, including housing cycles, mortgage markets, debt securitization, and commercial real estate valuation. Dr. Mayer is also CEO...

Tomasz Piskorski

Tomasz Piskorski is the Edward S. Gordon Associate Professor of Real Estate at Columbia Business School and the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and served as a board member of the Finance Theory Group. He received a...

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh

Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh is the David S. Loeb Professor of Finance and the Director of the Center for Real Estate Finance Research at New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business, which he joined in 2003. Professor Van Nieuwerburgh’s research lies in the intersection of housing, asset pr...

David Sherman

Education DBA, Harvard Business School MBA, Harvard Business School AB in Economics, Brandeis University   Research & Teaching Interests Professor Sherman''s research has long focused on financial reporting, performance measurement/management, and financial literacy issues facing corporat...

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Real Estate Investing at Columbia Business School

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