May 21 • 4 min read

“Nothing is better than an informed decision,” says David Wilk, director of the Temple Fox Real Estate Center and assistant professor of finance. “If you want to make money in real estate, you want to be as informed as possible about its value and risks.”

With the new online Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) from the Fox School of Business, experienced professionals, entrepreneurs and business leaders will gain real-world exposure to the field, advance their skills and increase their profitability beyond real estate certifications. But money isn’t everything, especially in a world that is increasingly focused on sustainability, inclusion and social responsibility.

The MSRE also prepares professionals and offers credit for various industry designations, including MAI (Member Appraisal Institute), CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member), CPM (Certified Property Manager), MCR (Master of Corporate Real Estate), SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors Member), CRE (Counselor of Real Estate), CecD (Certified Economic Developer), brokerage and other designation possibilities.

“Our program will offer everything our competitors are teaching—investment, finance, valuation, construction—but our secret sauce will be teaching students how real estate can be used as a way to transform undervalued communities and assets,” says Wilk. “The program will focus on innovation, inclusion, infrastructure and optimization.”

Within the real estate master’s curriculum, professors like Wilk and industry experts will enable students to teach corporate executives and the C-suite how to optimize a corporation’s number one asset: real estate. By bringing in expert practitioners as adjunct professors, such as Mitchell Morgan, chairman of Temple’s Board of Trustees, and Robert Fahey, a member of the Fox School’s Board of Visitors, Wilk is able to meld the knowledge learned in the classroom with the experience of highly successful industry leaders.

Through Experiential Learning constructs and case studies, graduate students explore how a project, if developed, could become a catalyst for transformation and social equity in multiple neighborhoods.

“Companies are focused on how decisions impact the communities that surround them,” says Wilk. The program will prepare graduate real estate students to ask the right questions in order to make informed decisions about their surrounding assets, bettering both the companies and their local neighborhoods. 

“How can excess real estate be optimized? It can be a driver of inclusive economic development. How long do you wait for excess space to be taken up by a new company? Go around to the community, city and state leaders and ask, ‘How can we turn this property or neighborhood into something that has a benefit to as many stakeholders as possible in the future?’”

Morgan will teach Institutional Investment Management, and Fahey is teaching Real Estate Finance and Capital Markets. Other adjuncts include Dominique Casimir, Ernst Valery, Sara Toner, Esq., Joe Pasquarella, MAI, CRE, FRICS and Joseph G. Nahas, Jr., CRE.

The real estate master’s program will build upon the work that Wilk is already doing with students. For example, in fall 2018, his Real Estate Development class looked at whether Temple could partner with the city and create a University Research Park model that provides strategies for enhanced social infrastructure in the North Philadelphia community.

The students reimagined the neighborhood surrounding the Temple main campus and created a vision for an Innovation District/Research Park using a “P3” (public-private partnership) structure. In the Innovation District concept, Temple, the city of Philadelphia and private businesses would create a new innovation ecosystem designed to foster education and research focused on creating social infrastructure for the neighborhood.

Despite the fact that COVID-19 has dramatically impacted both short and long-term plans for everyone, the MSRE program will address critical societal needs and priorities that people and businesses need to focus to successfully migrate from the present to plan for the future.

“One real estate context for this migration is how the physical workplace will look different post-COVID-19,” says Wilk. “Part of what students will learn is how to create and sustain a workplace that is safe, healthy, motivating and productive. Real estate innovation is the medium by which we will deliver places of diversity, inclusion, social impact/equity and positive culture.” The program will provide a roadmap for learning how to deliver this new paradigm of value.

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