The Department of Real Estate at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business has set itself on the course for improved rankings and an elevated reputation. For 2019, U.S. News & World Report named the department 10th in the nation for best undergraduate programs in real estate. This transformation did not occur overnight. As part of its marketing efforts, the department has edified young professionals on the diverse career opportunities in the field, including real estate development, lending, commercial brokerage and corporate real estate. Not surprisingly, since 2013, the number of students declaring real estate majors at Robinson has more than tripled.
In addition to undergraduate diplomas, the department confers master’s- and doctoral-level degrees. Recently renamed to clarify its purpose, the Master of Science in Commercial Real Estate equips students with the skills to think like the owner of a scalable commercial real estate investment fund. The Ph.D. program has a history of placing scholars at institutions such as the College of Charleston and Pepperdine University.
Although many of Robinson’s real estate faculty members have retired over the past seven years, the department has rebuilt a line-up of seasoned instructors. Key faculty include Dr. Jon Wiley, who holds the Richard E. Bowers Professorship in Real Estate and currently is ranked second worldwide for real estate research productivity; Dr. Vincent Yao, who hails from Fannie Mae and holds the Association for Real Estate Alumni (AREA) Professorship; Dr. Thao Le, a newly minted Ph.D. who came to Robinson from Penn State; and Lynn McKee, an industry stalwart with 25 years of experience in direct lending, mortgage banking, asset management and real estate development.
Adjunct faculty such as McKee keep Robinson tapped into the corporate world. The department maintains additional connections through its Real Estate Honorary Board, which comprises 70 senior leaders who enhance the student experience through internship opportunities, guest lectures and mentoring; AREA GSU, a 2,000-member alumni organization that hosts regular networking events; and Views from the Top, Atlanta’s premier industry conference.
“We are incredibly proud that our hard work has gained national recognition,” says Wiley, who notes that more than 1,700 of the department’s approximately 2,000 alumni are located in Atlanta. “Practically every building in Atlanta has been touched by a Georgia State alum.”