University of Southern California

Leadership in Real Estate Finance
Top-ranking Marshall Program Announces even Stronger Curriculum
November 18, 2013 • by News at Marshall

The USC Marshall School of Business is already recognized as one of the best in the nation for undergraduate real estate programs, ranked fifth nationally by U.S. News & World Report in that category. Building on that foundation of distinction, Marshall has introduced a Certificate of Excellence and Leadership in Real Estate Finance. Designed to provide a more comprehensive educational experience that develops the skills that employers demand, the program incorporates opportunities for experiential learning and international research.

To join the program, students in the Marshall School of Business and Leventhal School of Accounting must declare their interest as freshmen or sophomores. They need to complete requirements in four areas — coursework, internships, service/extracurricular involvement, and research/travel fellowship — to earn the certificate and be eligible for membership in the real estate honor society.

“The curriculum is ambitious and rigorous, but the rewards are great,” said Robert Bridges, assistant professor of clinical finance and business economics and coordinator of the program. “Completion of this program lets an employer know that a student has gone the extra mile. To that extent, the benefits are tangible. The level of pay and responsibility, the entry point on the ladder, is really determined by what the employer sees on the resume.”

In addition to coursework in Real Estate Finance, students are required to complete at least one six-week internship.

A Real Estate club has been created to facilitate the service requirement. Working in collaboration with various Marshall offices, including career services, admissions and student services, students will run a high-level speaker series, organize attendance at industry conferences and arrange for guest speakers and site visits. Students may participate in university case competitions and in professional organizations.

Students also will experience international academic travel at least once, during a research fellowship. After studying the history of an international real estate market, students will then visit that country to study current economic conditions and real estate issues and meet with business officials. The November 2013 trip will take students to Venice, Florence and Rome to explore those markets in light of Italy’s struggles to emerge from the economic downturn.

An equally important element of the certificate is the new Terra Aureus Honor Society. According to Bridges, the honor society allows graduates to have not only a service organization to participate in but also an alumni group that can offer immediate networking opportunities after graduation. Exemplary graduates from the past few years have already been recruited to organize the society.

“This program is a perfect demonstration of the dean, administration, staff, alumni and student leaders at USC coming together to strengthen an already extraordinary organization,” said Henry Ammar ’13, who works at the Worthe Real Estate Group. “USC alumni play such a strong role in the real estate industry, and I know this program will help the future leaders of real estate that graduate from USC.”

The program already has attracted substantial attention from students and will graduate its first certificate recipients in 2014.

“We’ve had 115 students sign up for the program,” said Bridges. “I was expecting to perhaps recruit 25 students, but 75 students attended the first meeting at the University Club. That was extremely rewarding and evidence that the students are absolutely excited about the program.”

To apply for the Certificate of Excellence and Leadership in Real Estate Finance, visit:

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.