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Old Posted Aug 31, 2013, 4:44 AM
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Alxx611 Alxx611 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: New Orleans, LA/ Mobile, AL
Posts: 355
This topic is really interesting to me because I'm currently in a one year graduate school program at Tulane (Master of Sustainable Real Estate Development) that essentially, is geared towards making the student become a developer. Its actually in the School of Architecture. The curriculum basically blends building-design, finance, economics, real estate, case studies, and legal issues all together, with an emphasis on sustainability. Its interesting, because in the past you didn't just go to school to "become a developer" and our program is one of very few kind that now exist for that. In the past, people became developers from very diverse backgrounds. Many ex-architects, real estate agents, businessmen, people from the public sector with influence, lawyers, brokerage agents, private lenders, etc. Really any background, but of course the main key is being someone with a lot of money, or having a partner with money.

The paradigm now sees development as something that is done best by generalists that can know a little bit about every aspect of the developing process. A lot of the development process is becoming consolidated, and you have many design-build companies now. The idea is that just being an architect, a real estate finance guru good with spreadsheets, or construction manager isn't cutting it anymore. You need to educate yourself in every part of development to become a developer, and its becoming a well-defined discipline.

With that said, I'm only a few months into the program so I'm still learning. I was actually a Biology major in undergraduate, with some studio art experience, and very little real world experience so this was a huge jump for me with a lot to learn. My class though is made up of architects, business and finance majors, some people with design-build experience, real estate agents, an artist, and a few others with a similar background as me. I think they may have been flexible in who they accepted in the school, as this still a very young, growing program.

As the year goes by though, I'll be glad to give a more polished answer on going about being a developer other than just "go to school". The program definitely is giving us a head start advantage in the field, but again, there are really so many paths to getting into the business, with academia perhaps being a newer option.

Its ultimately knowing a little bit about everything, networking, the willingness to live the majority of your life teetering on the verge of financial collapse, self-motivation, always having vision, and being very creative about finding financing.
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