McDonough School of Business
Rahul Kumar (MS-GRA'24) poses for a headshot
News Story

Rahul Kumar (MS-GRA’24) discusses his experience as a real estate student at McDonough

Students in the inaugural class of the M.S. in Global Real Assets (MS-GRA) program at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business participated in the Real Estate Multifamily Clinic to gain hands-on underwriting experience that is specifically focused on the multifamily property type.

Here, Rahul Kumar (MS-GRA’24) shares his perspectives on the overall impact of the MS-GRA program, the benefits of having a multifamily clinic in the curriculum, and why he chose Georgetown to pursue his master’s degree.  

What has been the impact of the MS-GRA on your professional goals?

Unlike traditional MBA programs that span two years, the MS-GRA is condensed into a single year, making it more time-efficient. Additionally, I appreciate that we take MBA-type fundamental courses –  such as finance, economics, and accounting – while also focusing on the real estate sector, with courses that are directly applicable to real-world scenarios. We don’t just study theory – we apply it to underwrite actual deals, mirroring what we would do in our daily jobs.

How do you believe this program sets you apart in your career?

This program is unique. It incorporates an emphasis on the environmental impact of real estate, especially considering the growing concerns about climate change. Understanding the environmental impact and potential innovations to address or adapt to is an important part of the program’s mission. While the program doesn’t aim to make students experts within a year, it provides enough knowledge to engage in meaningful conversations about the subject and understand common industry acronyms and terminology.

The program also offers practical, marketable skills that are directly applicable to the real estate sector. For instance, students learn to use ARGUS –  a cash flow modeling tool commonly used in commercial real estate. These hands-on skills give students an edge in the job market as they acquire knowledge that others might only gain through on-the-job experience.

What is the Multifamily Clinic?

The Multifamily Clinic, taught by Professor Matthew Cypher, provides a comprehensive introduction to multifamily real estate as an asset class. It covers the basics of multifamily properties, differentiating between the types like opportunistic, value-add, and core assets. Students analyze actual deals, evaluating potential acquisition opportunities and assessing associated risks and attributes.

The course emphasizes the importance of risk assessment and guides students to understand potential impacts on property valuation and returns. The class also covers key real estate concepts and terms, such as contract loss, rapidly escalating insurance costs, capital expenditures and the impact of today’s debt markets on investments. 

How do you believe the skills gained from this course will help you achieve your professional goals?

I’m taking a unique path compared to most of my cohort by focusing on entering the hospitality sector within real estate. Currently, I’m interning at a hotel REIT, where I’ve been able to use the insights and skills I’ve gained from the curriculum. The fundamentals taught, such as modeling cash flows and setting up balance sheets, are applicable across various asset types – whether it’s an apartment, warehouse, data center, or hotel. Understanding how to create and interpret these financial models is crucial in any quantitative finance field.

My background is in private banking and I worked at JPMorgan Chase before joining this program. While I had a solid financial and technical background, I was unfamiliar with real estate modeling. The program has been beneficial in helping me understand how investors view different assets, what they prioritize, and what financial models should look like. Terms like cash-on-cash yields and others, which I had heard but didn’t fully understand, have become clear through practical application and modeling exercises.

Why did you choose Georgetown for this program?

I chose Georgetown for different reasons. First, Georgetown has a strong global reputation and a robust alumni network, which is important when considering an educational institution. A school’s brand and reputation can significantly impact job opportunities after graduation. Second, I knew I wanted to specialize in the hotel sector. While I didn’t want to pursue a hotel-specific master’s or MBA, I recognized that hotels are fundamentally a part of real estate. Georgetown’s program was unique in offering a real estate focus tailored to my interests within a one-year timeframe. Lastly, I chose Georgetown for Professor Cypher as well. He has been incredibly supportive by leveraging his extensive network to connect us with industry professionals and guiding us in our career paths.

M.S. in Global Real Assets