Profeta Center for Real Estate at NJIT is welcomed by its academic competitors

Leaders at real estate programs at Rutgers, Monmouth both say more opportunities are good for students and industry in N.J.

Paul V. Profeta, left, and NJIT President Joel Bloom at the donation signing. (NJIT)

Carl Goldberg welcomed the announcement Friday of the Paul V. Profeta Foundation Real Estate Technology, Design and Innovation Center at New Jersey Institute of Technology, which will be the state’s fourth real estate-based program in the state.

Carl Goldberg. (File photo)

Goldberg knows firsthand how a new real estate school provides new opportunities for the industry in the state.

After all, it’s how he became one of the co-chairs of the executive committee of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate when it launched in 2014, he said.

“Jimmy Hansen and I have served as the co-chairs of the executive committee since the onset,” Goldberg said. “But I wouldn’t have been involved in the program absent Paul’s recruitment of my participation.”

He is confident the NJIT program will have the same impact — bringing more students into the industry. And that’s a good thing, he said.

“I think the more students in the state of New Jersey that can be educated in a quality real estate program is better for the industry and better for the state — and better for students who are interested in pursuing a career in real estate,” he said.

“I think competition and options are healthy for the industry and for prospective students.”

Don Moliver, the dean of the Leon Hess Business School at Monmouth University and the interim director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute, agreed.

Moliver, who helped found the Kislak institute in 2006, when Monmouth became the first university in New Jersey to offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the business of real estate, said he welcomes NJIT into the field of study.

Montclair State University also has a program.

“It’s an industry that has been sorely in need of formal education for decades,” he said. “I think, historically, real estate was viewed as a vocation — and it didn’t get the attention it so richly deserved.

“So, we welcome them to the playing field. I will view them the same way I view the others, as friendly competitors.”

How the Profeta Real Estate Center at NJIT will distinguish itself from the others remains to be seen.

NJIT officials said Friday the center will establish new undergraduate, graduate and MBA programs, provide certificate and noncredit training, organize and host conferences, symposia and workshops, and conduct cutting-edge research related to the changing ways in which real estate is built, traded, used and managed.

The Profeta Real Estate Center’s transdisciplinary research activities will focus on the use of technology, new ways of design and construction, and innovative business models in real estate, with a special focus on the application of information technology and platform economics to real estate markets — also known as property technology, or “PropTech,” NJIT officials said.

Tuchman School Dean Oya Tukel said the timing of the center is perfect.

“Global real estate is a more valuable asset class than all stocks, shares and bonds combined,” she said. “We are excited to be on the cutting edge of this market, producing the world’s future real estate entrepreneurs and innovators.”

NJIT’s program also promises to be an entryway into the profession for communities that traditionally have not been a big part of the industry: women and people of color.

Goldberg said increasing inclusion has been a big part of the mission at the Rutgers Center for Real Estate since it opened.

“Our focus always has been on inclusion, diversity and sustainability,” he said “We wanted to provide a real estate program at Rutgers that would encourage students of both ethnic and gender diversity to pursue careers in real estate.

“We want to create a broader spectrum of opportunity in the real estate industries for students of all backgrounds, and I think we’ve been extraordinarily successful in that endeavor. If you look at a roster of our current students, past graduates and scholarship recipients, our focus on inclusion and diversity is self-evident.”

Moliver, who will retire from his role as dean of the business school this month and devote himself to the Kislak Institute full-time, said he feels there certainly is a need for more real estate programs.

Moliver estimates that only 10% of the country’s approximately 2,000 business schools have real estate-specific programs or certificates. That doesn’t add up, he said.

Don Moliver. (File photo)

“If you think about it, probably slightly more than half of the wealth in the United States is denominated in real estate,” he said. “It’s the house you’re in, it’s the office you go to, it’s the place you go for recreation and shopping. Real estate is all around us, and it’s a very sophisticated business.

“When we started Kislak, we found an industry that was yearning for education. We ran a certificate program for years, but it was only for those people who already were in the industry. Then, we started an academic program, so somebody can actually get a degree in business with a concentration in real estate.

“We went from six students the first year to now well north of 100. We’re very proud of that. It demonstrates a need.”

Moliver applauded Profeta’s willingness to help start a program at NJIT — which helped overcome one of the biggest hurdles in academia: initial funding.

“It’s expensive to introduce new programs,” he said.

It’s why Morris Davis, the Paul V. Profeta Chair of Real Estate and the academic director of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate, said he sees the NJIT program as a potential partner, too.

“If there’s a way we can work together, I’d be all for it,” he said.

“My view is, any investment in any real estate program in New Jersey is just good for the state. NJIT is now going to invest in real estate education and their students are going to be well-trained. That’s good for everyone.”