Real estate is often the second largest budget item for companies behind labor. It’s also becoming an increasingly important tool affecting everything from how companies are managed and operate to effective hiring and employee retention. This has some looking more closely at real estate’s impact on their businesses.  

That said, many people interested in the industry or already a part of it are unaware of a viable career path in corporate real estate, which is fundamentally different than traditional commercial real estate, and universities with real estate schools across the country have yet to offer a program focused on corporate real estate.  

That was until fall of last year when CoreNet Global and Arizona State University launched the first-ever optional, non-credit certificate program for real estate students at a university specifically for corporate real estate and understanding real estate necessary to support business.  

“One goal of CoreNet is to become more involved on grassroots educational efforts,” says Simon Davis, CoreNet Global Arizona Chapter president and sales director at Saltmine. “What we are trying to do is educate students interested in real estate that corporate real estate is a very viable and rewarding career.” 

The corporate real estate certificate program, called “CORE – Fundamentals of Corporate Real Estate,” consists of nine, 90-minute classes held on the last Monday of each month and taught by corporate real estate practitioners who are members of CoreNet Global with the assistance of W.P Carey School of Business and Division of Real Estate faculty.   

“Companies own billions of dollars of real estate in this country and real estate is part of our community and economic infrastructure,” explains Mark Stapp, executive director of Arizona State University’s Masters of Real Estate Development program. “Understanding how businesses need it, use it and how to proficiently provide it is really important to the community in general.”   

He describes commercial real estate as “having the real estate be the business to generate wealth and revenue for you.” Whereas, the whole purpose of corporate real estate is to support the business activities of the occupant. 

There’s a lot of crossover between skills needed for commercial and corporate real estate, but CoreNet’s program focuses more on workforce studies, searching for locations relative to workforce needs, and operational efficiencies for business units, Stapp says. “It’s a different kind of thinking.” 

Another benefit unlike other career paths, he adds, “There’s an immediate ability, even while you’re in school, to be working in the business. It’s a good running head start that you don’t find in many other career paths.”  

For many years, CoreNet has provided classes for practicing professionals in the corporate real estate world to get certificates — Master of Corporate Real Estate (MCR) and Senior Leader of Corporate Real Estate (SLCR) — showing that they mastered the business.  

Often times, these designations and certificates can impact a person’s potential salary and standing within the company that they are interviewing with, says Mark Singerman, vice president and regional director for Rockefeller Group Development Corporation. 

However, he adds, “It appears that nobody else in the country has gotten to this point in terms of what we are doing with a formal certificate program with a major university, specifically focused on corporate real estate.” 

This year, 75 students enrolled in the program, which was well above the capacity limit for the program’s lecture hall so the class had to be capped at 57 students.  

“We were thrilled with the response,” says Singerman. “It really underscored the need for a program like this and the interest in what corporate real estate is all about.” 

Looking ahead, the program’s ultimate goal is to garner enough interest to deliver it at a higher level such as a certificate program for class-credit towards students’ degrees.