How to build a career in real estate in Toronto

We spoke to Schulich School of Business graduate Umehani Kanga to learn how studying a Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure helped launch her career in real estate.

In short

The appeal of studying real estate in Toronto

“Toronto is one of the best places to work in real estate,” says Umehani Kanga – and she should know.

Umehani is a graduate of the city’s Schulich School of Business. She studied the Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure (MREI), which is the first master’s program in Canada to offer a combination of courses in both real estate and infrastructure.

Now working as an Associate at Crestpoint Real Estate Investments in Toronto, the course gave Umehani the foundations she needed for a career. But why was Toronto the perfect location for her master’s?

“It has some of the biggest institutional investors in the world,” she explains. “And a lot of these institutional investors are now focusing a lot of energy and money on real estate and infrastructure assets.” (00:30)

But there are more reasons to study real estate at Schulich besides its Toronto location. At Schulich, Umehani describes how her cohort “only had 14 people.” That low student-to-faculty ratio meant she received more personalized attention and could easily draw upon the expertise of the school faculty.

The profile of the class was also a significant benefit for Umehani. It was diverse in every sense of the word, and she believes learning from her classmates was equally valuable as learning from her lecturers.

“We had an urban planner. We had an architect. We had someone who came from construction and was a civil engineer. So yes, you have the instructors and the faculty who are teaching, but even the learnings from our classmates were something which was really invaluable,” she says. (00:44)

How a case competition landed Umehani a job in real estate

It’s clear that Umehani was in the perfect city – and the ideal business school – to launch a career in real estate. Schulich’s close connections with Toronto’s thriving real estate industry benefited her sooner than expected. During the program, Umehani took part in a case competition, eventually leading to her first role after graduating.

“Case competitions are extremely important because [they] give you the exposure,” she says. “When judges come in, they’re looking to hire people that they see. They’re looking for talent.” (01:04)

“The company that I currently work for actually owns the asset that the case was based on. The president of the company, the managers of the company were there. They noticed the team, and they noticed me at the competition. [They] came up to me and asked me when I was graduating. So that was the perfect springboard for me to get and land my job.” (01:27)

Umehani’s story shows the value of growing your professional network during your master’s. When searching for a program, try to look for one with close links with major employers in the area.

Building a career in real estate

After graduating from Schulich, Umehani secured a role as a financial analyst at Crestpoint Real Estate Investments. She’s adamant that her master’s from Schulich was fundamental in helping her secure her first graduate role – but she’s not stopping there. She hopes to “transition into more managerial roles going forward”, and one day start her own fund or become the CEO of an established company. (01:51)

In real estate, personal connections and relationships are important. Breaking into the industry may not come down to what you know, but who you know. Studying for a master’s in a city with a thriving real estate industry meant Umehani could put down the first building blocks in her real estate career.

If you’re serious about becoming working in real estate, a master’s could bring you one step closer to your ambitions.

Want to learn more about studying at Schulich? Feel free to reach out to one of our master’s ambassadors.

Share this article:

Download our brochure

For more information about the personal data processed by us, please consult our privacy and cookie policy.