First Year in Real Estate: So Far, So Great
Two weeks ago on a warm sunny afternoon, my fellow MBA colleagues and I were at the 2018 Graaskamp Center Spring Board Conference at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Chicago. While I was just turning around from looking at the beautiful lakeview outside of the conference room, I saw Goldie walked in. Goldie B. Wolfe Miller, once the head of the largest woman-owned commercial real estate firm, is a legend still active in the Chicago real estate industry. As a student proud to be receiving a scholarship award from the Goldie Initiative, I congratulated her on joining the Graaskamp center board and excitedly shared all the things I have learned over the last year. Goldie smiled and told me she wasn’t surprised at all, “You are studying at the Harvard of real estate.”
Indeed, the quality of the education that I received is incredible. As someone joining the program from the hospitality industry with limited knowledge about real estate, I have learned so much on the subject matter over the last year from classes, group assignments, and case competitions. In my first year I have taken real estate finance and investment, valuation, equity investment, commercial healthcare development, excel and ARGUS modeling together with all the core MBA classes. Within these courses, I have practiced working on complicated cases, underwriting financial models of all property sectors, analyzing the nuts and bolts of REITs, creating a development plan for a medical clinic, and appraising a real Class C property in town. I also participated in two case competitions – The National Real Estate Challenge and ARGUS University Challenge, competing with students from some of the best schools in the nation and presenting in front of a group of top executives in the industry. In my second year, I will also get to take the AREIT track and manage a one-million dollar real money for a board of advisors. All these experiences are invaluable and fully prepared me for a real estate career in the future.
Not only do I enjoy the education in school, but I also benefit from the unlimited resources outside of classrooms, including the networks of board members and alumni. Students are invited to two board conferences each year, in New York City and in Chicago. There we can network with high profile industry professionals including the board members like Goldie. Our alumni are represented everywhere in the real estate industry, and are always available for the students. The Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association provides a strong platform to network, engage and support each other. I personally have benefited a lot from reaching out to alumni, meeting them for coffee chats, and asking them for professional advice.
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