Our first week of classes was just four weeks ago, and real estate MBA students like me have gotten off to a very busy start on top of the rigors of classes. On Wednesday, September 15, approximately 35 members of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate Board of Advisors met in Madison, along with distinguished guests and panelists, current MBA students, and faculty and staff, at the Fluno Center to kick off the fall board meeting. After a reception and dinner, there was a presentation by Alan Berube, Senior Fellow and Research Director, Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, on the changing demographics within the United States. The following day’s activities included several panel discussions and a networking session.
But it didn't stop there. The evening of Thursday, September 16 brought over 300 Wisconsin real estate alumni to Madison for the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association Biennial Conference. One of the highlights was the presentation of the Wisconsin Award, the WREAA's highest recognition of a distinguished member of the real estate community who has successfully and creatively integrated both a business and social ethic within the real estate process. This year's honoree was the evening’s keynote speaker John Buck, Chairman and CEO of The John Buck Company. Even the university’s marching band joined in the festivities at the end of the night by playing a few songs, including, of course, “On, Wisconsin!” Throughout the day on Friday, September 17, there were several panel discussions, speeches, and networking sessions. There was also a tailgate for the real estate alumni held on Saturday for the football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Badgers won…by one point.
Several speakers have also visited campus this month. Brad Olsen, Managing Partner and CEO of Atlantic Partners, spoke to undergraduate and graduate real estate students on Wednesday the 22nd about international real estate. Topics included everything from the possible effects of the troubles in the EMU to growth possibilities in China and India. The next night at the students' Real Estate Club meeting, David Brain, President and CEO of Entertainment Properties Trust (NYSE: EPR), received the Innovator Award, which is given in recognition of outstanding individuals who have made a creative mark on the real estate industry. Mr. Brain spoke at length to the club about how EPR has developed, its current opportunities and obstacles, and its future growth possibilities. Chuck Carpenter, Managing Director of the State of Wisconsin Investment Board and a UW alum, spoke to real estate students on Friday, September 24 about what SWIB is and their overall market and investment viewpoint. And finally, on Thursday the 30th, representatives from developer Tishman Speyer were on campus to talk to the Real Estate Club about their firm and discuss financing strategies that they have used during the economic downturn.
There is no slowing down heading into October for the MBA real estate students. Paul Boneham, SVP of Acquisitions at Kennedy Associates, will speak on Friday, October 15th. Simon Property Group will be on campus towards the end of the month. And finally the Real Estate Club is leading a two-night trip to Seattle where current students will meet with industry alumni as well as tour commercial real estate projects in the area.
Eric Dowling is a first-year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. Eric plans to combine his previous real estate experience with his MBA education to establish a career in private equity investments.
Visit the Wisconsin Real Estate Program website for news and upcoming events. Join our mailing list (via Constant Contact) to receive our monthly newsletter and invitations to our public events.