Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Fast and Furious Start

It hasn’t even been a month yet? The atmosphere here has been electric during MBA Orientation Week and the start of classes – not to mention the first Badger football games! Like the other 12 incoming Real Estate MBA students, I began refining my resume and elevator pitch right off the bat for WREAA’s “The Economic Tightrope” Biennial Conference held in Madison on September 13th and 14th.  During the conference, we were able to connect with many real estate alumni from around the country, and listen to panel discussions ranging from “Cap Rate Arbitrage versus Income Growth” to “The Multifamily Land Grab.” This was certainly a tremendous opportunity to start out the school year. Additionally, we have already hosted several representatives from several companies, like Prudential and KTR Capital Partners, who presented pitches and are actively recruiting.

Alumni Network
The outstanding and supportive alumni network is one reason that I felt compelled to enroll at Wisconsin. Within the first week, our real estate class was visited by local alumni working in the industry who spoke candidly about their experiences and provided hints and suggestions for future job opportunities. Building on this spirit, each real estate MBA has been paired with an Alumni Mentor. I can speak from my own personal experience in conjunction with that of my fellow classmates in saying that our Mentors have provided us with early benefits in focusing our job searches.

Experiences in Madison
For all you food lovers, Madison has a lot to offer. The Farmer’s Market on Saturday by the State Capitol offers a tremendous variety of local produce and goods. Also, over Labor Day, my fellow incoming real estate MBA Amber House visited “Taste of Madison”, a wide assortment of offerings from local restaurants. Amber’s favorite dish, a creation of Sa Bai Thong Thai Restaurant, was the Shrimp Purse, a delicious shrimp and chicken concoction wrapped in a spring roll skin and served with their signature Green Curry. That same weekend, another classmate Michael Zollner attended the 38th Annual Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw & Festival outside Madison in Prairie du Sac. In lieu of a report, he recommends that everyone try out this unique Wisconsin experience to get the full flavor of the event, so to speak.

Upcoming Adventures and Activities
Our Real Estate Club is hosting several upcoming events.  We had our first meeting on September 20 with Prudential as guest, and an October trip is planned to San Francisco.  It will include site and development tours (e.g. Google’s campus, San Antonio Station), and professional presentations by Northwestern Mutual, Principal, Equity Residential, and more. Back in Madison, four of our real estate MBAs, including yours truly, competed against the other specializations in a Golf Outing on September 21 at The Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove.

Jonathan Brown comes to Madison from Washington, DC, where he managed downtown Class A office buildings for Tishman Speyer. Jonathan plans to leverage his prior experience with financial and analytic tools gained during the MBA program to develop and invest in urban commercial properties.