As we begin another productive and invigorating year at the Graaskamp Center, we are pleased to share our key milestones and achievements below.
#1 Ranking from U.S. News and World Report for the Second Year in a Row
Thank you to all our loyal and passionate alumni, board members, donors and friends of the Wisconsin Real Estate Program who have shared your time, talent, and financial support over the years. Your generosity allows us to deliver a world-class education and to bring student opportunities to new heights. We couldn’t achieve this top ranking without you!
Strong Student Job Placement
We are happy to report positive real estate student placement outcomes for 2023 graduates as of September 30th, four months after graduation as follows:
- 80% of the 2nd year MBA RE students secured jobs;
- 89% of the 1st year MBA RE students secured summer internships;
- 81% of the 26 graduating MS Real Estate Students seeking employment have secured jobs; and
- 94% of the 176 graduating BBA RE students either found employment or are pursuing graduate school (with 6% non-reporting)
Close coordination with the WSB BBA and Graduate Career Services teams continues to yield beneficial results including mentor matching, career coaching, resume reviews, interview preparation and a review of industry hiring best practices.
The number of Wisconsin School of Business (WSB) BBA students declaring their real estate major continues to grow: 669 students are BBA real estate majors, making Real Estate & Urban Land Economics the third most popular major at WSB. As BBA real estate enrollment has grown, so has the need to address applied learning and co-curricular activities to engage these students, as we will discuss later.
Real Estate MS and MBA Enrollment
Fall WSB graduate enrollment (MBA Real Estate and MS Real Estate combined) totals 68 students including 9 first year MBA Real Estate students, 9 second year MBA Real Estate students and 50 MS Real Estate students. Graduate real estate enrollment is at all-time highs. The last enrollment peak was 55 MBA and MS Real Estate students in 1988, the last year that Jim Graaskamp was alive.
Global Real Estate Master’s Program
With 15 graduate students enrolled for the fall semester, the Global Real Estate Master’s (GREM) degree is one of the few of its kind in the world. Students from top MBA programs at international universities converge in Madison to immerse themselves in the Wisconsin Real Estate Program for the fall semester and receive an MS in Real Estate. Field trips to major U.S. real estate markets are a hallmark of the Program.
Focus on Diversity
We are pleased to report that the roster of 68 graduate students will be the most diverse ever with 12 women, 10 students with diverse backgrounds, five student athletes, nine international students and two US military veterans.
Student Clubs and Career Fairs Offer Valuable Connections and Learning Opportunities
Record Membership for Real Estate Club: After record attendance at its first meeting of the year, Real Estate Club (REC) is excited for its fall lineup of speakers, including Graaskamp Center Innovation Award winner, Jeff Shapack, Founder and CEO of Shapack Partners. On October 6th, Jeff’s team from Shapack Partners also presented an engaging real estate development workshop to students on the “The Vision and Redevelopment of Chicago’s Fulton Market.”
Real Estate Club Travels to Boston: 40 students will be attending the REC trek to Boston in October, with an itinerary of visits coordinated in collaboration with local WREAA Market Directors. A tentative trip to Orange County, CA is in the works for the spring semester.
Women in Real Estate (WIRE) has a series of social gatherings, fundraisers, and six speaker events planned, including a panel featuring members of the Wisconsin Commercial Real Estate Women. On November 3rd, WIRE is set to embark on a day trip to Chicago that will feature a tour of the Mortenson Salt Shed and a presentation by Core Spaces.
Real Estate Club Leadership: For the first time in the 40+ year history of the student-lead Real Estate Club, both Fall ‘23 Co-Vice Presidents, then Spring ‘24 Co-Presidents, are women of color: Portia Adney, MBA RE ‘24 and Bree LaMee’, MBA RE ‘2024.
The Real Estate Club hosted the largest ever Fall Real Estate Club Career Fair with:
- 65 employers
- 450 students
- We are excited for the Spring Real Estate Club Career Fair on February 13, 2024.
Scholarships, Fellowships and Financial Support
The Wisconsin Real Estate Program awarded MS and MBA Real Estate students a total of $530,000 in the form of merit awards and scholarships plus select fellowships and teaching assistantships. The Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association generously supports multiple graduate scholarships as do a number of external industry partners and market participants. Furthermore, generous Wisconsin Real Estate alums have supported both undergraduate and graduate real estate student scholarships as well.
We are proud that multiple Real Estate graduate students have been awarded fellowships, scholarships and honors:
- Charles Bennett (BBA ’26), Jordyn Dellis (BBA ’25), and Linh Tran (MBA ’24), Recipients of the 2023 WREAA Scholarships
- Bree LaMee’ (MBA ‘24) has been chosen to receive the 2023 Dianne M. Orbison Memorial Scholarship.
- Blair Steele (MSRE ‘24) was selected as a Goldie Scholar and a recipient of the NAREIM Jeff Barclay Fellowship for the 2023-2024 academic year.
- Gabrielle Swider (MSRE ‘24) was awarded one of the Real Estate Network Empowering Women (RENEW) Scholarships for this year.
Expanding Undergraduate Activities
With 669 undergraduate real estate majors, the Real Estate Department and Graaskamp Center have partnered with the WSB BBA
Academic Advising and Career Engagement teams to review the BBA Real Estate curriculum, propose course modifications, adjust course sequencing and launch several new initiatives focused on improving academic and career success. Key action items include:
- Engaging Students Early: Program Director Tim Carr has organized a number of programmatic opportunities to connect with first- and second-year students. Over 25 students attended a Madison Development Walking Tour on September 15, and we are preparing for a Real Estate career exploration event tailored to undergraduate students.
- In-Market Experiences: Following last spring’s successful visit to Chicago, the Graaskamp Center will be offering undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in 2-day visits to Minneapolis, this fall, and Chicago, next spring. Graduate students will be able to attend for-credit treks to New York in January and London in March.
- New Capstone Course: We are excited to announce a new capstone course for undergraduate students. This course focuses on property management, asset management, and capitalizing on value-add opportunities across the life cycle of an asset. Students will create improvement plans for value-add buildings, and look at case studies across the major asset classes.
- Case Competitions: Case competitions give students the opportunity to put what they’ve learned in the classroom into practice. Our students will participate in multiple case competitions this year and we know they’ll continue the Real Estate Badger’s tradition of excellence.
- New Private Equity Case Competitions: The inaugural Harrison Street Real Estate Private Equity Case competition will be offered on November 9-10, with 10-15 teams of four undergraduate students expected to compete in the analysis and underwriting of an equity offering memorandum. The Case Competition is being offer by the newly formed, undergraduate-focused Real Estate Private Equity Club. We grateful to Harrison Street for generously supporting this new case competition.
- Real Estate Ambassador Program: Five real estate undergraduate and graduate students will serve as Real Estate Ambassadors to provide one-on-one support to real estate students. These ambassadors will reinforce WSB academic and career advising concepts when advising their classmates on available resources, co-curricular activities, resume and cover letter writing, curriculum sequencing and other career prep advice.
Innovative Graduate Real Estate Curriculum and Co-Curricular Activities
- New Affordable and Sustainable Housing Track Launched: The Graaskamp Center’s new, 12-credit Affordable and Sustainable Housing Track prepares students for careers in residential and commercial real estate development with a focus on affordable and sustainable housing issues and financing. With classes starting in Spring 2024, we expect to congratulate the first cohort of Affordable & Sustainable Housing graduates in 2025. Learn more.
- Center provides innovative “best-in-class” applied learning opportunity for our graduate students. Graduate students enrolled 33 students in the Real Estate Private Equity graduate track learn to analyze and invest in equity investment opportunities for the $4.7 million WREAA Fund II, LLP. The Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT) continues to outperform REIT benchmarks following the strategic and tactical under/over allocation of investment in REIT sector and stock recommendations in an actively managed $1.6 million dollar investment portfolio.
- Real Estate Private Equity Track Seeking Opportunities! While the WREAA Fund II, L.P. is closed to new capital with $4.7 million raised, the 32 students involved in the Real Estate Private (REPE) track are actively seeking equity investment opportunities.
- Multiple Field Trips and Global Study Tours Graduate students have the opportunity to participate in multiple domestic field trips (Boston, MA, Newport Beach, CA, New York, New York City and Chicago, IL and a global study tour to London to learn about major urban markets in the U.S. and around the world.
The Wisconsin Idea in Action: Events and Outreach
Attracting a capacity audience, the2023 Wisconsin Real Estate & Economic Outlook Conference on October 13th focused on aligning housing supply with demand. In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, community partners include the WI Realtors Associations, WI Bankers Association, WHEDA, State of Wisconsin Dept. of Commerce, and League of Wisconsin Municipalities. The conference has a diverse audience and features an array of industry thought leaders.
The Graaskamp on the Road series will travel to Nashville on November 1st. This is a lunch and learn educational event where board members and guests connect in a small-group settings. Ben Weprin is CEO and founder of AJ (Adventurous Journeys) Capital Partners is the featured speaker.
A New Partnership with WREAA
The Graaskamp Center is proud to host our new Fall Forecast Forum in Chicago with the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association (WREAA). This innovative conference will focus on What’s Shaping the Future of Real Estate? Trends, Insights, and Forecasts and offer a far-reaching, forward-thinking discussion on the future of real estate. Graaskamp. Mark Eppli, Graaskamp Center Director, will be presenting his popular forecast for the commercial real estate industry. Other featured speakers Karen Case, Vice Chair of CIBC, Todd Everett, CEO of Principal Real Estate, Ryan Severino, Chief Economist, BentallGreenOaks, Chang Lee, Managing Principal, Chief Investment Officer at Sterling Bay; Daniel Rosenbloom, Head of Acquisitions at Cadre; and Lissa Lunt, Managing Director at Pritzker Realty Group.
Jeff Shapack Received the Graskamp Innovator Award
The innovator award is presented annually on behalf of the Real Estate Club and the Center, and recipients are individuals who embody the spirit of the Wisconsin real estate tradition in innovation. This year’s recipient was presented to Jeff Shapack, Founder and CEO of Shapack Partners, one of the industry’s most innovative real estate developers. Jeff and team also presented a development workshop for real estate students where they shared their wisdom, experience, and insights from transforming the former meatpacking and market produce Chicago neighborhood into Fulton Market District.
Raising the Visibility of the Wisconsin Real Estate Program
Mark Eppli and Mike Brennan are raising the visibility of the program through industry leadership and presentations. Eppli and Brennan are frequent keynote presenters at prestigious industry conferences sponsored by ULI, NAIOP, IREM and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. They also provide consultation and expertise to a variety of state initiatives and groups, and they are frequently interviewed and quoted in the media.