University of Wisconsin–Madison, Wisconsin School of Business
MBA Graduation Year: 2019
Specialization: Real Estate
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Internship: Bedrock Detroit, Cleveland, Ohio
Position: Senior Financial Analyst; Senior Lifestyle; Chicago, Illinois
As a civil engineer in New York City, I was exposed to real estate working with a lot of building developers, owners, and managers. I began to realize that I was more excited about what my real estate clients were doing than what I was doing. That catalyst started my journey to an MBA with a real estate specialization.
The real estate program at Wisconsin is one of the best in the nation—and it’s the only program that offers an MBA specialization. I got to start real estate classes day one along with my general business courses. Electives allowed me to focus my specialization even further for the specific type of real estate career I wanted.
As part of the program’s Applied Real Estate Investment Track (AREIT), I got to manage an actual real estate portfolio. My class invested a small endowment into REIT stocks, managing the portfolio to optimize returns. It was a spectacular experience—building and working with a team and also learning some of the more abstract ideas associated with company and real estate valuation. I learned why companies make the decisions they do and how it adds short- and long-term value.
An alumnus I met in New York has been particularly helpful in answering questions, taking calls and emails, and putting me in touch with his own contacts to expand my network. He subsequently moved to Madison and became a mentor and friend, which added to my experience at Wisconsin in a very meaningful way. I’m not sure I would have found someone similar had I gone to any other school.
Students attend the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association (WREAA) biennial conference and advisory board meeting. Students are encouraged to interact with board members and alumni, which helps develop lasting relationships. Network development was a highlight of my time at Wisconsin.
The culture at Wisconsin is uniquely collaborative and family-like. Though some of us competed for similar or even the same jobs out of the program, we all strove to help and push each other forward. Whether it was interview preparation, answering questions, or helping each other during career searches, we all recognized that working together benefitted all of us long term. This supportive culture is very unique to Wisconsin.
I had the opportunity to hear some of the industry’s best thinkers and leaders speak on current trends and cutting-edge ideas as a member of the School’s Real Estate Club. Through the club, I took trips and tours of projects and heard about deals that I would have never had exposure to. I got in front of employers looking to hire students with my exact training—all through a student-run organization.
My advice to a prospective student considering a Wisconsin MBA: This program is very down-to-earth. You will work hard and play hard and the sky is the limit here. When looking at schools, consider program fit and your career goals, but also find a school that will put you on track to work at your dream job. Wisconsin is all of that for me.