Note from Michael: This profile is part of The A.CRE Undergraduate Real Estate Series highlighting some of the top undergraduate programs with robust opportunities to study and secure work in commercial real estate. Each profile has been written by a current or former student of the program and is written from their unique perspective on the school and its real estate offerings. A huge thanks to Abby Thyne, Class of 2020, for taking the time to write this profile of Marquette.
The real estate program and the Center for Real Estate at Marquette University has helped me find a career path I am not only excited to pursue after graduation, but I know I will be successful in due to my time at Marquette. Although our program may be small, I believe it is an advantage for all students. I have always felt that each student in this program is treated with unique perspective and attention instead of as just another number. The personal attention to each student’s success not only in the classroom but in the real world is unquestionably emphasized.
The real-world experience provided in the classroom as well as the industry professionals brought in to teach, prepare students for the competitive industry after school. I know the relationships I have formed through the real estate program at Marquette along with the opportunities I have been given such as attending national conferences and stepping into leadership roles will benefit me throughout my career. The Marquette University real estate program has given me the confidence I need to succeed after graduation and throughout my career.
Watch the Student Interview Deep Dive on Marquette University
In September 2020, we conducted an interview with a current student, Anna Lovell. Anna is a junior studying real estate at Marquette University. In this interview, we discuss choosing real estate, class offerings, professional connections, and more at Marquette.
A huge thank you to Anna for contributing her time and experience to help others better understand what Marquette has to offer undergraduate real estate students!
Marquette University Center for Real Estate
Through innovative teaching, research and outreach, the Center for Real Estate aims to deepen commercial real estate knowledge at Marquette University, in Milwaukee, across the Midwest and throughout the nation. Marquette’s is the only commercial real estate undergraduate major offered at a Catholic and Jesuit university, uniquely grounding everything the center does in a solid foundation of business principles, ethics, and an environment that engages students, professionals and academics alike.
Led by seasoned real estate professionals Andrew Hunt and David Krill, and working in close coordination with nationally renowned experts including Robert B. Bell, Sr. Chair in Real Estate Dr. Anthony Pennington-Cross and Dr. George Cashman, the center’s mission is to support Marquette University real estate students and deliver deep learning experiences that prepare them for fulfilling and successful lives.
Marquette Real Estate Extracurriculars
Commercial Real Estate Club
The Marquette Real Estate Club provides students a great opportunity to participate in a variety of activities both inside and outside the classroom with guest lecturers as well as lots of site tours across various commercial real estate property types and developments. Real Estate Club participants stay informed and connected to current industry trends and have the opportunity to become student members in organizations such as theUrban Land Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), NAIOP Real Estate Development Association, and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) as well as attended conferences across the country. The club has approximately 100 active members with more than 150 additional student guests attending tours and events throughout the year.
Regional Case Competitions
The Center for Real Estate supports the REAL 4330 course, which offers a group of selected students the opportunity to compete in external regional case competitions throughout the Midwest. The students are challenged with coming up with a development plan for a designated site, doing a market analysis to assess feasibility and determine appropriate assumptions, creating a financial model with waterfalls for expected partnership returns, writing a full development plan, and delivering the project to a group of industry professionals. These competitions give students the opportunity to compete against other schools and gain practical, real world experience.
Robust Conference and Networking Opportunities – Marquette Sponsored
Alumni Networking Events
The alumni network at Marquette University is very dedicated to helping students academically as well as professionally. The Center for Real Estate offers ample events and opportunities for students to meet with and network with alumni across the country. These events come in forms such as on-campus career discussions to dinners at national conferences, as well as fun events like axe-throwing, bowling, and Marquette basketball game-watching parties.
Annual Real Estate Strategies Conference
Each year Marquette University holds the Real Estate Strategies Conference that brings hundreds of industry professionals along with students together to discuss current and future trends in the industry. The event includes keynote speakers, a diverse panel of commercial real estate experts, a student speaker, and lots of networking.
Real Estate Intro Night
The Real Estate Club and the Center for Real Estate co-host an annual event called Real Estate Intro Night. At this event students are given the opportunity to explore career paths within the real estate industry by sitting down for three roundtable sessions across more than 20 different career paths. Roughly 50 industry professionals from across the Midwest speak with students about their careers, companies, and what they wish they would have known while preparing for their career path.
Careers in Finance and Real Estate Event
Held in partnership with the Department of Finance, the AIM Program, the Commercial Banking program, and the Center for Real Estate, this finance-focused event allows students to experience and learn about different careers in finance and commercial real estate through panel sessions with professionals. The event also includes a networking and recruiting reception with employers in the industries of finance and real estate.
Marquette Chicago Real Estate Leadership Breakfast
This annual breakfast hosted by the Marquette University Center for Real Estate highlights leaders in the Chicago real estate industry. The event includes a breakfast, programing, and a student speaker. It is a great opportunity for students to travel to Chicago and network with leading industry professionals as well as other top-notch students.
Golden Eagle Real Estate Gala
This gala is an annual fundraising event to raise money for conferences, mentorship opportunities, scholarships and programs for the students at Marquette. Marquette Real Estate alumni and professionals across the country attend the event each year in support of the program. This is a great event for students to show how grateful they are for the school’s donors, the programs offered, and the faculty who dedicate their time each year.
Robust Conference and Networking Opportunities – Opportunities Offered Outside of Marquette
NAIOP CRE Converge
Annually, the Center for Real Estate chooses a group of exceptional students to travel to the annual NAIOP CRE.Converge Conference. At this conference students have the opportunity to sit in on various sessions focused around commercial real estate, network with industry professionals from all over the country, and meet with alumni in that selected city. This serves as a deeply impactful and educational experience that helps students grow professionally with endless opportunities to learn by seeing, doing, and networking.
ICSC RECon Conference Trip in Las Vegas
Each May a group of selected students receive the opportunity to attend the ICSC RECon Conference. At this conference, students not only get to experience the massive network within the real estate industry but they get to shadow professionals throughout the duration of the conference, including sitting in on dozens of live deal discussions and negotiations. Through additional networking events and social gatherings, students both expand their knowledge of how transactions come together while meeting many successful professionals who they may work with in their future careers.
ULI Fall Meeting Conference
Marquette University gives students the opportunity to attend the ULI Annual Fall Meeting Conference to learn from deal makers in the development industry as well as create lasting professional relationships with industry leaders across the country.
Eisenberg Career Days – Chicago
At this annual event held each November by the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation in Chicago over 24 hours, students experience two dynamic site tours, a “Young Guns” dinner with up-and-coming professionals in real estate, a roundtable luncheon with industry leaders, and a Career/Internship Fair. Each year, Career Day attracts students from all over the country, providing them with an opportunity to learn from top executives and to gain insight and experience into this ever-changing field. This unparalleled opportunity hosted by the Eisenberg Foundation is provided to students at minimal cost. Past site tours have included a new boutique hotel, the new worldwide HQ for McDonalds, and the massive redevelopment of the old downtown post office.
NAIOP Mentorship Program
The Marquette Center for Real Estate offers the opportunity for students to participate in a mentorship program that is partnered with NAIOP Wisconsin. The program connects each student with their own NAIOP Developing Leader real estate professional in hopes to foster a continuing relationship that is mutually beneficial beyond just the duration of the program. The pairing is encouraged to discuss careers paths, future goals, industry questions, and other topics helpful to the development of students and their careers.
Students in the Real Estate Club as well as in the Real Estate major have the opportunity to go on a multitude of site tours throughout the school year. Tours include all property types and are spread out across the Milwaukee and Chicago metro areas. Through these site tours, students can learn about the development process, hear the intricacies of financing, and also network with professionals. Past tours have included Northwestern Mutual’s new headquarters, The Kimpton Journeyman Boutique Hotel, and the former JC Penny distribution center, the 2nd largest building in the state of Wisconsin.
Real Estate Course Offerings at Marquette
Introduction to Commercial Real Estate. This introductory course provides the students with an understanding of the principles of property economics and finance, land use regulations and laws and contractual agreements (including for purchase and use of property) that govern commercial real estate. The acquisition, valuation and use of debt on commercial real estate is about the purchase of the site and improvements and the “bundle of rights” to do certain things with them.
Commercial Real Estate Finance. Commercial real estate finance provides students with an in-depth knowledge of real estate finance, real estate investment, and the operation of the real estate capital markets. The objective of the course is to understand the many sources and uses of capital in the commercial real estate industry. The course begins with the mechanics of mortgage finance, followed by a detailed presentation of mortgage underwriting, lender ratios, and discounted cash flow analysis.
Professor: Dr. Anthony Pennington Cross
Real Estate Modeling. Real estate valuation and financial analysis is fundamental to the real estate industry and to other disciplines dealing with real estate including banking, accounting and law. This course provides an understanding of the skills and tools used to value real estate with particular emphasis on commercial income property and discounted cash flow modeling. This skill is developed through classroom sessions and reinforced by practical case studies completed individually. The intent is to expose the student to valuation both as its own end and as a tool in the commercial real estate decision making process.
Commercial Real Estate Development. The Real Estate Project Class provides students who intend on pursuing careers in real estate the opportunity to learn how to design and execute projects of professional scope and quality under the guidance of an experienced professor and practitioner, as well as a specific company sponsor. The course will include instruction in project design, scoping, strategy, research, and execution. Presentation skills, both oral and written, are integral to the course and project. Two (occasionally, one) student groups, each group consisting of three or four students, will work with an outside project sponsor to create a project presentation based on a real-world sponsor project.
Professor: David Domres
Commercial Real Estate Valuation. This course uses the “three approaches” to value process to estimate the fair market value a commercial building in the Milwaukee metropolitan area. The primary focus of this course is on an applied market analysis and the lease-by-lease modeling of tenant income for a commercial property as part of the income approach to value. The sales comparison and cost approaches to value are included in the course and are part of a narrative appraisal.
Professor: John Lohre
Cases in Commercial Real Estate (Capstone). This six-week course (offered A term in the spring) provides students with an introduction to the challenges and decisions faced by real estate portfolio managers. The focus is “macro” aspects of portfolio management, such as strategy and diversification, rather than buy or hold/sell decisions and business plans for individual assets. Examples include: key decision that affect performance; assessing alpha opportunities; evaluating risk-return tradeoffs. After completing this course students will be familiar with issues that arise in constructing and managing a real estate portfolio, including elements of portfolio strategy, managing diversification and liquidity and measuring performance and risk.
Professor: Kevin Smith
Advanced Real Estate Analysis (Case Competitions). Cross border investment, once considered exotic, has become increasingly common, despite economic cycles. However, it requires another dimension of risk analysis and execution skill. This half-term course will introduce students to the fundamentals of global real estate investment from an institutional perspective through an exploration of risk analysis and specific strategies for structuring global real estate investments and portfolios. It will provide students with an analytical framework and the tools to analyze and value cross-border real estate investments in developed and emerging markets. It will also provide a perspective on the effects of globalization on property and capital markets.
Professor: Dan Cowell
Topics in Real Estate. This class is offered infrequently when visiting guest lecturers and topics need to be communicated to students. Example offerings include an urban real estate development course taught by a very active affordable housing developer in the city of Milwaukee.
Real Estate Internship. This course allows students to gain credit for their internship in commercial real estate. Students must work at least 240 hours during a grading period and also complete reflections about their experience at the midway point and conclusion of internship. Students are encouraged to deliver final projects to their employer that help analyze and solve a business problem within their company.
Independent Study in Real Estate. The independent study in real estate course is made for students pursuing special project in addition to their academic studies which can include research with professors or completion of a large project. Work in this course is done mainly independently with little insight. Past examples have included creating an industrial property pricing index for a major city and creating a code for analyzing real estate sentiment from news articles.
About Abby Thyne: Abby Thyne is a May 2020 graduate of Marquette University, with double majors in Commercial Real Estate and Finance. Abby served in the role of Alumni and Events Intern for Marquette University’s Center for Real Estate and as an officer on the Commercial Real Estate Club’s Executive Board. She obtained a full-time position at Northwestern Mutual in the Real Estate Investments department as an Analyst upon graduation. Abby’s prior internship experience included an Investment Analyst Intern with Northwestern Mutual Real Estate and Office Broker Intern for former MLG Commercial Milwaukee (now known as Newmark Knight Frank).