Letter from the Chair 2018-2019

Dear Fellow Board Members,

As I enter my last academic year as board chair, I would like to take this chance to welcome the new members of the board to the community and thank each returning member for your extraordinary commitment to furthering the board’s dual mission of alumni and student engagement. From mentoring students, hosting career treks, and serving on panels and committees to recruiting new members – your dedication to the board has been tremendous. Collectively, these contributions have led to the early successes in our pursuits to fulfill our mission. In the coming year, we will undertake the expansion of the board’s footprint in the arena of alumni and student engagement. We intend to increase the board’s impact by enlivening our presence and accessibility and by broadening our programming to shape the future of the board and, in turn, the University’s real estate community.

Alumni engagement, the initial emphasis of the board, began in Spring 2016, when 20 alumni working in the real estate arena met to determine if a Harvard-wide alumni real estate organization would be a sustainable effort. Today, less than two and half years later, the board has grown to include over 80 members (40 more than our original membership goal), a full-time staff member (who has been in place for just over a year), and an increasingly strong financial position to undertake new initiatives. Through this growth, we have demonstrated not only an interest but a need for a connected group of alumni working in the real estate arena to act as a resource for fellow alums, the University, and its students.

As the board and its capacity grow, our governance structure has expanded to include standing and ad hoc committees. To date, these committees have deployed members to perform critical tasks and functions as small, focused groups in the time between meetings. Beginning with the Spring 2019 gathering of the board, we will increase committee offerings to include a Membership Committee, a standing committee focused on the strategic cultivation and recruitment of new members. Additionally, moving forward, we will allot time during our biannual meetings for committee members to meet face-to-face to undertake the functions of their respective group. These new initiatives will be discussed in greater depth at the upcoming board meeting.

Student engagement began in earnest at the start of the 2017–2018 academic year, when the board sponsored, organized, and launched a full calendar of programming to complement and build on Harvard’s existing real estate curriculum. Over the last year, the board’s most visible project on campus has been our collaboration with the Harvard Student Real Estate Consortium (HSREC) – the unique, Harvard-wide student organization representing and creating cohesion among the University’s real estate clubs in the College, the Graduate School of Design, and the Business, Law, and Kennedy Schools. Programming for students, alongside key board initiatives such as the Employment Portal, has increased both the board’s and HSREC’s profile on campus, in turn allowing us to reach, engage, and grow the cohort of students at the University who take advantage of HSREC programming.

The 2018–2019 academic year, which began last week, marks the board’s second full calendar of student programming. During the Summer recess, the board’s HSREC Chair, Matt Ciccotti (MDes Real Estate ’15), worked with Consortium leadership to refine existing events and develop new programs based on student interest and the unique needs of those at Harvard studying real estate. A selection of this new programming includes:

·       Building a Career in Real Estate Workshop – Providing students an in-depth understanding of diverse sectors in the industry, building blocks to develop a powerful résumé, and strategy to forge a successful career in real estate.

·       Real Estate Career Treks to Dallas and Chicago – Allows students to visit, interact with, and learn about business models and market conditions from industry leaders in Chicago and Dallas. These treks are an exceptional opportunity for students to gain in-depth insight and expand their networks within the real estate community in both cities.

We will take a deep dive into the depth and breadth of the board’s resources for students during the HSREC leadership presentation at the October board meeting. In the meantime, additional details on HSREC and a full calendar of programming can be found on the board’s website.

Again, thank you each for your commitment to the board. I look forward to seeing you in October. In the meantime, I welcome all feedback on board-related matters.

With best wishes,

Evan Linkner, FAS ’09, MDes ’11
Chair, Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board

Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board – Student Programming Spring ‘18

June 6, 2018

Dear Board Members,

The Spring semester of the 2017/2018 academic year was busy and productive for the Harvard Student Real Estate Consortium (HSREC)–affiliated schools, the College, the Graduate School of Design, and the Business, Law, and Kennedy Schools. The board’s calendar of student programming touched hundreds of Harvard students and added depth and breadth to the board’s student-facing mission of enhancing the experience of those studying real estate at the University. Highlights of the second semester include:

Harvard/MIT Real Estate Career Day
Sponsor: Chuck Berman, MBA ’79, BedRock Real Estate Partners
A collaboration between the Center for Real Estate at MIT, the board, and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Real Estate Career Day is curated to expose students to the diversity of employment opportunities in the real estate sector, while giving students the chance to ask questions of and network with alumni of both universities working in the industry.
 

ARGUS Training
Sponsor: Brian Coulter, MBA ’86, JBG Smith
The ARGUS Workshop, part of the board’s skills-based training, combines lectures with hands-on experience and is intended to complement Harvard’s real estate curriculum. Beyond traditional skills-based learning, the workshop provides the opportunity for students from across campus to engage in peer-to-peer networking, allowing those in attendance to forge and expand relationships with fellow students from diverse disciplines and build robust networks that will serve them both in their time at the University and during their careers in the real estate industry.


Student/Alumni-Practitioner Dinners
Sponsor: Stuart Jones, AB ’77, American Brownfields Corp.
Alumni working in real estate are invited to campus to act as catalysts for conversation and provide face-to-face mentorship. Practitioners are encouraged to detail how their time at the University prepared them for working in the industry, describe their career trajectories, and speak to specific projects. Students ask questions as the speakers narrate their experiences (good and bad). The guidance offered by alums — who understand, through firsthand experience, the issues and concerns students face — is invaluable to the students in attendance.

Office Hours and Employment Portal
Sponsor: Kris Miller, AB ’87, Ackerman & Co.

Both Office Hours and the Employment Portal are programming elements that the board piloted during the 2017/2018 academic year. Office Hours allow students to meet with the Executive Director of the board to find solutions to issues facing them and to converse about board-related programming, including internships, full-time employment, and HSREC educational and networking events.

The Employment Portal was launched to respond to the students’ most commonly expressed need, jobs, and internships in the real estate industry. This hub, a valuable resource for students, hosts searchable permanent, part-time, and summer public- and private-sector real estate positions, allowing students studying for careers in real estate to efficiently identify companies that are recruiting candidates for summer internships and post-graduation employment.

The impact of this programming is felt across campus. Students are excited and grateful for the extracurricular programming the board provides and the real estate community that the board has helped foster. Harvard student real estate–related programming would not be possible without the board. On behalf of HSREC, we would like to thank each of you for your continued generosity. We would like to give a special thanks to Chuck, Brian, Stuart, and Kris for their generous Sustainer-Level gifts that helped to underwrite this programming.

If there are any questions, thoughts, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Matt Ciccotti, MDes Real Estate ’15                                    Cynthia Henshall
Chair, Harvard Student Real Estate Consortium                Executive Director
Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board                                     Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board
 


 





 

 

Harvard Student Real Estate Financial Modeling Workshop

Building on the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board’s mission of enhancing the experience of real estate students at the University, last month the board offered a Microsoft Excel-based workshop through Real Estate Financial Modeling (REFM), a trusted modeling tutorial company. The first in a series of student-facing trainings for the 2017/2018 academic year, this class brought together over 70 students from the Harvard Student Real Estate Consortium (HSREC)–affiliated schools, the College, the Graduate School of Design, and the Business, Law, and Kennedy Schools to participate in this two-day workshop.

REFM joined us in Cambridge to teach this 16-hour course that combined lectures with hands-on exercises. The course began with fundamentals of using Microsoft Excel for modeling, with an emphasis on those formulas, shortcuts, and strategies most applicable to discounted cash flow analysis. As the course progressed, students put these skills to use in a case study format, with financial modeling exercises based on hypothetical real estate development scenarios. Students learned how to model unlevered and levered property-level cash flows for a mixed-use development as well as waterfall cash flows for an equity joint venture for an individual property transaction.

The training was an exceptional opportunity for University students to take a deeper dive into modeling—enhancing their classroom learning in this arena. Beyond traditional skills-based learning, workshops provide the opportunity for students from across campus to engage in peer-to-peer networking. The workshop allowed those in attendance to forge and expand relationships with fellow students from diverse disciplines and build strong networks that will serve them through their tenures both as students and as alumni of Harvard.

Andrew Wade, MDes Real Estate and the Built Environment ’18, a participant in the REFM training, explains the value of the modeling workshop from the student’s viewpoint: “The real estate financial modeling workshop gave me exposure to what potential employers might expect in an interview test, going beyond the minimum requirements to give me a competitive advantage. It also allowed me to network with students entering real estate from across the graduate schools and the College, many of whom remain friends and collaborators. The workshop is invaluable in setting the bar of expected financial modeling proficiency in the professional world, and in giving us the resources needed to exceed those expectations.” 

Extracurricular programing such as REFM are meaningful features of the board’s calendar of student programming. On behalf of the student participants, we would like to thank each of you for your continued generosity. Special thanks to Wayne Barwise, MUAD ’85, for his generous Sustainer-Level gift that helped to underwrite this training.
 

Harvard Student Boston Real Estate Career Trek

Central to the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board’s mission is enhancing the experience of real estate students at the University. The student-facing piece of our mission is timely; the University is seeing blockbuster enrollment in the real estate arena, and the real estate clubs’ membership numbers are at an all-time high. The board has created and funded a full calendar of real estate–related programming to further these student-facing objectives. An important facet of this programming – student real estate career treks.

Late last month, a group of over 30 students from the Harvard Student Real Estate Consortium (HSREC) affiliated schools – the College, Graduate School of Design, Business, Law, and Kennedy Schools – gathered to participate in a trek to the Christian Science Center redevelopment. Given the broad range of interests represented by the students involved in HSREC, when selecting a project for a trek, we are thoughtful about including a range of sectors. We hope both to capture a large variety of students and to give students the opportunity to gain substantive knowledge about sectors and career paths while reinforcing the multidisciplinary nature of real estate. Given this goal, we chose to include five diverse companies involved in the project: the Christian Science Real Estate Team; Leggat McCall Properties (LMP), who created the master plan; Mintz-Levin, the project’s attorneys; and two of the developers, Pritzker Realty Trust and Beacon Capital Partners.

Over the course of the three-hour trek, students met with senior members of the four groups involved in the first phase of the redevelopment. The Christian Science Real Estate Team led students on a tour of the century-old mixed-use complex that includes ten buildings set within a large plaza that incorporates over 10 acres of privately owned but publicly accessible space. The Christian Science Real Estate Team revealed to students that the aging campus was leading to ballooning maintenance costs of over 25 million dollars yearly, more than a quarter of the Church’s annual budget. To help decrease this burden, the Church turned to Boston-based LMP to create a master plan to capitalize on the Church’s wealth of real estate holdings while keeping key elements of the historic campus intact.

LMP leadership detailed for students how the first phase of the master plan was conceived and executed, including dramatically increased floor area through land sales, ground leases, new construction, renovation of existing structures, and major alterations to public space. While LMP laid the groundwork for the design of the master plan, members of Mintz-Levin detailed how they charted the course for the redevelopment through public approvals with the City of Boston, a process that involved the creation of multiple distinct plans over 20 years.

Students next met with two developers currently working on the site, Pritzker Realty Trust and Beacon Capital Partners. Pritzker purchased a piece of the original parcel, a surface parking lot, which is now one of the City’s most expensive rental buildings. Beacon Capital Partners entered a ground lease on an architecturally significant, I. M. Pei–designed office tower. Each of the developers gave an overview of their company and provided students with background and a tour of their project. They also shared an overview of the projects’ financials and of lessons learned while working on their respective projects. A lively conversation and Q&A session followed each developer’s presentation.

As the contingent of students studying real estate at Harvard continues to expand, so has the demand for real estate–related programming and engagement. Through real estate career treks, like the visit to the Christian Science redevelopment, the board allows students involved in HSREC to build on their classroom learning while expanding their knowledge of the diverse settings for employment and the scope of skills critical to the day-to-day work each highlighted position entails. Moreover, treks are crafted with an eye toward creating opportunities for students to expand their networks and meet with practitioners to secure internships or post-graduation employment.

Harvard student real estate–related programming would not be possible without the board. On behalf of the students who participated in this trek, we would like to thank each of you for your continued generosity. We would like to give special thanks to Philip Wall, MPP ’81, for his generous Sustainer-Level gift that helped to underwrite this trek.

BOARD ARCHIVE

LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
Fall 2017

Dear Fellow Board Members,

I hope you are as excited as I am about the Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board. When the board took shape 12 months ago, we committed to collaborative, interdisciplinary real estate engagement across the University. This philosophy is displayed in our dual mission: enhancing the experience of students interested in real estate at Harvard, while simultaneously creating and sustaining an engaged network of Harvard alumni in real estate to foster professional and personal growth. 

We have had great success with alumni engagement and participation. The Board now has almost 70 members, with 12 new members joining since our Spring ’17 meeting. I write today to highlight the student-facing contributions that the board has made over its first full year and to chart a course for the year ahead.

In our first year, we have made an impact through our work in conjunction with student leadership from Harvard’s real estate clubs, through the Harvard Student Real Estate Consortium (HSREC) - the unique, Harvard-wide student organization representing and creating cohesion among the University’s real estate clubs at Harvard College, Harvard’s Business School, Law School, Kennedy School and Graduate School of Design. The results of this collaboration are tangible; board programming has reached hundreds of Harvard students and Alumni. Programming includes:

  •  skills-based trainings like ARGUS and Excel Financial Modeling
  • mentoring opportunities with alumni through mentoring breakfasts, resume reviews and networking receptions
  • peer-to-peer and alumni networking events
  • funding and support for the student-run Harvard Real Estate Weekend, a symposium produced by students across the University for the real estate community

In the current academic year, we will once again offer students skills based trainings, mentoring opportunities, networking events and funding for the Harvard Real Estate Weekend. In addition, the board has hired a senior staff member to work in concert with HSREC leadership to execute a full calendar of real estate related programming to engage students and alumni. Highlights include:

  • real estate career treks to the Boston area as well as other domestic and international locales
  • employment negotiation workshops
  •  career forums with alumni panelists
  • board member student lunches
  • and the November roll-out of an employment portal that will house postings for real estate jobs and internships.

These opportunities provide students with the tools and network that will bolster their success as students and practitioners. Additionally, board funded programming is a means for real estate alumni to engage with one other, students, and the University.

We will hear, in greater detail, the impact of the Board’s work with HSREC and the strides we have made toward greater alumni engagement during our upcoming board meeting. In the meantime, I want to take the opportunity to thank each of you for your service and generosity.

I would be remiss in finishing this letter without specifically thanking Kris Miller, our outgoing board chair. Kris’s strategic thinking, warmth and dedication to real estate at the University is reflected in all that the board has achieved in twelve short months.

I look forward working alongside you over the coming year.

Sincerely,

Evan Linkner, FAS ’09 GSD ‘11
Chair, Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board