Spring/Summer '19 Harvard Student Real Estate Programming Update

August 22, 2019

Dear Board Members,

The board's student-facing program for the 2018/2019 academic year will come to a close later this week. The depth and breadth of this programming reaffirmed the board's commitment to Harvard Student Real Estate Consortium (HSREC)-affiliated schools, the College, the Graduate School of Design, and the Business, Law, and Kennedy Schools. Through each member's generosity of both time and resources, the board accomplished and, indeed, substantially exceeded its goal of offering creative programming and experiential learning opportunities for the University's real estate students. 

A special thanks is extended to those members that gave at the Corporate and Sustainer levels during the 2018/2019 fiscal year. These gifts allowed the board to continue to grow its strong foundation of student-focused signature programing. Donors include Chuck Berman, Michael Colacino, Stuart Jones, and Richard Kessler, whose gifts supported programming during the first semester of the year. Additionally, we are grateful to Reggie Graham, Brian Ward, Henry Miller III, Kris Miller, Brooks Holstein, and Philip Wall, whose donations allowed the board to host a comprehensive calendar of student programming during throughout the year. Highlights that demonstrate the depth of the spring and summer HSREC community programming are outlined below.

Summer Community Service Fellowships
Sponsors: Reggie Graham, MArch '78, Maharger Development, and
Brian Ward, PLDA '18, Trimont Real Estate Advisers
The latest addition to the board's programming is the introduction of funding for Summer Community Service Fellowships (SCSF), a program run through the Phillips Brooks House at Harvard College. Board-funded fellowships provide current Harvard undergraduates the opportunity to devote their summers to exploring issues that affect the built environment in the public sector. Through SCSF, the board provides fellows stipends to offset summer salary costs, allowing the nonprofit or government agency the student is working with to benefit from the help of a Harvard undergraduate without enduring the associated costs.

Of the five applications received, the committee made up of board members Stuart Jones (AB '77) and Fernando Levy-Hara (AMDP '09) awarded fellowships to Piper Winkler (AB '21) and Brandon Boise (AB '22), who are working with the Detroit Planning and Development Department and Habitat for Humanity, Los Angeles, respectively. We will hear more about the scope and impact of both Piper's and Brandon's work during the fall board meeting.

Employment Portal
Sponsor: Brooks Holstein, AMDP '05, Comvest Properties, LLC
Launched to address Harvard students' most commonly expressed need, the Employment Portal is an online job and internships platform. This tool hosts permanent, part-time, and summer public- and private-sector real estate positions, allowing students to efficiently identify firms that are recruiting, as well as to obtain summer and full-time employment.

Peer-to-Peer Networking Mixers
Sponsor: Wayne Barwise, MAUD '85, Cadillac Fairview

Given the silos that exist between all of the HSREC schools, the University's real estate cohort has little time or opportunity to network among themselves. HSREC peer-to-peer networking events give students the chance to gather and engage with one another, making new connections and building deeper inroads toward building robust networks that serve students both during their time at the University and throughout their career.

ARGUS Enterprise Training
Sponsor: Kris Miller, AB '87, Ackerman & Co.
The final in a series of on-campus HSREC trainings for the 2018/2019 academic year, ARGUS Enterprise training is a must-attend for all real-estate-minded students. This two-day training, which combines lectures with hands-on exercises, gives students the opportunity to begin their ARGUS certification, an important credential for all students seeking employment in the real estate industry.

Real Estate Career Treks
The most well-attended piece of experiential learning that is offered by the board, real estate career treks bring students from each of the HSREC schools together to gain exposure to a broad range of firms and asset types in a specific geography. Among the most popular are the New York and Boston treks.

New York Real Estate Career Trek
Sponsor: Henry S. Miller III, AMDP '02, Henry S. Miller Sustainable Partners, LLC
In early February, students gathered in New York to participate in the second New York Career Trek of the 2018/2019 academic year. Those student participants took a deeper dive into New York's real estate ecosystem by visiting services, development, and private equity firms, including the offices of board members Brian Ward (PLDA '18) of Trimont Real Estate Advisers, Evan Linkner (ALM '09, MDes Real Estate '11) of Ackman-Ziff, and Thorsten Kiefer (MArch '04) of HFZ Capital Group.

Boston Real Estate Career Trek
Sponsor: Philip Wall, MCRP '81, Colorado Pacific Holdings
The last in a series of treks during the 2018-2019 academic year, the Boston Real Estate Career Trek focused on the city's Seaport neighborhood. Including students from each of the HSREC-affiliated schools, this event gave students the chance to tour active development sites, including Tishman Speyer's Pier Four and Cottonwood Management's Echelon.

In addition to the programming outlined above, the board provided a Leadership-level gift in support of the student-run Harvard Real Estate Weekend. A multiday event that has become the cornerstone of the student experience, the weekend drew over 500 students and professionals from around the world. A key component of the weekend is the Real Estate Venture Competition (REVC), a showcase for entrepreneurial students and recent graduates with the potential to materially impact the real estate industry through innovative business strategy and creative execution. The REVC would not be possible without the generous support of Sam Plimpton (MBA '77, MArch '80) and The Baupost Group LLC.

Finally, I am excited to announce that Julie Perlman (MDes Real Estate '13) has assumed the role of HSREC Chair, a position initially held by Matt Ciccotti (MDes Real Estate '15). During his tenure, Matt, who served as the board's inaugural HSREC Chair, worked diligently with student leadership to create and promote a comprehensive calendar of programming, driving the board's early successes vis-a-vis student engagement. Please join me in welcoming Julie and thanking Matt (now the board's treasurer) for his service.

On behalf of the cohort of HSREC students, thank you all for your continued dedication to real estate at Harvard. Your support of student efforts has been essential in creating a vibrant and collaborative student real estate community.

With best wishes,


Cynthia Henshall
Executive Director
Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board