The Master of Real Estate Development program at the David Eccles School of Business has always been a unique entity in higher education.
It offers its students hands-on real-estate and development practice through the Utah Real Estate Challenge and other competitions. It features a faculty combining academic excellence and top-tier industry experience. It’s a joint program offered through the business school and the U’s College of Architecture + Planning, and incorporates a number of disciplines ranging from development and urban planning to finance, transactions and capital markets. Simply put, it’s one of the only programs of its kind in the world, and students enter the workforce uniquely prepared to succeed.
The program added another opportunity for students this year that further differentiates the David Eccles School of Business’s MRED program from its peers—Real Estate Around the World, a class which literally took a group of students around the globe in a two-week rush of company visits and networking opportunities from Asia to the Middle East to Europe.
“The trip broadened my perception of how the world looks at real estate,” MRED student Evan Hyde said of the experience. “Utah is not the rest of the world, and it was refreshing to get an inside look at how other countries handle things.”
The MRED Around the World class was modeled on a real estate partnership with instructor Jim Hill acting as managing partner, and the students in the role of junior partners. The students all helped conceive, research and execute the trip, which included visits to two real estate projects in each city.
Among the firms visited were international companies like Hines, Adobe and Costco, as well as country-specific developments in the cities visited: Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Dubai and Paris.
Student Joseph Powell said the Real Estate Around the World class “was so much more than I expected it to be. The caliber of the contacts and companies that we were able to meet, and the time we spent with them, were once-in-a-lifetime learning experiences. They went out of their way to prepare and deliver a wonderful presentation, and took their time to answer all of our questions.”
Powell cited a development in Hong Kong, Shui on Land, as a personal highlight of his trip.
“We were given a wonderful presentation about the company, and then a personal tour of their master plan community that took older, existing French concession homes that were renovated and turned into a mall surrounded by tall, modern skyscrapers,” Powell said. “This created an amazing atmosphere and preserved the old architecture.”
Several of the students said the Real Estate Around the World class inspired a reassessment of their career possibilities to include options they had not considered before boarding the plane and following the sun westward.
“I learned how small the market is here in Utah compared to what is going on around the world,” said student Christian Traeden. “The trip opened up my eyes to the possibilities available in international development. I never thought I would like to do business abroad, but the trip has changed my outlook.”
Student Michael Glauser concurred with Traeden on the trip’s eye-opening appeal for MRED students.
“For the first time, I really felt that I could do international development and be happy,” Glauser said. “After this trip and the many visits we had, if I wanted to work internationally, I’d already have a list of five or 10 people I could contact to get started.”
All of the travelers would encourage fellow MRED students join the next MRED Around the World class, calling it a “life-changing experience.” The students came home to Salt Lake City thinking big about their future careers and thrilled with the networking opportunities they enjoyed on the jaunt.
“You can definitely be successful with international development, but you need to know the culture, laws, markets and expectations of each certain location,” Glauser said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience where some of the biggest and best developers in the world have your full attention in a very small meeting.”
In short, it’s the kind of experience you can only get through the MRED program at the David Eccles School of Business.