In April, a select group of 12 first-year MBA students with a strong interest in real estate traveled to London for a five-day real estate trek organized by the Steers Center for Global Real Estate at the McDonough School of Business. The students met with leading companies and key contacts in the industry and visited sites such as the former London Olympic Village, the Burlington Arcade, and Value Retail’s Bicester Village.
“We had the students assume the role of a U.S. investor who was visiting the United Kingdom to look for investment opportunities,” said Sunil Madan, associate director of the Steers Center. “Such investors would go out and see a broad array of investment opportunities and then decide which specific investments they would like to make.”
In preparation for the trek, the students learned from four experts in global investing and the U.K. market, including alumni Sonny Kalsi (B’90), Kristi Craig (B’95), and Jeremy Ford (F’96, MBA’05). In addition, the students were divided into teams and tasked with developing an investment pitch for £100 million ($129 million). The students presented their plans to alumni during the trip.
While in London, the group visited companies such as Delancey, Northwood Investors, and Thor Equities. Students also connected with Peter Marano (P’14) and alumni Larry Botel (B’88), Erin Cannata (B’11), Lesley Chen Davidson (B’96), Al Ho (B’97), Roger Orf (C’74), Saleh Romeih (B’88), and Stefan Zingerle (B’06). Some students were able to secure internship opportunities through connections developed during the trek.
“We wanted to expose them to people, expose them to places, and expose them to ideas,” said Matt Cypher, Atara Kaufman Professor of the Practice and director of the Steers Center. “Investors in the United States are looking at assets in the United States, Europe, and Asia. To be an informed investor, you need to have a complete understanding of the global real estate capital market.”
This year’s trip to London marks the third global real estate trek organized by the Steers Center.
“The trek reinforced the skills and concepts that we have studied in Professor Cypher's Real Estate Clinic and private equity courses, as we evaluated the risks and attributes of real estate investment opportunities in the U.K.,” said Hannah Steckler (MBA’18). “The trip was by far my favorite experience of the MBA program so far, and I would encourage next year's students with an interest in real estate to consider this opportunity as yet another way to go beyond the classroom.”
— Lindsay Reilly