Matt Wilson recently completed his masters in real estate at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. Matt was kind enough to share his insight into the University of Florida Nathan Collier MSRE program.
What was your background in real estate prior to the program?
I had worked in escrow and title for several years, and I was looking to move over to the investment side of the business.
What other real estate programs did you look at besides The University of Florida and why did you choose Florida over the other programs?
I wasn’t really looking at any other programs at the time. Since I planned on remaining in Florida, I really didn’t see a better opportunity than the MSRE program at UF. The connections to the “who’s who” within Florida commercial real estate is unmatched.
Are the professors primarily full-time or part-time? Do the part-time professors make themselves accessible outside the classroom?
There is a combination of both full-time and part-time instructors. Dr. David Ling and Wayne Archer are both full-time faculty, who, in addition to their research and administrative duties, teach classes such as Investment Property Analysis and Real Estate Securities and Portfolios. Adjunct faculty, such as James Izzo and Blaine Strickland, travel to Gainesville to instruct courses on market analysis and ARGUS valuation. They are very involved with the students and always make themselves available outside of the classroom.
Do you notice a variation of the material taught by different professors of the same course?
For the most part, the material remains constant, while each instructor can provide their own unique insights based on their experiences in commercial real estate.
What kind of opportunities does the program provide to students outside the classroom?
Students have access to the entire Advisory board, consisting of approximately 150 real estate professionals in the state of Florida, including principals of many top companies. Having access to the board provides students with tremendous networking opportunities with many of the state’s largest real estate employers. There are also approximately 2-3 speakers and other networking events each month.
How is the programs career counseling? Do they actively help studentsfind summer internships and full-time positions? How willing arealumni in assisting current students?
Ultimately, the burden falls on the students to do the legwork to find employment, but the program provides all the tools necessary to do that. First, access to the Advisory board provides both opportunity and mentorship. They want to see the students succeed, and while many end up hiring graduates of the program, they can also point students in the right direction, in terms of which companies to talk to. Overall, the alumni network is strong, through the regional chapters of UF’s Friends and Alumni of Real Estate. They organize events in all of the major MSAs throughout the state and are a great asset to the students as well.
What are your future aspirations in real estate and how has this program helped you to get closer to your goals?
My future goal is to be a prolific investor and syndicator in commercial real estate, and this program provided the tools to set me on the path to that goal. Market analysis and the sound, intelligent underwriting of an investment are paramount to success in commercial real estate, and this program provides both in spades.
How many classes are required to complete the program?
The program requires 34 credit hours, which can be earned through 18-24 classes, depending on choice of electives.
Is there anything else about the program you think people should know?
I can’t stress the importance of the network the program provides if you want to be a real estate professional in Florida. There is no better way to gain face-to-face access to the best of the best in Florida real estate.
Rate the various aspects of the program from 1-10, 10 being the best:
Career Counseling: 7
Outside Opportunities: 9
Feel free to post any questions you have about the program in the comment section below.