Kari Parekh

When did you graduate and what was your major?
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Florida and graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Minor in Communication Studies. Then, in 2014, I graduated from UNC Charlotte Belk School of Business with my Master of Science in Real Estate.

What led you to earn a graduate degree at UNC Charlotte?
I wanted an opportunity to complete my graduate studies while continuing to gain real world experience throughout the real estate cycle. The Belk College of Business offered a part time program that allowed me to do just that and immediately apply concepts and material discussed in the classroom.

What was the best part of your Belk College experience?
The best part of my Belk College experience was definitely the people. The students, professors, and administration made the entire experience very rewarding. I truly believe I will benefit from the MS in Real Estate program throughout my career due to the Belk College network and these lifelong connections.

What was your first job after graduation?
I continued to work with Wells Fargo as an Asset Manager in the Other Real Estate Owned group and subsequently completed the Wells Fargo Credit Management Training Program in San Francisco. Upon completion, I accepted an opportunity to move to Washington, DC and am currently a Relationship Manager in Wells’ Commercial Real Estate division.

What opportunities did your new degree provide?
One of the biggest opportunities the MS in Real Estate degree provided was connectivity to the best and brightest in the Charlotte real estate community. As students we were able to work directly with leaders in the industry from day one. It was an incredible opportunity to work with multiple executives and to receive constant guidance in an effort to help us grow and succeed.

What did you learn in the Belk College that has best prepared you for your career?
The list of applicable takeaways is a long one as I completed a degree specifically tailored to my interests and directly correlated to my career. As an asset manager, it was helpful to understand the various aspects of the industry like site planning/development and real estate law. As a relationship manager at Wells Fargo, the valuations and underwriting guidance has proved especially beneficial.

What advice do you have for current Belk College students?
It can be hard to juggle work, school, and life; but I believe it is really important to completely pour yourself into the program and rigorous curriculum. Graduate students are typically more engaged, but I would advise current and future students to focus on getting the most out of the entire graduate degree experience versus one specific exam, project, or course.