What degree did you pursue and why?
Master of Science in Real Estate, Finance and Development. Although it was never my original plan to have a career in commercial real estate, I’ve continually enjoyed my educational adventure as a commercial property manager. Obviously Charlotte has grown so significantly during this time and it’s an honor to say that I’ve had small roles in many properties along the way. Not long ago, I realized that I wanted to play a larger role in helping to shape communities than that of a traditional property manager. I know the skills I develop and relationships I make in this program will create the opportunities I’ve been craving.
Why did you choose the Belk College of Business over others?
I wasn’t committed to going back to school until I learned of the MSRE program at the Belk College of Business. I had already obtained my North and South Carolina real estate licenses and recently earned my Certified Property Manager’s Designation (CPM) through the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). I assumed that additional real estate education had to be obtained through industry associations (LEED or CCIM seemed like plausible next steps). As soon as I learned that a master’s degree in real estate was even an option, I instantly knew that was the path I wanted to take. I assumed I would need to wait a year or so, given that I was several months pregnant and due to deliver my daughter in the middle of the first semester. The staff assured me that the program was small and flexible enough to accommodate even the working full-time, new mom. I enrolled immediately and have never had a doubt that it was the right decision.
What lessons have you learned in your courses that you were able to apply on the job?
I’m an Asset Manager at Collett Capital, a real estate private equity fund. We are currently under contract to purchase $96M of new assets, almost doubling our current portfolio. I have the opportunity to provide significant value as our team underwrites potential acquisitions, implements the individual business plans and manages our portfolio from the higher strategic vantage point. I play a large role in due diligence and onboarding our new investments and work closely with the property management leasing teams for our existing properties. This is exactly the type of role I had in mind when I began the MSRE Program. I'm eager to absorb all I can from my talented team.
RE Finance & Investment and Financial Modeling were by far the most helpful in terms of expanding my contributions, underwriting efficiencies and overall understanding of the entire investment process. My involvement in the Student Managed Real Estate Investment Fund has also been invaluable as I perform similar functions in my role.
What activities are you involved in when not working/studying?
I am an active member of the Sponsorship Committee of CREW, a new member of ULI and a long-term member of IREM. Our daughter, Annecy, is now two years old and my husband, Joe and I are having a blast as we help her explore her world. We are also slowly working on our 20 year fixer upper while trying to fit in a bit of travel and exploration of our own.
What was the best part of your academic experience?
Certainly the connections with my classmates. This program is full of talented individuals of diverse backgrounds that all bring so much to the educational environment. Not only is there a sense of comradery in the classroom, but there is the appreciation that these relationships will continue to be successful as we emerge as leaders in our industry.
What are your next steps after graduating?
I look forward to celebrating this accomplishment with my husband, daughter, friends and family. It wasn't always easy but I am blessed with ample support and patience over these last three years.
What was your best memory from your time at unc charlotte?
I was fortunate to partake in two international courses during the program which provided the framework for adventures in Berlin, Barcelona and London. Our program was filled with not only brilliant professionals, but also great friends who were fun travel partners.
How would you describe the Belk College of Business to someone considering a master’s program?
The Belk College of Business is integrated deeply into Charlotte’s business community. Their objective is not only to provide you with a degree, but to provide ample opportunities to connect with and create relationships with a robust cross section of Charlotte’s business leaders. The educational opportunities continue outside of the classroom through regular seminars, networking events and panels long after you graduate. If you plan to stay in Charlotte, I can’t imagine there being an alternative program that offers greater value for your money.