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USD Real Estate Program Marks 30 Years

EDUCATION: Burnham-Moores Center Core Part of Student Experience

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of the real estate program at University of San Diego’s Knauss School of Business.

Not only is the center taking stock of where it’s been and where it is going, but it is preparing for the future through its Campaign for Student Success – a campaign to raise endowments for real estate student scholarships and for real estate faculty.

Several Notable Gifts

In 1993, a real estate industry committee, chaired by the late Daniel F. Mulvihill, raised $1.5 million to endow and name the Ernest (Ernie) W. Hahn Chair in Real Estate Finance. Funding was provided by more than 100 donors—friends and colleagues of Ernie Hahn and industry leaders dedicated to creating a world-class real estate program at USD. Nationally recognized leader Mark Riedy, PhD was hired as the first holder of the Hahn Chair and the Hahn Chair dedication took place in November 1993.

A decade later, in 2004, the program received a $5 million endowment gift to name and endow the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate (BMC). Funding was provided by John Moores, the Burnham Foundation, Burnham Real Estate Services and senior management and brokers of Burnham Real Estate Services (led by Stath Karras, the current executive director of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate). A dedication to name the center took place in September 2004.

Programs Offered at All Levels

That same year, the first class of Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) students began and the first MSRE cohort graduated in 2005. The Real Estate Finance, Investments and Development certificate program, which offers continuing education to real estate professionals, also commenced in 2004.  A new real estate undergraduate minor was established in 2007 and the major was approved in 2009. The student experience and the preparedness for a career in real estate was the focus of the program from the outset.

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Real estate is now offered as an undergraduate major and a minor. At the graduate level, the Master of Science in Real Estate is offered as a full-time program for 10 months (two semesters) or part-time for 22 months (four semesters). There are also two intra-university dual degree options available. The MSRE can be paired with a Juris Doctor for a JD/MSRE or paired with the Master’s in Business Administration for an MBA/MSRE option. The program also offers a Real Estate Finance, Investments and Development Certificate for industry professionals seeking to expand their knowledge base through continuing education.

A Core Element

Charles Tu, PhD
Daniel F. Mulvihill Endowed Chair, Real Estate Department
Knauss School of Business

While much of a Knauss School of Business real estate education takes place in the classroom, the BMC is at the core of USD students’ real estate journey. The center’s dedication to students via its mission – to help recruit, educate and mentor a diverse group of real estate students with the goal of facilitating their career pursuits in collaboration with the real estate industry—is second-to-none. The BMC’s mission is carried out through the support of outstanding faculty, professional staff, dedicated career services, scholarship offerings, active industry involvement and outreach and cutting-edge research.

“Student-centricity has been a mainstay for us since the beginning of our program,” said Charles Tu, Daniel F. Mulvihill Endowed Chair, Real Estate Department. “The support, services and resources we deliver to real estate students through the BMC are unparalleled. This support is funded entirely through the real estate industry.”

Student support includes career development coaching, student scholarship offerings, relationship building with industry professionals, company site visits, career fairs and more.

A Support Network

Stath Karras
Executive Director
Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate
Knauss School of Business

The BMC’s strong bonds with both industry and USD real estate alumni create a network of support for USD real estate students. It is the strength of the BMC’s  policy advisory board  and  Burnham-Moores Center Real Estate Committee  which is also a key component to student success. These connections provide opportunities for USD students to build relationships with real estate professionals and establish a foothold on the path toward a successful real estate career. The real estate industry wants to hire professionals with a good balance of technical and behavioral skills.

“Time and time again, we hit the mark in ensuring that our students are well prepared for their respective area of real estate and the vast number of employers who continue to hire our students are a testament that our student-centric mission works,” said Karras.

Furthermore, USD real estate teams have been very successful in real estate competitions. MSRE student teams have won seven first-place finishes in the annual, international ARGUS University Challenge. USD’s undergraduate real estate student teams have placed first on three occasions in the annual, regional NAIOP University Challenge. These competitions have helped propel the USD Knauss School of Business real estate program and the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate into the national spotlight, receiving increasing national recognition.

Fourth Largest Major

USD’s real estate programs have blossomed over the last 30 years. The Knauss School of Business undergraduate real estate program currently has more than 400 students majoring or minoring in real estate. These figures represent nearly a 30% increase year-over-year for the last five years, leading the program to become the fourth largest major at USD in 2022.  Carrying out the BMC mission and a lot of hard work has led the program to national rankings over the last decade – first-place rankings by College Factual three years in a row and No. 11 and No. 15 rankings from U.S. News & World Report the last two years.

Conference Set for March 23

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Knauss School of Business real estate program at its upcoming 27th Annual Real Estate Conference on Thursday, March 23 at the San Diego Marriott La Jolla, 4240 La Jolla Village Drive. The event is open to the general public (https://27arec.eventbrite.com).

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