UNO’s Real Estate Bachelor’s Program 6/29/16 06/29/16 12:08:49 PM
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Mammel Hall, on the university’s south campus, is home to UNO’s groundbreaking real estate degree program.
UNO’s Real Estate Bachelor’s Program Makes
Changes for Even More ‘Real World Application’
By Julien R. Fielding
The Daily Record
The University of Nebraska at Omaha has a unique program, and David Beberwyk, director of outreach and education for the Center for Real Estate & Asset Management, wants everyone to know about it.
UNO’s real estate program dates back to the 1950s, he said, and is the only program in Nebraska to offer a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in real estate. To meet increasing and changing demand, the program is undergoing a series of changes in the next year or so. For instance, the catalog is being revamped so as to provide students with more options based on their individual interests.
“Our goal is to reach more students – to attract them from other disciplines, such as finance, law, economics, urban planning, and marketing,” he said. “By fall 2017, we hope to provide students the option to obtain a real estate concentration online.” Beberwyk said that online classes would better meet the needs of non-traditional students, students in rural areas, the military, or anywhere else in the world.
Another change to the current program is that they want to offer an ARGUS software certification course by spring 2017. ARGUS is “the industry standard commercial real estate cash flow projection, transaction analysis, and asset valuation solution” … it is used by more than 15,000 real estate professionals to “analyze commercial real estate assets and transactions; understand market realities and risks, develop leasing strategies, business and marketing plans; forecast property and portfolio cash flows; calculate investment values and returns; share asset and transactional data with clients, partners, and colleagues; and navigate complex international deal structures.”
Beberwyk plans to integrate even more technology to the classroom. “We are leveraging technologies in the classroom to enhance teaching,” he said. “In addition to Powerpoint, I am using TopHat – which I learned about from my daughter – and Socrates. Students have to get on their smartphones to respond to questions. I used it as a pilot program last fall.”
These changes are having an impact on student numbers, he said. “We had 110 students in the real estate principles and practices class; we typically have 50 to 60. We’ve been doing a lot of marketing to get their attention. Advisors are now recommending this class as an elective … these are just good life skills to have. We also have 50 students in the real estate concentration; before we had 30 to 40. During the recession, it was in the 20s.”
Erin C. Howard is just one of the many undergraduate students majoring in finance, banking, and real estate. “I actually started out wanting to choose accounting as my concentration, but I just really wasn’t enjoying it,” she said.
“At the time I didn’t even know that UNO had a real estate program. I was working with my mom at the time to flip a house out in Rockbrook and when it came time to sign up for classes, I saw that there was real estate principles course offered that fall. I signed up and absolutely loved it. It captured my interest right away, and by the end of the fall I had declared my concentration in real estate.”
What she likes about the program, Howard said, is how well it prepares a student for real life. “There have been those classes I have been forced to take at UNO, where I have just sat there thinking to myself, ‘When would I ever use this?’ All the classes I have taken for real estate have had a clear line of view to the real world application, and that has motivated me to learn even more.
“I hope to get a job in either commercial real estate or agricultural real estate when I graduate. The beauty of it is that I can do a million different things, because there are so many sectors to the world of real estate. This is one of the big things I feel real estate has to offer. It’s ever changing.”
Students aren’t the only ones benefitting from these changes at UNO. Members of the real estate community will soon have the opportunity to attend two to three seminars each year that will offer them the chance to network, learn, and gain fellowship.
The next “mini symposium” is scheduled at 3 p.m. on Aug. 26 in Mammel Hall on the UNO campus. Food and drinks will be provided.
Jerry Slusky, partner at Smith Slusky Law, is such a fan that not only does he afford Beberwyk the chance to deliver a short “pitch” for UNO’s real estate program at his annual CRE Summit, but he also lets students from the program attend the Summit at 10% of the normal ticket price. (This year, students were able to attend the Summit at no cost because UNO obtained a grant.)
As Slusky explained it, “Some five years ago, I reached out to the professor running the program to see if the CRE Summit would be interesting to their students. At that time, the economy was just coming out of the recession, and the UNO program was at a real low on students. We did make our presentation and about five students attended the Summit. I have returned each year and was pleased to find that of the 40 students who attended this year’s presentation, The Ins and Outs of Commercial Real Estate, 25 of those also attended the Summit.
“I have had incredible feedback from these students, all of whom felt that they learned some very practical things about CRE and were able to network with many of the industry professionals in attendance. As a graduate of the UNO real estate program, I feel particularly close to it and will continue to provide whatever resources including the $25 price tag for the Summit.”
To learn more about the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Department of Finance, Banking, and Real Estate, please go to: http://www.unomaha.edu/college-of-business-administration/center-for-real-estate-and-asset-management/index.php.