Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Prior Degrees: University of Southern California - B.S. in Business Administration
Pre-MRED+D Position: Senior Associate, Mosaic Realty Investors
Post-MRED+D Position: Director, Mortgage Investments, Shape Capital
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate education in real estate?
Although I had worked for a few years in real estate finance, I felt that I didn't fully understand the complexity of the projects I was underwriting in my role at Mosaic. I also wanted to focus my studies on sustainability and the impact that the built world has not only on the environment, but on its other stakeholders as well.
What about the UC Berkeley Abbey Master of Real Estate Development + Design attracted you to the program?
The program at Berkeley spoke to me as an opportunity to take a year to be able to approach real estate from a developer perspective and not a financier perspective, all the while learning about urban design and sustainability elements. The focus on not only the functional process of bringing a project to completion but also the long-term implications of decisions made throughout the process was a determining factor in choosing the Abbey MRED+D.
What was your favorite MRED+D class?
My favorite class was Principles of Sustainable Development (now called Sustainable Building Systems + Construction), which taught us to look at innovative ways to design projects not only to be environmentally-friendly, but also to take into account real world impacts on local communities and people.
Please share your favorite memory from your time in the program.
My favorite memory from my time in MRED+D was working on a group project in our Sustainability Colloquium with my classmates and roommates at the time. It was a one-credit course, so the workload was light, but the discussions were extremely informative. This led to a fun but deep look into the benefits and issues with CLT (cross-laminated timber) construction with my group on our project.
Tell us about your current role, and how the Abbey MRED+D prepared you for it.
I was hired to create new real estate development-focused debt fund under the arm of a well-established real estate developer, Shape Properties. The idea was to leverage off the existing infrastructure and professionals at the firm in order to more effectively underwrite and structure mortgages for real estate developers in British Columbia, all while achieving a strong risk-adjusted return for investors. With minimal previous experience or understanding of how project ideas come to fruition, I found my largest takeaway from the program was learning the iterative design process and how and why projects are built the way they are. Ultimately, for my current role, I would say this taught me how to effectively question the "why" behind elements of a project and potentially come up with ways to make a project more thoughtful.
What do you hope achieve professionally in the next 5 years?
While my current focus is on starting the new debt fund at Shape Properties, I want to expand the division of Shape Capital to also look at other real estate-related investments, and how thoughtful structuring on the investment side can be beneficial for all stakeholders involved.
What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing the Abbey MRED+D at UC Berkeley?
I would say to make the most of your time at Berkeley, and be sure to take advantage of extra-curriculars and electives outside of the core classes. It is a great time to expand your mind, learn from some of the brightest in the world, and experience all that an institution like the University of California has to offer.