Take full advantage of the opportunities that the program and university has to offer. Outside of normal coursework students can enroll in electives, participate in competitions, work in internships, and attend social events. All of these are great ways to enrich your experience and network, which will hopefully lead to a fulfilling role post-graduation. I don’t think there’s a better program for someone that is interested in real estate development, especially in the Bay Area.
Director of Finance, Sunrun
Development Finance Manager, Nichols Partnership
My career prior to the MRED+D program was heavily focused on corporate finance, which I enjoyed, but ultimately found unfulfilling. This led me to take some time off and search for a new career that I would find more meaningful and impactful. During this time, I stumbled across UC Berkeley’s MRED+D program. Having always been interested in real estate, I thought the program was a great opportunity to leverage my finance background while pivoting into a new career path.
I chose UC Berkeley’s program because I was drawn to the program’s focus on sustainability and social responsibility, which is hugely important in a field that shapes the places and spaces we all live in as a society. The more I dug in, the more I realized the program was the perfect fit for me and a great opportunity to help jumpstart my transition into real estate development.
My favorite class was our course on Sustainable Building Systems + Construction (RDEV 200). With my background in finance, I had relatively little experience with construction prior to the program. This course helped me understand the basics of building construction and was a good introduction to some of the best practices in sustainable development. It also helped that we had fantastic instructors for the course.
As the “Covid Class”–by that I mean the cohort that was virtual for almost the entire program–my favorite memory was our program’s graduation, which was the first time most of my fellow students and I were able to get together in one place. While I had met many of them before on project tours, our graduation was the first time we were all together as an entire class. The moment was special and made me appreciate the challenge we all shared together over the past year.
There are two big takeaways. The first is the importance of good design and how it enhances a building both from a cost and value perspective. The second takeaway is the idea that as developers our job is largely about change management. To be successful, we need the communities we operate in to believe in the projects we’re developing; otherwise, projects can quickly unravel. This makes community engagement and change management a critical part of our role.
In my current role, I’m involved in both the financial and project management of projects. Over the next five years, I hope to continue to expand my project management and developer skillsets, while also helping drive a more sustainable built environment on the projects I am involved with.