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.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Senior Associate, Mosaic Realty Investors
Director, Mortgage Investments, Shape Capital
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.
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.
My favorite class was Principles of Sustainable Development (Construction + Project Management), 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.
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.
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.
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.