I would encourage a prospective student to focus on learning skills you don’t currently know. If you come from a design background, put effort into learning skills in finance and real estate law. If you come from a business background, focus on learning and talking about design. Also, participate in student competitions, do an internship and take as many electives as you can manage. Lastly, don’t forget to make new friends, network with people in the industry and at Berkeley, and have fun!
Los Angeles, CA
Project Architect, Gensler Los Angeles
Development Project Manager, Redcar Properties
At Gensler, I designed and managed sports projects such as the new Austin FC Q2 Soccer Stadium and the LA Chargers Headquarters & Training Facility. Prior to that, I had experience on large, complex healthcare and university projects. As an architect, it has been my passion to create sustainable, well-designed buildings that people enjoy living and working in. However, I was also interested in being involved in projects at their conception and being on the owner’s side of the process. I enjoy evaluating aspects such as site conditions, zoning and current market conditions for a new project. And I still enjoy creating exceptional buildings while working with talented architects, just in a different capacity.
Before attending Berkeley, I enrolled in night classes at UCLA Extension to “test the waters” in real estate development. Rather than taking only a few classes a year over potentially 3-4 years, I was drawn to the accelerated one-year program at UC Berkeley, allowing me to achieve my goals sooner. The MRED+D program at UC Berkeley also has the perfect blend of development and design teaching, which complements my background as an architect.
It’s hard to choose just one class since I learned so much from the MRED+D program, but MBA 282 Real Estate Development Finance with Dennis Williams was my favorite. In that class I learned how to put together a proforma and evaluate return metrics, which has proved to be most valuable post-graduation.
Given that our year was mostly remote, my favorite memory was meeting other students from my cohort for the first time, when we joked about how we were all so different in person than on Zoom. Despite the remote learning, I have built life-long friendships, learned invaluable new skills in real estate development, and achieved my lifelong dream of receiving a Berkeley education.
At Redcar, I manage the development and construction of commercial ground-up projects, as well as the redevelopment and repositioning of existing assets in high-growth urban neighborhoods around Los Angeles.
I was originally drawn to Redcar since they are developing a mass timber project in the Chinatown neighborhood of LA, and my Capstone was focused on the topic of mass timber development in California. Now that I’ve joined the company, I’m currently managing similar projects, which I am very excited to see completed in the next few years. I look forward to furthering sustainable development and being part of the exciting growth at Redcar.