Thursday, February 17, 2011 Wisconsin Real Estate Viewpoint Blog
Student employment outlook improves thanks to real estate career fair by Graaskamp Center Staff
Andrew Brainard, a second-year real estate MBA, reports on the success of last week's real estate career fair. Andrew also served as the career fair coordinator for the UW Real Estate Club.

This year’s Wisconsin Real Estate Club Career Fair, held in Grainger Hall's Plenary Room at the Wisconsin School of Business, was a tremendous success. The fair showed a marked improvement in the employment outlook since the economic collapse of 2007-2008 and a 50% increase in participating employers over the 2010 career fair.

This success is due to largely to the collaborative efforts of the Real Estate Club and the Graaskamp Center for Real Estate to bolster employer attendance and place students in exceptional full-time and internship positions. I had the honor to organize this year’s career fair, with significant support from the 2012 co-career fair coordinators Ben Schmidt (first-year real estate MBA) and Max Sternberg (real estate undergraduate) and the tireless efforts of Center staff members Sharon McCabe, Kris Hammargren, Lee Gottschalk, and Alison Zuba.

Planning began with last year’s coordinator, Dan Lessor (MBA '10), bringing me up to speed on prior attendees and procedures. During the fall semester’s International Real Estate class, undergraduate and MBA students contributed to the planning process by researching and recommending numerous firms that they were personally interested in and believed would be strong additions to the career fair.

After numerous emails and phone calls over the following three months, 22 firms registered for the career fair. These firms included Ridge Property Trust, Equity Office, Ernst & Young, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, L.A. Duesterbeck & Associates, Fiduciary Real Estate Development, Heitman, Green Courte Partners, Waterton Associates, T. Wall Properties, Ventas, Dominium, Duff & Phelps, Gorman & Co., Associated Bank, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, NAI MLG Commercial, Kohl's Department Stores, Inland Companies, JPMorgan Chase, Realogic, and Mortenson Development.

The day’s activities began with our inaugural Real Estate Career Fair Open House in the Graaskamp Center, where employers were able to get refreshments and to network with Real Estate Club officers, Graaskamp Center staff, and real estate faculty. The fair began at 6pm with Real Estate Club members rushing the registration tables, eager to meet with employers and talk about the industry and available jobs. Employers were just as eager to meet with students and find potential candidates for their firms.

Feedback from both employers and students was overwhelmingly positive as there were plenty of candidates to match with a plethora of opportunities. The evening was capped off with a networking reception in the Grainger Hall East Atrium where employers, MBAs and undergrads met to reminisce about their Badger experience, discuss the evening’s event, and of course, talk real estate.

Given this year’s success, the Real Estate Club looks forward to building next year’s event to be on par with pre-recession levels. Please feel free to contact the Center at any time to reserve your space for 2012! I want to thank all who attended, and give a special thanks to all those who assisted me in organizing this wonderful event.

Andrew Brainard is in his second year of the Wisconsin Real Estate MBA program. Most recently, Andrew spent his summer interning in Chicago for RE|SOLUTIONS, a receivership, management and disposition firm, working on asset management and valuations for distressed properties in workout or REO with special servicers and banks. Upon graduation, he plans to focus on commercial real estate investment, primarily in asset management and acquisitions.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos from the fair!