Before beginning my Wisconsin MBA, I worked as a civil engineer. I had a unique job doing something I enjoyed for a company that treated me well. There was, however, always a feeling that something was missing from my career; I wanted something more from my professional life.
From early in my undergraduate years, I had an interest in real estate as a career. I first learned about real estate development in an urban planning elective course my freshmen year. It became a hobby I was passionate about, but not much more.
As a young professional and engineer in New York City, I worked closely with building developers, owners, and managers. Spending so much time with these people exposed me even more to the various roles and functions of real estate professionals. Before long, as the feeling of unrest grew in my previous position, I realized that I was inexorably drawn to the real estate developers that I had become close with on my various projects. I was curious about what, how, and why they made various choices. Real estate development had moved from an interest to career goal.
For this career change, I knew I would have to start over at an entry-level position or return to school to build a solid foundation for my real estate career. It did not take much research to realize that the people in the higher-level positions that I aspired to had an MBA.
I chose Wisconsin for several reasons. The specialization focused program and Graaskamp Center for Real Estate are unlike anything I found at other schools. I knew that I wanted to move into real estate and Wisconsin’s MBA, with an immediate emersion into real estate, offers a program that has all the elements of education and foundation building that I was looking for. The center-based education focuses on a specific specialization within business rather than general management.
Wisconsin’s alumni are some of the best in the nation, and the network is amongst the largest and strongest. Wisconsin has alumni in so many locations, companies, and positons that are in line with my career goals. What sold me even more is that the Graaskamp Center has its own alumni association, unique from the Wisconsin School of Business. The Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association is a tightknit group of people that organize events, newsletters, and outreach exclusive to members of the real estate community.
The people I met when I visited Madison were the tipping point in my decision. The Graaskamp Center staff and directors took a genuine interest in my career goals and how they could help me achieve them. The professors not only teach, but are also professionals in the industry. For a real estate focused MBA, this often means that the professors are involved in investment or consulting in the real estate industry. Additionally, the students have similar personalities and goals as myself. There is a desire to not only gain an education and move toward our professional goals, but to make the program the best that we can; to leave things better than when we got here. I see, in the Wisconsin School of Business, a program that will take me to the next stage in my career and will help me become a better, more well-rounded person.