Improving the physical makeup of your surroundings—the path you take to work, the place you live, and what fun activities are supported by your environment—can be a great place to create larger change. At NYU’s undergraduate Real Estate program, offered by the School of Professional Studies’ Schack Institute of Real Estate, students leverage the resources of NYU, and New York City’s booming real estate industry, to make everyday elements their professional playground.
“The real estate major at Schack is centered around creating global citizens who care about the built environment and want to make a positive difference in the world where we live, work, and play,” says Professor Brian G. Schwagerl. He is the Undergraduate Chair of Academics and Clinical Assistant Professor of Real Estate at Schack. And through 11 core classes that focus on sustainability, marketing, brokerage, management, finance, investment analysis, law, and technology, as well as a variety of far-reaching programs and close relationships with professionals, students in this undergraduate real estate program have every opportunity to make their visions for a better world a reality.
Hands-On Is Key
Classroom instruction is only one part of the equation. Offering students firsthand experience in the field is another area where Schack excels. “Schack offers a rich array of opportunities to interact with our alumni—some of New York City’s most talented and influential real estate professionals, working in finance, law, asset management, housing, commercial leasing, construction, and development,” Professor Schwagerl says. “This provides multiple entries into the profession.”
Schack professors are also working professionals in the field. That means classes often attend field trips throughout the city to see their studies in action. Many students take advantage of NYU’s global study-away programs to get a taste of the industry abroad. Schack even offers a one-week intensive each year, focusing on international locations.
But perhaps the best advantage for Schack undergraduates is the opportunity to pursue unparalleled internship and work opportunities. They have the flexibility to do so even when classes are in full swing. “My internship is a project that will be written about in textbooks,” says rising junior and New York native Brendan Powell. He spent the summer drafting signage guidelines for the Moynihan Station Development Corporation. “The guidelines will likely outlast me,” he adds. “In 100 years when somebody wants to replace a sign, they’ll first have to refer to the standards I contributed to. Seeing that happen in real time was a priceless learning experience.”
Building a Network
Work experiences aren’t where the opportunities for real estate majors end. Schack’s Undergraduate Real Estate Club organizes lectures and recruiting events regularly. A newsletter filled with opportunities goes out to the undergraduate real estate program weekly. What’s more, there are several full-time real estate subject matter experts at the Wasserman Center for Career Development. Networking is the name of the game when it comes to success in this multifaceted field of study.
For Gozor S. Osaji, a rising senior from Lagos, Nigeria, the National Symposium of Women in Real Estate is a particularly important resource. She even helped plan the third annual symposium last fall. Here, women gather to share their experiences in the industry and their take on the market. “That space was especially empowering,” Gozor says. “These are women just like me who have built themselves from the bottom to the top. And they’re not afraid to share their success stories with the world. Real estate can be heavily male dominated. We give women the opportunity to know that their opinions are valid and heard.”
Rising senior Yin Huang, from Beijing, China, has big plans for what he wants to do with his degree. “I’m going back to my home country, and I want to be a leader in the field there,” he says. “I was fortunate to discover my passion at an early stage. And I know my experiences here can help me empower the industry in China.”
In the meantime, Yin is committed to empowering Asian students at NYU build their own success through the NYU Asian Real Estate Association. When he co-founded AREA, he had two goals. First, to shed light on the differences in the real estate industry between Asia and the United States. Second, to organize events and panels that focus on the Asian real estate market. “From the way you present yourself in the job market to the maturity of the market, our students from Asia need to understand the differences between this country and their own to really succeed,” Yin says.
But no matter where in the world they are heading, Schack real estate majors know one thing: NYU is the perfect first step along the way. “Hearing about a field is one thing. Living and breathing it is another,” Brendan says. Yin agrees: “For what we want to do, New York City—and NYU—is really the only option.”