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Paying it Forward in the Wisconsin Tradition

Posted By David A. Walsh, Friday, April 6, 2018
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mike Kalscheur has been providing guidance and support to real estate students at UW-Madison since the program’s inception nine years ago.  Mike grew up in Madison and received both a B.S. in Construction Management and an M.S. in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from UW-Madison. He currently serves as the President of Meridian Properties Real Estate, Inc. in Carlsbad, California.  Mike recently talked to Social Media Ambassador David Walsh about his experiences as a mentor and what has encouraged him to maintain his lengthy involvement with the mentorship program.


What lead you to join the UW Real Estate Mentorship Program? Have you had mentors throughout your own career from UW or elsewhere?


I wanted to stay connected to the real estate program in general and the students specifically. The mentorship program seemed like a great way to do that, and to hopefully help the students gain some insight into what they could expect after they graduate. I was blessed with several great mentors at TOLD Development Company, all whom were UW real estate guys and can’t even begin to articulate how much they helped me grow in the real estate business and as a person.


What encourages you to continue serving as a mentor?


I probably get a lot more out of it than my mentees. It’s been fun for me to get to know the students and to hear how the real estate program continues to evolve over time.

What has been notably valuable in your experience with this group?


It’s always great to get a call from a mentee that’s excited about landing a job. I know the mentorship program goes out of its way to make sure the students understand that it’s not a mentors’ role to give them a job or help them find one, but ultimately that’s why you get your degree, so I try to help however I can. I don’t think my efforts have ever led directly to a student getting a specific job opportunity, but the interviewing process and decision making that takes place can be pretty intense and I’d like to think I can help them along; even if it’s only as a sounding board.


Have you done business or continued your relationship with any mentees?


Not yet. My business is specific to the San Diego area or within a very narrow niche when I do deals elsewhere in the country. So, unless one of them lands in San Diego or focuses on heavy industrial property that allows outdoor storage it may not happen…although maybe someday one of them will lend me money.


What advice do you have for current students?


The biggest thing I tell the students is to view their first job out of school as a continuance of their education. The Wisconsin Real Estate program is clearly the best in the world, but you still have a lot to learn after you graduate. My advice is to look hard for a position in the area of real estate that you’re most passionate about and make sure you end up with a company that’s going to invest in your personal growth. You don’t want to be stuck in a cube somewhere running Argus models forever, so find out what you’ll be doing day one and what they expect you may be doing in year five. I also tell students they should resist the urge to take one job over another for the sole reason of year one salary. A few bucks won’t mean much if it’s in a city you don’t want to live in or with a company you don’t enjoy.


Many thanks to Mike for his continued contributions to the UW-Madison Real Estate program!



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