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Getting to Know Real Estate Department Chair, Timothy Riddiough: Exploring Academics, World Travels, and His Interests Outside of Real Estate

Posted By Maria-Elena Svigos, Blue Vista Capital Management, Monday, April 8, 2019


James A. Graaskamp Chair and Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Department Chair, Dr. Timothy Riddiough, has been involved in the Real Estate Program at Wisconsin for over 40 years. He started at UW-Madison as an undergraduate student in 1976, and later earned his Ph.D. from UW-Madison in 1991. He was a tenured professor at MIT before returning to Madison in 2001 as a faculty member and has been on campus since.


As Head of the Department, Tim represents the Graaskamp Program with presentations and speeches at conferences all over the country and the world. He is best known for his work on credit risk in mortgage lending, mortgage securitization, real options, REIT investment and corporate finance, and land use regulation. Tim is also a past recipient of the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association Best Dissertation and Best Paper Awards and is a fellow at the Homer Hoyt Institute for Advanced Studies and the Real Estate Research Institute.


He is actively involved on campus, teaching various graduate-level courses since 2001 and an undergraduate-level Real Estate Finance class last semester. He serves as a mentor and a resource on campus and keeps an open office door for undergraduate and graduate students alike.


In this interview, Social Media Intern Maria-Elena Svigos asked Tim a wide range of questions about academics, his world travels and his interests outside of real estate. Read on to learn more about Tim Riddiough!


What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it?


The use of leverage in private equity investment. It looks like many LPs are reaching for yield and using leverage to do so. It might end badly for some or many taxpayers.


Upcoming real estate trends that you are excited about:

How technology, demographics and increasing income inequality will affect city form.


“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…”

I couldn’t hold a job in the private sector.


What is your most memorable moment as a professor?

Announcing the naming of the Graaskamp Center as a result of tremendous fundraising efforts of our alums and associated stakeholders.


“If I weren’t a business school professor or head of the Real Estate department, I would be…”

A shoe salesman. I worked my way through college selling shoes, and it’s always been my backup plan.


“If students _______, then I have done my job as a professor.”

can walk the walk and talk the talk by the time they graduate


Favorite country you have ever visited:

New Zealand. Been there five or six times now, and always want to go back.


Other languages you speak:

Pigeon English, sometimes gibberish.


Favorite place to vacation:

On a cruise ship, going just about anywhere. I thought I would hate it when I first tried it out, but it’s the only kind of vacation where I can totally relax – don’t have to worry about a thing. And the experience has this rootless American quality that I find attractive.


You’ve traveled the country (and the world) extensively. Please name the best city for each of these categories. City with the…


Best food?  Paris, with Hong Kong a close second. If Italy were a city, it would probably place first.


Most unique culture?  Cambodia, wonderful humble people.

Friendliest people? Children in Ho Chi Minh city, a little too friendly (hang onto your wallet).


Best public transportation system? Hong Kong

Best museums? Paris, hands down.


Most interesting architecture? Siem Reap, Cambodia. Amazing temples with these even more amazing trees growing in and around them.


Coldest weather? Stockholm


Coolest skyline? That’s easy, Hong Kong.

Best real estate students! That’s also easy, Madison!


What are your hobbies? I spend way more time on wine collecting and wine drinking than I should.


What are you currently reading? “The War on Alcohol.” It’s about prohibition in the US in the 1920s. There are fascinating parallels between that period and the period we are currently living in.


Favorite type of music and favorite artist: Country and Western, Johnny Cash.


What are your short-term goals for the year? Try not to screw up as department chair.


If everything went as planned, in 10 years, what would your day look like?


Sleep till 9, spend part of the day working on the book I’ve always wanted to write, have a good lunch out with my wife, stop over to see my grandchildren (at their place, not mine), cook dinner and have a good bottle of wine, watch a good hockey game. Alternatively, if I have any money left, travel and sightsee.

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