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This blog is used to share information with alumni, students and friends of the UW Madison Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Program.


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Young Alumni Profile

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, Monday, October 30, 2017


In the first installment of our Recent Graduate Feature, WREAA Social Media Ambassador, Emmet Gaffney, interviewed Matt Huberty (BBA Real Estate 2014, MS Finance 2015) about his time on campus, his professional career and interests.  Matt currently works for JP Morgan in New York City.


Time at UW


Q: While at UW, did you have any extracurricular activity related to the real estate program?


I participated in the Cornell and USC case competitions. If you are a student, raise your hand for every case competition. You’ll be happy you did. They force you to think more deeply about the real estate process, improve your presenting ability and offer a cash reward if you place high enough. I spoke about my case competitions at every interview, and would not work at JP Morgan today if not for the Cornell case competition.


Q: What was your favorite memory from the program or REC?


I was fortunate to work closely with Tom Landgraf and Erwan Quintin as a TA. Wisconsin has an extraordinary group of teachers. I also loved the Real Estate club trip to Austin, TX - we had some amazing BBQ.


Q: What other activities were you involved in on campus?


I was a tutor for Econ 101 (BLC), a club rugby player, an investment banking club member and an employee of the Waterfront’s property management staff, where I delivered mail and set up breakfast every morning for the residents.


Professional Career


Q: Where do you currently work and what is your role?


I work in JP Morgan’s acquisitions group covering major commercial property types in the southeast region of the US.


Q: Can you bring us through some of your duties in this position? Do you have any advice for students or new grads?


I read leases and model them into Argus. Using Argus and Excel, I model forward-looking cash flow for office, multifamily, industrial, and retail buildings. I compile and communicate the important business and economic factors of a transaction along with concisely communicating an investment thesis and its risks. I also coordinate due diligence efforts.



As far as advice, having a good attitude and attention to detail are key.  The biggest technical struggle for new analysts is understanding how argus calculates gross lease expense reimbursements. Learn this before your internship or job!  


Q: How has your Wisconsin connection helped you in your career so far?


The Wisconsin real estate program puts grads leaps and bounds ahead of Ivy League grads, but only if you take advantage of all it has to offer. The program teaches you real estate math. It teaches you real estate jargon. It will put you in touch with industry professionals and peers. It will build your technical skills (argus, excel and appraisals). In this hyper-competitive age where junior internship applicants already have 2+ real estate internships on their resumes, the Wisconsin real estate program offers a total competitive advantage. That being said, if you don’t take advantage of real estate club meetings, the alumni network, internship opportunities, and case competitions, then you are missing out on the most beneficial parts of the program.




Q: When you’re not doing real estate, how do you like to spend your time? Do you have any hobbies?


I like to do or plan anything family related.


Q: What’s your favorite city to spend time in?


New York City - there is more optionality here than in any other city. Austin, TX is also great. It’s a college town that reminds me a lot of Madison. The city has grown recently from technology companies increasing their footprint there (Google, Oracle, and Facebook). The city is vibrant and lots of fun. South Congress (SoCo) is great (not as fun as State Street, of course).  It’s a lot cheaper than New York.


Q: Do you have a favorite movie or book?


I highly recommend The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. If you’re interested in economics, Poor Economics is interesting. Other People’s Money acutely highlights the pitfalls of institutional real estate investing and is a must-read for those in New York real estate.


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Wisconsin Real Estate Trends Conference Draws A Crowd

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, Monday, October 30, 2017

Hundreds of Real Estate Badgers, current and past, as well as friends of the UW Real Estate Program, gathered in Chicago on September 27th and 28th to take part in the Wisconsin Real Estate Trends Conference. Over 200 attendees made their way to the Windy City to participate in the program. 


The festivities kicked off on Wednesday night with a networking welcome reception at the beautiful Apogee Lounge at the Dana Hotel. The attendees enjoyed good food, drinks, and conversation amidst a crisp fall evening in Chicago.


Thursday’s events were held at the Mid-America Club on the 80th floor of the AON Building. The venue boasted striking views of Chicago, which provided a great backdrop for the day. The day started with a networking breakfast and then moved into The Age of Transformation, a session with John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics. Mr. Mauldin spoke about the future of business, technology, and society, which prompted lots of questions from interested members of the crowd. The next panel, Navigating Capital Market Cross-Currents in Uncharted Waters – featuring Karen Case, Jerome Fink, Adam Markman, and Chuck King – discussed the shifting dynamics in the capital markets and explored each panelists insight as to how to face the current deal landscape. Before lunch, attendees listened to A View from the Top which featured R. Scott Dennis and Jody Thornton. A key theme both men focused on was the importance of people, relationships, and teams in the industry, especially as a leader. Technical ability and industry knowledge is certainly crucial, they explained, but, as a leader, focusing on developing and investing in your people is paramount to success.


The keynote speaker at lunch was Jim Abbott, former MLB pitcher and Olympian, who gave a memorable speech about his personal experiences overcoming adversity. After lunch, Daniel Sullivan of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago gave an outlook of the U.S. economy and discussed the implications for monetary policy. The final presentation, Zero to Hero, featured panelists Norman Jemal, John Rutledge, and Eric Schultz, and moderator Michael Zelin. The panelists discussed projects they’ve worked on that included creatively rehabilitating historic property and how to contemplate the risks and returns involved.


The event closed out with a reception in the Frank Lloyd Wright room of the Mid-America club before attendees parted ways. Jack Gillett (BBA 2018), one of the students that attended the conference, was glad to have connected with current students, faculty, and alumni at the event. “The panels were fantastic and it was great being able to connect with lots of Real Estate Badgers. I’m excited to return to the conference for years to come as a proud alumnus,” Gillett said. The event embodied the collective spirit that defines Wisconsin Real Estate, and we’re looking forward to next year!


A special thanks to the following panelists and speakers who helped make the conference a success: Karen Case, Jerome Fink, Chuck King, Adam Markman, R. Scott Dennis, Jody Thornton, Jeff Bramson, Daniel G. Sullivan, Norman Jemal, John Rutledge, Eric Schultz, and Michael Zelin.

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Real Estate Club CEO Panel

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, Thursday, October 26, 2017

This past Thursday, October 19th the Real Estate Club hosted an impressive group of industry leaders – all of whom are CEOs or Presidents of their respective firms – to come speak at the second club meeting of the year. The panel was moderated by John S. Gates, CEO, PortaeCo, and featured Paul Zeller, CEO of Zeller Realty, Phil Hawkins, CEO of DCT, Chris Ludeman, President of CBRE Capital Markets, and Gregory Mutz, CEO of AMLI Residential.


The panelists had a breadth of knowledge and experience across the major property types, and were talking specifically about current and future trends in real estate. Major points of discussion included how autonomous vehicles will impact real estate, specifically talking about the repurposing of parking structures and public infrastructure, as well as the future of self-storage, technology for industrial properties, and technological amenities for multifamily apartment buildings. Speaking to a packed crowd of undergraduates and graduates, the combined expertise of the gentlemen was clear as they offered nuanced insight into the future.


After the meeting, the club members and panelists celebrated at Smitty’s Study Pub over beverages and hors d’oeuvres, before retiring to local watering holes on State Street for the night.


The next meeting will be on November 2nd and will feature Michael F. Gould of SilverCrest Properties. Please don’t hesitate to contact the club Co-Presidents Grady (gcapobianco@wisc.edu) and Fordy (jsgates@wisc.edu) with any questions about the club, and be sure to check out www.realestateclub.org for more information. 


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REC Trip to Dallas

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, Friday, October 20, 2017


Real Estate Club Co-Presidents Grady Capobianco (MBA ’18) and Fordy Gates (MBA ’18) had a tough choice to make in deciding where they would bring the club this semester. Lots of cities are still experiencing development and growth, but the Co-Presidents decided Dallas would be a unique destination with lots to offer. Thanks to the help of the generous Dallas alumni, Grady and Fordy were able to plan a memorable trip for the club. 


The trip began on Wednesday night with an alumni networking reception at The Rustic in Uptown Dallas, sponsored by Trammel Crow, Northwestern Mutual Life and WREAA.   Bright and early on Thursday morning students were provided with a market overview at the CBRE offices. CBRE brought the club up to speed on the Dallas market, particularly focusing on the dynamics of the local capital markets. After CBRE, the gang walked to the Trammel Crow offices for a visit of their headquarters as well as a tour of a brand-new development project. Around noon the club stopped for a lunch featuring delicious food trucks in Klyde Warren Park. The afternoon tours included a tour of the Dallas Cowboys practice facility and a tour of the Legacy West development.  


A dinner reception was hosted by WREAA at the modern American restaurant Stampede 66 in Downtown Dallas Lots of alumni came out to enjoy great food, drinks, and conversations with the current students. The Friday morning tours included a portfolio overview of Crow Holdings and a development tour with Sarofim Realty before the trip came to a close. Co-Presidents Grady and Fordy had the following to say: “The Wisconsin Real Estate Club trip to Dallas was spectacular. The group was able to meet with many local market experts and toured many of the impressive local projects that alumni are involved with. This trip would not have been made possible without WREAA and the strong and supportive Wisconsin Alumni. On behalf of the Wisconsin Real Estate Club, we thank you all for your amazing support.”  


Here’s to another successful Real Estate Club trip and we’re looking forward to next semester! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Grady (gcapobianco@wisc.edu) or Fordy (jsgates@wisc.edu) with any questions about the Real Estate Club. 


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A View from the Top

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing, Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Last week at the Wisconsin Real Estate Trends Conference, we were honored to have R. Scott Dennis, CEO of Invesco Real Estate, and Jody Thornton, Executive Managing Director of HFF, headline an impressive panel right before lunch. The session was moderated by Jeffrey Bramson, Senior Managing Director at HFF, and focused on the lessons Mr. Dennis and Mr. Thornton have learned throughout their distinguished careers as leaders in the industry.


Classmates and fellow graduates of the University of Texas at Austin, Mr. Dennis and Mr. Thornton have nearly 70 years of combined experience in commercial real estate, both having long tenures at their respective firms. They provided unique insights and outlooks for the future of institutional investment in real estate, specifically talking about the consolidation of money managers, impact of unfunded pension liabilities on the industry, and reduction in leverage amongst institutional investors. Their nuanced perspectives were well-received by the crowd, and prompted lots of questions towards the end of the session.


A key theme both men focused on was the importance of people, relationships, and teams in the industry, especially as a leader. Technical ability and industry knowledge is certainly crucial, they explained, but, as a leader, focusing on developing and investing in your people is paramount to success. Their message resonated with the Badgers and UW friends in the crowd, all of whom attended the conference to reconnect with former classmates or colleagues, create new relationships, and share in the collective spirit that embodies Wisconsin Real Estate.


We’d like to thank Mr. Dennis and Mr. Thornton for taking the time to share their wisdom and expertise and we hope to see them again soon!

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The WREAA 2017 Scholarship Recipients

Posted By Mandy Kaegy, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Inc., Thursday, May 4, 2017


The 2017 Dianne M. Orbison Scholarship Award

The Dianne M. Orbison Memorial Real Estate Scholarship Award fund was established by the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association thanks to the generous contributions of her family and so many classmates and friends of Dianne’s who expressed strong wishes to honor her memory as a loving person, good friend and strong leader.   Dianne is remembered for her collaborative approach in business, as a volunteer and advocate for the University of Wisconsin, and as a person who was a barrier breaker.  This scholarship award is intended to serve as an inspiration to undergraduates, graduate students and alumni of the real estate program as they pursue the fulfillment of their personal and career goals. The Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association is proud to continue the tradition of this important scholarship begun by Dianne, one of the many ways she found of "giving back". 


Criteria considered in making this scholarship award includes community service, enterprise management skills, leadership, curiosity, love of learning, sense of humor, common sense, and ability to rise to a challenge.  The scholarship is awarded to a female graduate or undergraduate real estate students.


The Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Scholarships


In addition to providing alumni and affiliate members with numerous networking, business development, and professional development opportunities, the WREAA also provides financial resources for student scholarships for the UW Madison Real Estate Program.  Generous donations made to the alumni association by dedicated alumni and friends make possible the allocation of funding for these scholarships. WREAA was able to provide one $5,000 Scholarship to a graduate student, and two $2,000 scholarships to undergraduate students in 2017.




The Stephen Malpezzi Tradition and Innovation Scholarship


The Tradition and Innovation Scholarship is awarded in recognition of the long-standing service and dedication of Real Estate Professor Stephen Malpezzi, who retired in 2016 from his teaching role at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Applicants for the $5,000 scholarship were asked to write an essay answering the question "How will the Wisconsin Tradition in Real Estate Education impact your approach to your career and life following graduation?"


Emmet Gaffney, (BBA 2018) is the 2017 the recipient of the Tradition and Innovation Scholarship. 




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Paying It Forward

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, BBA 2018, Wednesday, April 19, 2017


In this feature, Emmet Gaffney interviewed graduate student Jonathan Schwerin (MBA 2017) about himself and his participation in the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Mentor Program. For further information about the program contact Sharon McCabe.


Q: Where are you from?

A: Madison, WI


Q: What was your previous experience before coming to get your MBA and how did it lead you to deciding to major in real estate?

A: My previous career was as an equity analyst and securities trader for a boutique buy-side asset management company. I specifically worked on a Micro Cap fund (<$500MM market cap) as a generalist on the team. What I found is that I was expected to know so many different things about so many different sectors of investments, such as industrials, energy, consumer staples, healthcare, etc. and I didn’t truly understand the underlying fundamentals of each of those sectors. My attention was getting pulled in too many different directions to truly become an expert on any of those investments. So instead, I wanted to focus on one sector of investments and real estate is what interested me the most. Moreover, I wanted to shift away from the public equity side of things and into the private side where I would be able to create value on the inside of a company instead of sitting on the outside looking in to a company and betting on management teams to execute. I really wanted to gain more control of the process when it comes down to it.


Q: Did you have an internship last summer?

A: Yes, I worked at STRS Ohio in their San Francisco office over the summer as part of the acquisitions team. The bulk of my internship was spent working on a multifamily development deal in San Francisco where we partnered with a major California developer and our equity exposure was in the form of a letter of credit. The rest of my time was spent underwriting other potential investments. For example, I created an ARGUS model for a potential high street retail acquisition in Los Angeles, a shopping center in West Los Angeles, and an industrial property in Anaheim. The combined total value of those prospective investments was over $250MM.


Q: I noticed you’re a part of the Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Mentor Program program. Who’s your mentor?

A: Joel Behrens


Q: What influenced you to become a mentee?

A: I wanted to become a mentee for three reasons. First, I wanted to have somebody I could contact in the industry and ask all the basic questions I wouldn’t normally ask real estate professionals. Second, I wanted to have someone in the industry to bounce ideas off of, whether that was career related or market related. Lastly, I wanted to get some lessons learned from someone who was in my shoes just a few years ago.


Q: Have you met your mentor in person? If so, can you tell us about it?

A: Yes, Joel and I met when I was in Dallas for a ULI conference. Joel lives and works in Dallas and is a very prominent developer for Trammell Crow. He took me to a few of the projects he was working on while I was down there. It was great to see some of his projects and ask him questions on how everything came together. What was really cool to see was the different phases each project was in. For example, one of his projects was just getting out of the ground while another was nearing completion. We also talked at length about the Dallas market and the flood of people that were moving to the area.  

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Real Estate Club April Recap

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, BBA 2018, Wednesday, April 19, 2017


On Thursday, April 13th, Real Estate Club met at the Pyle Center overlooking the Lake Mendota sunset. Those in attendance enjoyed pizza, beverages, and conversations amongst faculty and students before the meeting finally got going. Alumnus Rob Korslin was on hand to speak to the Club. Mr. Korslin graduated from the UW with a BBA in 2011, then immediately moved on to complete an MBA, graduating in 2013. While at UW, Mr. Korslin was a tight end for the football team during his undergraduate years and a Real Estate Club President during his graduate years. Since completing his real estate education, Mr. Korslin has worked for Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and, most recently, KKR where he currently works doing private equity real estate.


During his time at KKR, Mr. Korslin has structured and negotiated myriad deals with a strong focus on midcap transaction sizes and under the radar opportunities located in gateway markets. The presentation was focused on structuring the financing of deals, specifically how the timing and predictability of cash flow determine financing success. KKR’s strategy is to buy complexity and sell simplicity. In illustrating his points, Mr. Korslin brought the group through a case study of an office building in Washington, DC. After the meeting, the group went over to the KK to enjoy a first-round on the club!


The next meeting will be on April 27th and will feature Mike Slavish of Madison-based Hovde Properties. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Emmet Gaffney or Ben Stevens with any questions about the club!

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2017 Scholarship Recipients Announced!

Posted By Mandy Kaegy, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Inc., Thursday, April 6, 2017

Congratulations to all of the recipients and many thanks to the dedicated alumni and friends who served on the scholarship committees!



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March Real Estate Club Recap

Posted By Emmet Gaffney, BBA 2018, Monday, April 3, 2017


This past Thursday, March 30th the Real Estate Club invited D.C. based developer Martin Ditto of Ditto Residential to come speak to the club. In just the past seven years, Ditto Residential has grown from just Mr. Ditto to 15 employees and has become one of D.C.’s best-known boutique developers, noted for partnerships with high-end architects and designers.


Many students arrive early to the Pyle Center to enjoy pizza, beer, and the company of their peers. Undergraduates and graduates mingled with each other and the speakers, before the meeting finally got underway. Co-Presidents Emmet Gaffney (BBA ’18) and Ben Stevens (MBA ’17) began by updating the club about the upcoming event about architecture and the bottom line, the upcoming “Pro-Form Off” competition, and the upcoming community service event at the UW-Madison Arboretum.


Mr. Ditto received his bachelor’s degree at Vanderbilt University then went on to pursue his master’s degree in real estate development at Johns Hopkins University. In autobiographical style, Mr. Ditto walked the students through the story of how his life experiences led him to becoming a real estate professional, with a particular emphasis on the qualities he believes are essential to his success in the industry. His firm is known to be one of the leaders in branding of real estate – many architects and designers brand themselves, he explained, though it’s much less common for real estate firms to do so. Though not an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Ditto exhibited the attention to detail and passion for the industry inherent in most real estate Badgers.


The next meeting will be on April 13th and will feature alumnus Rob Korslin of the New York based private equity firm KKR. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Emmet Gaffney or Ben Stevens with any questions about the club!


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