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Potential Leaders in Global Real Estate Should Have McDonough in Their B-School Sights

Benefactors of McDonough’s new Steers Global Real Estate Center

The new Steers Center for Global Real Estate at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, launched yesterday, promises to redefine the educational experience received by both undergraduate and graduate students preparing for leadership roles in global real estate, the school reports. Formerly known as the school’s Real Estate Finance Initiative, the Steers Center will offer students one-on-one career planning with professors and mentors, as well as experiential learning opportunities through the Real Estate Clinic and Real Estate Laboratory. Consulting projects and career treks will further expand the global nature of real estate opportunities at McDonough.

McDonough Dean David A. Thomas asserts that the new Steers Center will offer students “a transformative program that provides an opportunity to engage the world of real estate through a very practical approach.” He also expects the Steers Center to propel McDonough toward its goal of becoming the premier destination for global business education, he said in a statement.

The Steers Center was made possible thanks to a $5 million gift from McDonough alum Robert H. Steers, B ’75, and his wife, Lauren. It significantly upgrades its predecessor, the Real Estate Finance Initiative, which was established with a prior $5 million gift from the Steers. Steers is CEO of leading global investment manager Cohen & Steers.

As for why more money now, Steers was straightforward. “It was important to me to see Georgetown McDonough create a formal real estate center with the financing to be permanent and to think and plan strategically,” he said in a statement. With double the funding, Steers expects the new center to foster innovation and new strategies in the field “that prospective students and employers will look at and say ‘wow, that’s really something special,’” he added.

Professor Matthew Cypher will serve as director of the Steers Center for Global Real Estate, which will advance a well thought out real estate curriculum based on a student-centered approach in which all students meet individually with faculty, executives in residence and alumni mentors to tailor career plans reflecting their individual goals.

The Steers Center will apply a clinic-focused approach in which students get to try out what they’re learning before being on the job. McDonough’s Washington, DC, location is an incredible strength of the program, giving students the chance to cut their teeth in one of the most globally significant real estate markets. Already, through the Real Estate Clinic, MBA students have worked with Invesco to underwrite more than $1 billion in live real estate transactions. And through the Real Estate Laboratory, undergraduate and MBA students have full access to a building on Wisconsin Avenue by JOSS Realty Partners, where they have taken part in a range of projects, including building valuation, studying how to maximize parking revenue and redesigning the courtyard in partnership with architecture firms.

As part of Dean Thomas’ goal of McDonough rising to be the top destination for a global graduate management education, that the Steers Center will provide such global opportunities is also huge. MBA students will travel abroad to complete consulting projects focused on real estate, and they will also meet with global real estate employers around the world, as they did through a recent career trek to Bogota, Colombia.

“Through the Steers Center for Global Real Estate, we have married the academic excellence of the Georgetown University classroom with the applied experiences afforded by our location in the global Washington, DC, real estate community,” Cypher said in a statement. Cypher believes that this point of differentiation will set the Steers Center apart from similar real estate initiatives at other leading business schools, such as Columbia’s Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, Wharton’s Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center and Wisconsin’s James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. “No other program will be able to match our strengths in developing students to become leaders in the field of real estate,” Cypher asserts.

Learn more about the McDonough’s Steers Center for Global Real Estate.