Two new professors in the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program are bringing a unique combination of teaching and research excellence to Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management.
Aaron Hedlund comes to Krannert from the University of Missouri, where he was a tenured associate professor of economics. He is also a research fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and served as senior adviser and chief domestic economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2020-21. His research focuses primarily on the intersection of real estate, finance, and macroeconomics. He received his PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Duke University.
“I did my PhD in economics during the housing crisis between 2007 and 2009, so I’ve been focused on real estate since the beginning of my career in academia,” Hedlund says. “I find it to be a fascinating subject that impacts people's lives directly, as well as substantially affecting the rest of the economy. And now we’re seeing the housing market take center stage again, whether it’s Americans grappling with the ramifications of remote work or the Federal Reserve watching mortgage rates skyrocket as it seeks to engineer a soft landing from high inflation.”
Lindsay Relihan arrives at Krannert from the London School of Economics, where she was an assistant professor of real estate economics and finance. She is an applied microeconomist with interests in urban economics, household finance, and real estate. She graduated with a PhD in Applied Economics from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, in 2018.
Relihan was introduced to real estate through a faculty mentor during her time as an undergraduate at Wellesley College, which also coincided with the 2007-09 housing crisis. She next served as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C. for three years. “I moved on from there to my PhD studies, when I branched out to explore the future of cities and how consumer behavior shapes the spatial allocation of economic activity,” she says.
Hedlund and Relihan will help build the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program under the leadership of professor and program director Mike Eriksen. Among the courses they will teach is a required, introductory course, Real Estate Fundamentals (MGMT 37000), that will cover real estate terminology, roles in the industry, and tools used to make informed decisions. It will include a combination of lectures, projects, and guest speakers to help students decide whether a future career in real estate is right for them.
“We want the fundamentals course to be something that broadens students’ appetite for continuing in the program,” Relihan says. “We would like them to get a good grasp of the important, broad economic forces that shape different property markets and how those property markets intersect. We would also love for students to get a sense of how interesting and fascinating real estate is so they want to dive deeper into the topics.”
“We’re providing students with something unique,” Hedlund says. “The advantage of starting a program like this is that we can look at best practices from across some of the top real estate departments throughout the country, borrow from them, discard the things that don't work as well, and innovate and create things that work even better. It’s a great opportunity to develop a well-rounded curriculum that gives students the necessary, specific real estate knowledge, along with the broader tools, to provide unique insights to whichever employers they work for.”
To that end, Relihan plans to incorporate research into the classroom. “My research and other current research inform the topics I like to teach,” she says. “I think I can bring a lot of expertise in data science for real estate. There's so much new data coming online to study both residential and commercial markets, and data science skills are widely applicable in today's job fields and are becoming a necessary part of finance and real estate.”
Another focus will be experiential learning, Hedlund says. “There's a place for traditional lectures and notes, textbooks, and online materials to give people the raw baseline of skills and tools,” he says. “But that learning is going to sink in in a much more profound and practical manner if we also do case studies, connect students with internships, and give them a sense of what they'll actually be doing in their careers.”