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Opening Doors - Graduates of real estate finance program build meaningful careers

Real estate, with its capacity to shape urban landscapes, provide housing solutions and catalyze economic growth, has the potential to transform communities worldwide. The Daniels School’s answer to this growing opportunity, the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program, is celebrating the successes of its first graduating class.

“The fun part of real estate is changing the world where we live and knowing that you’re going to change it for the better.” — Mike Eriksen, director of the Daniels School’s Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program and a professor of economics

Mike Eriksen, director of the Dean V. White Real Estate Finance Program, sees the real estate program and opportunities it provides as a powerful way for graduates to shape the society we live in.

“The fun part of real estate is changing the world where we live and knowing that you’re going to change it for the better,” he says. “We have the unique opportunity to leave our imprint on the world, and whether it’s developing affordable housing, making a workplace more productive, or building parks, we get to make people happier, healthier and more productive.”

The program, which launched in April 2022, includes two 18-credit minors: a Real Estate Finance minor for students in business-related majors and a Real Estate minor for students in non-business majors. The first graduates from both of these innovative minors walked the stage in May 2023.

Reid Coyle
Finance major Reid Coyle added a Real Estate Finance minor to increase his technical industry skills.

One of these exemplary graduates is Reid Coyle, a finance major who added a Real Estate Finance minor to increase his technical industry skills. Since graduation, Coyle has worked in Chicago as a Rotational Associate at Nuveen, a leading global asset management firm and subsidiary of financial planning firm TIAA. Coyle completed his first rotation on the Wealth Advisory Services team in February 2024, where he tracked merger and acquisition activity, and started his second rotation on the Municipal Client Portfolio Management team, where he will remain for eight months. After a forthcoming third rotation, he will receive a permanent placement with the company.

Fellow finance graduate David Figueroa is using his Real Estate Finance minor in New York City at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Corporate Finance LLC, where he advises his corporate clients on transactions like mergers and acquisitions and debt capital raises.

He attributes his success in part to the Real Estate Finance minor and the opportunities offered by the real estate finance program. “Students should take advantage of opportunities like real estate case competitions and networking events, as both of these will help you develop important communication and relationship-building skills,” he says. “Having a strong background in these areas will open up a tremendous number of opportunities for you in the working world.”

Students from both business and non-business backgrounds can reap the benefits of a real estate education. Andrew Kiama, a graduate of Purdue’s civil engineering program, used his Real Estate minor to land a job in Washington D.C. as a project engineer at Skanska, one of the largest global construction firms, where he researched construction market trends for the business development team, reviewed subcontractor contracts and prepared technical reports for project proposal bids. “My experience in the Real Estate minor at Purdue was nothing short of meaningful,” Kiama says. “As a civil engineering graduate, it was a welcome breath of fresh air to learn about all that goes into real estate development before any pencils touch engineering paper.”

This is precisely where the real estate program shines. By providing the business context for real estate and engineering practices, non-business majors can expand their industry knowledge and increase their value as a job candidate. “I was able to graduate as a much more well-rounded engineer who understands both the financial and physical development of a construction project,” says Kiama.

The dynamic field of real estate influences many aspects of business, from physical expansion and construction to employee satisfaction, production, and responses to industry disruptions. With a robust education in real estate practices, these new graduates are equipped to understand and influence one of the corporate world’s most impactful sectors and with it the lives of those around them.