UVM Business School Hosts Real Estate Forum

On Friday, October 7th the School of Business Administration hosted its first Real Estate Forum. The forum was comprised of UVM alumni and friends from around the country. There were two sessions, a morning and an afternoon, with a luncheon reception in between. Each session contained three different lectures, of which students and faculty were allowed to choose the most interesting and applicable. The morning session lectures were Residential Real Estate and Appraisals, Commercial Development, and Industrial Real Estate. The afternoon sessions featured Redevelopment, Real Estate Company Ownership and Management, and Investments and Finance. Panelists (successful UVM alums) shared their perspectives on a variety of careers in real estate. The panelists had undergraduate degrees in a variety of fields including: Archeology, English, Engineering, Political Science, and Business Administration. Panelists talked for approximately ten minutes, and discussed how they built their careers, factors contributing to their success, potential entry-level opportunities for new graduates, and how life at UVM contributed to their success. I attended the Industrial Read Estate session in the morning, and unfortunately missed the afternoon meetings because I had classes during that time. Each of the four panelists that spoke during the Industrial panel maintained a Political Science major while at UVM, and noted that taking more Business classes would have benefited their current situation. Particularly, accounting and finance classes would have helped them “crunch numbers” and “understand the financial fundamentals of land speculation.” An interesting topic discussed was the overwhelming impact that globalization has had on Industrial Development: the price of raw materials, the sources of labor and goods has significantly restructured over the past several years. Globalization has created a more competitive market and decreased developers’ profit margins. The cheaper raw materials like steel (shipped from around the country and around the world) signify that building prices have decreased, and the overall cost of erecting an industrial building has also fallen. Another interesting topic was the role of environmental regulation within Vermont. Vermont, like other states in New England, upholds strict policies and rules about appropriate building procedures and insinuating environmental impact. The panelists noted that such regulations inhibit development, but (more importantly) prove overwhelmingly costly to landowners. Environmentally destructive minerals or toxins in soil are the landowners’ responsibility to clean up. Even if the landowner was not accountable for putting the destructive materials in the earth in the first place, they are legally liable to pay enormous sums of money to clean the area. Especially to students interested in pursuing a career in real estate, this forum proved exceedingly informative and provided pertinent advice to students about how to approach the pursuit of employment in real estate. All faculty involved stressed their hopes of repeating the forum next year, and ultimately making gatherings of students, faculty, and alumni an annual tradition.