New Real Estate Asset Program launches at Marquette

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Marquette has recently launched its new real estate asset program

The College of Business Administration is now accepting applications for the first year of the Real Estate Asset Program. REAP is a program available for juniors majoring in real estate to allow students to get hands-on experience in the field of real estate.

This hands on experience comes from students monitoring properties around the nation, creating quarterly reports and proposing making sales and purchases to a group of investors. The purchases are made with real money thanks to the investors that have committed capital to the program.

REAP at Marquette is the first undergraduate program in the nation to offer this experience. Students work with a group of investors to assess management on real properties. 

Vito Taphorn, instructor for practice finance and director of REAP, offers insight on the program.

“It’s going to provide a great learning experience for the students,” Taphorn said. “Not only will they have the opportunity to see transactions occur, they will get the feel of presenting to an investment committee.” 

The investment committee consists mostly of Center for Real Estate Advisory board members. Board members are alumni or have affiliations through the university with their children or other family.  

This gives students a real feel of going up to a group of investors and pitching an idea and working with the board, said Andy Hunt, director for the Center of Real Estate.

“When students go to these meetings and pitch deals, they talk about what would be a good investment, and they [the board] ask really tough questions. Then they determine as a group the next step.” Hunt said.

In the business of business, it is important to be sharp on knowledge Hunt said. Students learn quickly what deals work and what doesn’t in real world business environment. 

Taphorn and Hunt are working on the process of setting the program up for the spring and are looking for applications from students now. 

Students who are a part of REAP will take specialized classes on the program. Beginning the second semester of junior year, accepted applicants will take REAP 1, then into senior year they will take REAP 2 and 3. REAP 1 focuses on numbers and making predictions in the market, while REAP 2 does more in-person reviews. While REAP 3 ties it all together. 

“We anticipate the seniors being a part of REAP assisting the juniors in passing off their portfolio, reporting responsibilities and mentoring that new group of REAP students,” Taphorn said. 

Hunt said there are about 150 students in the real estate major. The major was introduced in 2004 and has received national recognition. Real estate majors make up about 10% of the business college.

Catherine Botchek, a senior in the College of Business Administration, said she enjoys her experience as a real estate major.

“The program is very hands-on, obviously there are our core classes … but a lot of it encompasses having guest speakers come in, looking at real deals so we can get a look at what the real estate world is like,” Botchek said. 

Botchek recognizes the strong connection between Marquette and it’s alumni and praises the program.

“It’s a nationally ranked program for a reason and I’m excited to see how REAP makes it stronger,” Botchek said. “One of the reasons why it’s so strong is our alumni network, always willing to give back and come to speak to students.”

Since this is a new program, Botchek is unable to apply as it is only for juniors. Annie McDonough, a junior in the College of Business Administration, plans on applying. 

“As a student majoring in Real Estate Finance, I think it is going to bring a lot of talent and a lot of people who are interested in real estate to Marquette.” McDonough said. 

McDonough recognizes the work Taphorn and Hunt have put into this program and looks forward to working with them. 

“Taphorn and Hunt obviously know alot and have been in the industry for years. I’m really excited to work with them and begin the opportunity and see what happens with it,” McDonough said. 

Hunt explains the work that has been put together by he and Vito, and how long this has been in the waiting. 

“We spent the last two years figuring out what is the best way to do this. And creating this [program] where it doesn’t exist at any other undergraduate level has been a challenge,” Hunt said.

McDonough encourages underclassmen who are interested to get in touch with Taphorn and Hunt as quickly as possible. She also encourages students to reach out to the accepted applicants and ask questions. 

“I know if I were a sophomore I would want to know how it’s going and ask questions,” McDonough said, “they would offer good insight because they are the ones actually going through it.” 

Taphorn said he is excited and can’t wait for the spring semester when it will all get started.

“It’s a lot going on right now, but it’s really exciting. We have seen great interest from those that are available to apply. And we think the program is going to be a great success,” Taphorn said. 

This story was written by Connor Baldwin. He can be reached at connor.baldwin@marquette.edu