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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark RiedyMark Riedy, PhD

For reasons to be explained momentarily, I would like you to let me know personally if one of your children a) graduated from USD, b) is a current USD student and if so, whether undergraduate or graduate, or c) is likely to apply to USD within the next two years. It occurred to me that among the thousands of real estate and related executives reading this newsletter and supporting our activities, a sizable number might have children whose education was, is or will be at USD. Irrespective of your child’s field of study, please let me know if he or she (or more than one child) fits categories a, b or c.

Bowling TournamentIn part, my interest is simple curiosity, however it’s also part of the fabric of the relationship we enjoy at a personal and/or professional level with you. Once I receive your responses it might make sense to reach out to those who respond for additional information if it seems useful and potentially could increase our benefits to you and/or your children. We will not publish names, nor will we ask for contact information for your child(ren). 

What raised the inquiry was a phone call I received a few days ago. The top-ranked San Diego-based executive of a major commercial real estate firm―purposely kept vague for privacy reasons―called to give us the great news that his son had been accepted by USD and would become a freshman next fall. We had met the student, given him a campus tour and were impressed by his winning personality. We, and the dad, are equally thrilled with the son’s decision to attend USD. 

I’ve said this previously, but it bears repeating, one of our greatest satisfactions is helping people―past, present and future students, among others―one person at a time.

It’s a good feeling when we watch a group of 25 MSRE or undergraduate students “walk” at graduation, for example, but it’s much more satisfying to know we did something special for each individual at the personal level. It might have been the personalized campus tour that persuaded a student to enroll at USD or the mentor we provided who opened doors as well as a student’s mind to a career in real estate. Perhaps the Alumni Association bowling event we hold each year, scheduled for June 12 this year, re-kindled an old relationship or launched a new one. Or, it might have been the job posting we forwarded to alums we thought might be interested in a specific opportunity, and in so doing, enhanced their careers.

Analogies abound, everyone gains satisfaction in their own way. For a homebuilder, it could be the neighborhood approval of a project that is the highlight of a job. For another, it’s the joy of meeting the first/last/tenth family to move into their new home. For a commercial broker, it could be a creative deal structure, while for another, it is selling an eyesore to a non-profit to turn it into a renovated shelter, providing safety and a house address for women in need.

For one of our faculty members, it might be highly satisfying to meet with the entire MSRE team that recently won the international ARGUS Software Challenge and congratulate them heartily. For another, it might be approaching each team member individually to compliment their unique contribution to the team victory and watch them glow. For Burnham-Moores Center faculty and staff, we take great satisfaction in seeing many of our students awarded scholarships from funds we have helped generate. More rewarding still is the looks on the faces of the young men and women when you are privileged to inform them of their scholarship award.

It takes more time to reflect and act on individual achievements and invest time in actions that lead directly to benefits to individuals than it does to focus on group achievements. But for my colleagues and me, and I suspect for most readers of this newsletter, the rewards of taking the extra time are substantially greater. Learning about your children and their relationship to USD gives us the ability to enhance the value of our one-on-one relationship with them. If this “census” yields benefits in the long run, your response and cooperation will have helped someone special to you, individually, and hopefully bring new joy to your life, to theirs and to ours.

Mark J. Riedy, PhD
Executive Director

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MSRE Team Wins First Place in International ARGUS University Challenge

USD’s winning 2014 ARGUS Software University Challenge team (from left to right) Omar El-Mofty, William Bettencourt, Victor Alfonso, Benjamin Murray and Jon Mesa.

A team of five University of San Diego Master of Science in Real Estate students took first place in the 2014 ARGUS Software University Challenge. This is the third time USD placed first; the other two years the competition was held, USD’s team placed second.

The ARGUS Software University Challenge is an international competition that gives students the unique opportunity to analyze comprehensive and complicated real estate issues. This year’s ARGUS competition challenged each team to complete a case study titled, “Bayougoula: The Hunger Game of Thrones.” The USD team prepared a report for the owner of a portfolio of real estate, recommending the best course of action for the real estate properties. The portfolio included an apartment complex, an office building and a retail center in the downtown area of the fictitious town, Bayougoula.

MSRE Program DeadlinesThe team comprised of Victor Alfonso, William Bettencourt, Omar El-Mofty, Jon Mesa and Benjamin Murray, with guidance from Charles Tu, PhD, academic director of the MSRE program.

“This was an extremely difficult challenge that the entire team was completely committed to from day one,” said team member Victor Alfonso. “We were proud to represent USD and thankful for the opportunity to showcase our knowledge and experience.”

The USD team prevailed over 15 other teams from across the U.S and around the world. Teams participating in the competition included: University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Chicago, New York University, Indiana University, The Pennsylvania State University, American University, Louisiana State University, Florida International University, Saint Joseph’s University, College of Charleston, Fordham University, Covenant University in Nigeria and, last year’s successor, York University in Canada.

“We are thrilled to see our students take first-place once again in this competition,” said Professor Tu. “The students applied many aspects of the MSRE program in analyzing the case and formulating their recommendation.”

The team will be awarded $8,000 for their victory. 

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Real Estate Student Selected as SBA’s 2014 Valedictorian

Jonathan Fuller

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate’s most recent Daniel B. Woodruff Memorial Scholarship recipient, Jonathan Fuller, was recently selected as the School of Business Administration’s 2014 Valedictorian. Fuller will be speaking at the School of Business Administration’s undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 25 in the Jenny Craig Pavilion, on campus.

Fuller was unanimously selected as the Fall 2013 recipient of the Woodruff Scholarship by the Burnham-Moores Center’s faculty and staff. At the Center’s 18th Annual Real Estate Conference, he addressed an audience of more than 700 attendees. During the introduction to Fuller’s speech at the conference, Executive Director Mark Riedy, PhD, described Fuller as a “personable and hardworking young man with a demonstrable passion for real estate.”

In the last two years, Fuller held five internships, primarily in commercial real estate, served as president of the Real Estate Society for two years and represented USD at NAIOP San Diego’s Fourth Annual University Challenge case competition. Fuller will graduate with a double major in real estate and finance. He earned top academic honors at USD with a 3.99 grade point average.

 “I am honored to be selected as the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration’s 2014 Valedictorian,” said Fuller. “I believe this award is a tribute to the incredible faculty and staff at the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate as well as the broader School of Business Administration. After graduating, I plan to commence a successful career in commercial real estate.”

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USD Team Participates in NAIOP’s Annual University Challenge

(From left to right) Jonathan Fuller, Maclain Caldwell, Michael Bosco, Kelsey Rooney, Katerina Tisch and Dan Leon at NAIOP San Diego’s Fourth Annual University Challenge case competition.

On April 24-25, a team of USD undergraduate students took part in NAIOP San Diego’s Fourth Annual University Challenge case competition, held at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar. USD’s team included: Michael Bosco, Maclain Caldwell, Jonathan Fuller, Dan Leon, Kelsey Rooney and Katerina Tisch. Professor Charles Tu, PhD, served as faculty adviser to the team.

USD competed against the University of California-San Diego and San Diego State University. Students were asked to provide their recommendations on the highest and best use for the U.S. Postal Service-Midway Distribution and Processing Facility, located at 2535 Midway Drive, in the Midway/Pacific Highway district of the greater Point Loma area. Each team was required to submit a written report of their findings, attend a Q&A session before a panel of judges and make a formal presentation to a room full of NAIOP members at the Del Mar Marriott; each area constituting one-third of their final score.

The USD team proposed a mixed-use project, comprising of 400-unit garden style apartments in conjunction with a 142,000 square foot office project, bifurcated by a green street. The team utilized creative financing to fund the project.

“The NAIOP competition was a great opportunity to learn about the real life application of the development process,” said team member Kelsey Rooney. “It allowed us to apply what we study outside of the classroom and gave us a chance to showcase our original ideas before a panel of judges and a few hundred members of the NAIOP San Diego Chapter. Our team will never forget this experience.”

View photos from the team’s formal presentation.

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Real Estate Alumni Association Scholarship Recipients Selected

Undergraduate student Jeff Lefko and MSRE graduate student Gregor Connors were recently selected as the two USD Real Estate Alumni Association (REAA) Scholarship recipients for Spring 2014. To qualify for the scholarship, students are required to meet the following criteria: be a current MSRE or undergraduate business student with an emphasis in real estate; be enrolled in a minimum of six units; and have a GPA of 3.3 or higher. To apply, students are required to submit the following: a resume or short biographical profile; a one-page essay on the importance of staying connected to USD real estate classmates after graduation; and their unofficial transcripts for all college courses.

“Winning this scholarship means a lot to me because it reaffirms my passion for commercial real estate and will help me get a jump start on my career,” said Lefko. “I am so lucky to be a part of the real estate program at USD; it is unmatched by any other school in the country. All of the advisors, professors and alumni at the BMC have worked hard to help me further my experience in the real estate industry.”

The funds for the alumni scholarships are raised each year at REAA’s Annual Bowling Tournament and Scholarship Fundraiser as well as from generous contributions from alumni and the real estate community. The scholarship recipients are selected each year by REAA’s board members. Help us raise scholarship funds for USD real estate students by joining us at this year’s bowling tournament on June 12. If you would like to contribute directly to the REAA Scholarship fund, please mail your donation and reference “REAA Scholarship” to:

Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate
University of San Diego
Attn: Mark J. Riedy, PhD
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, Calif. 92110

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Fifth Volume of Journal of Sustainable Real Estate Published

JOSREThe fifth volume of the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate is now available online. The journal is produced by the Burnham-Moores Center under the auspices of the American Real Estate Society, with funding by the CoStar Group.

Papers included in Vol. 5 include:

  • “The Relationship between the Occupation of Residential Green Buildings and Pro-environmental Behavior and Beliefs”
  •  “LEED and Energy Efficiency: Do Owners Game the System?”
  • “The Feasibility of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Residential Buildings”
  •  “Impact of Energy and Environmental Factors in the Decision to Purchase or Rent an Apartment: The Case of Sweden”
  •  “The Operating Expense Puzzle of U.S. Green Office Buildings”
  • “Willingness to Pay for Green Buildings: Empirical Evidence from Switzerland”
  •  “The Green Building Technology Model: An Approach to Understanding the Adoption of Green Office Buildings”
  • “The Effect of Sustainability Features on Mortgage Default Prediction and Risk in Multifamily Rental Housing”
  •  “Does Greater Energy Performance have an Impact on Real Estate Revenues?
  •  “Transpired Solar Air Collectors: An Energy Efficient Technology for” Commercial Builders” and
  •  “Investigating Deep Retrofits for Toronto’s Financial District Office Towers.”

Norm Miller, PhD, is editor of the journal; Myla Wilson, formerly of the Burnham-Moores Center, is managing editor. Miller also is assisted by three associate editors: Nico B. Rottke, PhD, European Business School; Robert Simons, PhD, Cleveland State University; and Kwame Addae-Dapaah, PhD, National University of Singapore. The journal has an advisory board of roughly 30 leaders from academia, business and nonprofit institutions. An editorial board of approximately 20 university scholars and private-sector experts also guides the publication.

Journal editors are now seeking papers for the sixth volume. Authors are encouraged to submit original research that can help investors, developers, appraisers, lenders, asset managers, elected government officials and land use regulators improve their strategies, decision-making and understanding of the impact of property values and environmental factors, and how these relate to sustainable real estate practices. The submission deadline is June 1, 2014.

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Annual BMC Day at Petco Park a Hit

Petco Park event
Center Policy Advisory Board members, students and alumni took a break from networking at the game for a quick photo at the Eighth Annual BMC Day at Petco Park on May 6.

On May 6, the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate held its Eighth Annual BMC Day at Petco Park. Burnham-Moores Center Policy Advisory Board members, real estate alumni, undergraduate and graduate students, and BMC faculty and staff came to network, eat and watch the game in the private Skyline Patio area above third base. Even the high winds and cold temperatures couldn’t keep the group of BMC supporters away; more than 80 people attended. Unfortunately, during the eleventh inning, the San Diego Padres were defeated by the Kansas City Royals 1-3.

View photos from the game.

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MSRE Students Present Redevelopment Plans to Judges and USD Administrators

MSRE Presentations
A team of MSRE students share their redevelopment plans to industry executives and
high-level university guests on April 26.

On April 26, Master of Science in Real Estate students in Professor Sherm Harmer’s “Real Estate Development” class presented their redevelopment plans to a panel of industry judges, high-level university administrators and guests, including USD Trustee Ann Navarra. The teams offered redevelopment options for the Morena District adjacent to the University of San Diego campus. The judges included: Ian Gill, Highland Partnership, Inc.; Jerry and Mark Navarra, Morena Business Association; Sam Patella, Urban Commercial Real Estate; and Jacob Schwartz, Urban Housing Partners.

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MSRE Student Attends RERI Conference on a Grant

Sean Murphy
Sean Murphy

Master of Science in Real Estate student Sean Murphy was the first USD student to receive a grant to attend the annual Real Estate Research Institute (RERI) Conference at DePaul University in Chicago from April 29-30. The conference brings together top researchers in academic and commercial real estate from across the U.S.

Professor Norm Miller nominated Murphy for the grant. Each year, RERI selects approximately ten students to attend the conference for free. Student attendees are reimbursed up to $1,000 for travel expenses incurred. RERI is highly selective in choosing advanced masters or doctoral candidates who are interested in increasing their understanding of real estate research issues and building a network within the real estate research community.

Murphy watched conference attendees present papers at various phases of completion over the day and a half of lectures. Topics ranged from frameworks examining how leverage is determined in commercial real estate to ratings changes for commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS).

“There were a couple notable takeaways from the conference,” said Murphy. “The first is very much a testament to the caliber of faculty we have at the Burnham-Moores Center, namely Dr. Norm Miller. Multiple attendees approached me praising USD, the quality of the program and our faculty’s impact on the industry. Another takeaway would be ‘what is the policy implication?’ There are highly intelligent people researching a myriad of topics, but if there is no relevance to the topic being researched, you will lose your audience quickly.”

Murphy stated that the conference provided exposure to many quality ideas and the rigorous processes required to vet them. He engaged with peers and practitioners from across the country who were happy to share their expertise with him.

Murphy concluded, “I'm fortunate to have attended this conference and I'm grateful that RERI, Dr. Norm Miller and the BMC facilitated my attendance.”

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Real Estate Society Learns About CBRE Career Paths

Real Estate Society
(From left to right) Melissa Foster, John Bruno and Natalie Dahl ’01 (BBA) of CBRE speak to the Real Estate Society on April 24.

On April 24, the USD Real Estate Society meeting featured a panel of three CBRE employees from various roles within the company’s capital markets department: USD alum Natalie Dahl ’01 (BBA), vice president of capital markets; John Bruno, analyst; and Melissa Foster, investment sales broker. Dahl offered the students a thorough understanding of the company and elaborated on the capital markets department. The panel explained a typical day in each of their positions, discussed potential career paths and how each landed his/her position at CBRE. They wrapped up the discussion with some helpful career advice, including: the importance of informational interviews and internships; salary expectations for an entry-level position at CBRE; skills needed to be successful in their positions; and career advancement tips.

The new Real Estate Society Executive Board for the 2014-15 academic year was announced at the meeting. Congratulations to chair Abdullah Al-lbrahim and co-chair Amanda White. A survey was taken to determine topics of greatest interest to the students for future meetings. If you would like to offer future topic ideas or suggest a speaker, please contact Mandelin Meehling, student and alumni services manager at the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate.

The USD Real Estate Society is a 200-plus member student organization that provides resources and information to undergraduate students interested in studying and pursuing careers in real estate. Meetings are held once a month during the academic year and feature real estate professionals who share their industry experience and insight with the students.

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Is Your Resume Six Second Worthy?

By Mandelin Meehling, Student and Alumni Services Manager

Mandelin Meehling
Mandelin Meehling

On average, an employer spends six seconds reviewing a resume. Therefore, it’s critical to have a stellar resume to make it into the “yes” pile. Below is a list of some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” when writing professional resumes.


  1. Lead descriptions with action verbs.
  2. Use professional, traditional fonts (e.g., Arial, Times New Roman or Garamond).
  3. Emphasize categories and important topics by using underline, bold and italics.
  4. Use a professional and conservative email address.  
  5. Keep the resume to one page.
  6. Customize resume to specific industry, career stage and personal brand.
  7. Include results-oriented statements and quantifiable data.
  8. Avoid paragraphs and use bullet points.
  9. Balance white space and content. Too much content makes it difficult to find specific information.
  10. Understand the difference between chronological and functional resumes and which type would be appropriate to use. A chronological resume starts by listing work history with the most recent position listed first. Jobs are listed in reverse chronological order or most recent job, first. Education, skills and other information are listed after experience. A functional resume focuses on an individual’s skills and experience, rather than on their chronological work history. It is used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.


  1. Have typos or grammatical mistakes.
  2. Multiple pages. Two page resumes are only acceptable if one has 10+ years’ experience in the field, additional education, certifications, professional associations, research publications or leadership roles on professional boards, otherwise, keep it to one page.
  3. Use personal pronouns, abbreviations or acronyms.
  4. Add pictures or other graphics.
  5. List references on your resume.
  6. Include everything and anything you have ever done.
  7. List personal information (e.g., age, race, ethnicity, marital status).
  8. Exaggerate job titles, accomplishments or anything else. Everything should be verifiable or you lose credibility.
  9. Use expressions like “Duties included,” “Responsibilities included,” or “Responsible for.” Those are job-description language. Instead, use accomplishments-oriented resume language that sells. For example, use “Implemented new marketing strategy for local investment group which helped facilitate the sale of 110 properties for $500 million in 2009.”
  10. Forget to proofread.

For more information about writing a professional resume, visit the websites listed below:

Forbes - 10 Resumes Don’ts
CAREEREALISM – 6 Eye-Tracking Secrets That Will Get Your Resume Read
USA TODAY – 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Building a Winning Resume
Glassdoor – 5 Common Resume Mistakes and How to Fix Them

If you wish to make an appointment with Meehling to discuss your resume, please contact her at

Each month, Mandelin Meehling, student and alumni services manager at the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate, offers career advice and tips for students, alumni and job seekers in the real estate industry.

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Alumni Matters

Alexandra Bryant ’04 (BBA)

Alexandra Bryant ’04 (BBA) spoke before a delegation of over 400 Chinese investors at the SelectUSA Pearl River Roadshow, held in Guangzhou, China. Her presentation focused on the U.S. real estate market. Bryant is a director with the Jones Lang LaSalle Capital Markets business in China, and focuses on investments in Northern China, retail investments across China as well as Chinese outbound investments. After graduating from USD with an emphasis in real estate and finance, Bryant accepted a position within Jones Lang LaSalle’s European Capital Markets business based in London. She worked across a number of markets in Europe before transitioning to Asia and has been involved in transactions in excess of $2 billion over the past nine years.

Alumni News
If you are a USD alum working in the real estate industry, we would like to hear from you. Please e-mail Mandelin Meehling with recent and significant career-related achievements and initiatives. All submissions will be considered for publication.


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USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators

Alan Gin
Alan Gin, PhD

Alan Gin, PhD, associate professor of economics at USD, has compiled the “USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County” for the Burnham-Moores Center since January 2002. Gin is a popular resource for information and analyses and has given over 1,000 interviews to local and national media sources since 2002. The Index is a highly regarded report which offers an outlook for the local economy. The report is usually published monthly. Gin’s most recent Index report can be found on his website.

To schedule a media interview with Gin, please contact Kimberly Malasky at (619) 260-4786.

Back to TopIn the News

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, and associate professor Alan Gin, PhD, were included in the April 18, April 25, May 2 and May 8 editions of U-T San Diego’s “EconoMeter”.

An opinion piece on income inequality by Executive Scholar Kevin Villani, PhD, was published in the U-T San Diego April 24.

An article on USD’s MSRE team winning first place in the international ARGUS Software Competition appeared in The Daily Transcript April 28.

An article on NAIOP San Diego’s Fourth Annual University Challenge, which included a undergraduate real estate team from USD, appeared in The Daily Transcript April 29.

Norm Miller, PhD, was quoted in an April 30 Daily Transcript article after participating in a roundtable discussion on the local maritime industry and strides that need to be made to encourage new maritime businesses.

Media and Speaking Engagement Inquiries
The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate is proud to connect our world-class faculty and executive team with the media and the community to discuss a wide range of real estate related industry topics. To request an interview or speaking engagement, contact Kimberly Malasky at (619) 260-4786.

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Real Estate Alumni Association’s Annual Bowling Tournament and Scholarship Fundraiser

Join the USD Real Estate Alumni Association for its annual bowling tournament fundraiser. Net proceeds support real estate scholarships.


Time: 6 - 9 p.m.
Location: East Village Tavern and Bowl, 930 Market St., San Diego, CA 92101
Cost: $50 per player. Includes bowling, shoe rental, appetizers and two drink tickets.


Register for the tournament.


Sponsorships are needed for this tournament. For sponsorship opportunities or for more information, contact Mandelin Meehling at (619) 260-7619.


If you are unable to make the tournament, please consider a donation to the REAA Scholarship fund. Please mail your donation and reference “REAA Scholarship” to:


Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate
University of San Diego
Attn: Mark J. Riedy, PhD
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, Calif. 92110

TUESDay, JULY 15, 2015

Application Deadline for Fall 2014 MSRE Program

Apply or refer friends and colleagues now.


For more information, contact Ines Kraft, PhD at (619) 260-4150.


Mid-Year Economic Update Conference

Time: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. breakfast, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. program
Location: University of San Diego, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110
Speakers: Mark Fleming, PhD, chief economist of CoreLogic and Alan Gin, PhD, associate professor of economics, University of San Diego
Cost: $65 per person, includes registration fee and breakfast


Register for the conference.


To sponsor this conference, contact Diane Ice at (619) 260-2379.

WEDNESDay, NOV. 5, 2014

Fourth Annual Women in Real Estate Conference – SAVE THE DATE

Time: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. breakfast, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. program
Location: University of San Diego, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110

Keynote: Jean Kane, chief executive officer, Welsh & Colliers International and executive chairman of national NAIOP


For sponsorship opportunities or for more information, contact Kimberly Malasky at (619) 260-4786.

Back to TopContinuing Education Courses and Seminars


Development Feasibility



The Real Estate Process