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Letter from the Executive Director

Mark RiedyMark Riedy, PhD

At a May 22 meeting of the Center’s Policy Advisory Board Executive Committee, USD’s Dean of the School of Business Administration, David Pyke, expressed his strong endorsement of the Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) degree program. “It’s a superb program with a faculty second to none,” said Pyke. “Industry involvement in the program and their interaction with our students one-on-one is terrific. Rather than having one cohort of 20-25 students, the industry should be sending 50 our way and we should have two cohorts, not just one. We’re that good.”

Mid-Year Economic UpdateReal estate professionals thrive on challenges, so my message this month is to encourage you to help us meet Dean Pyke’s challenge—not to reach two cohorts of 25 MSRE students in 2014 or even 2015-2016. Rather, think about how valuable USD’s MSRE degree is in enhancing careers, developing new skills and broadening perspectives and business networks. Think about the value of the degree to one of our MSRE alumni, Bob Brittingham, who I spoke with recently at the Real Estate Alumni Association’s bowling fundraiser, who offered this comment about his personal experience: Every real estate firm I visit in San Diego has at least one MSRE alum. I love how our network is expanding!,” said Brittingham. Think about investing in yourself… your key employees… your children… even your grandchildren (no kidding—one BMC stakeholder has two grandchildren who have earned their MSRE degrees).

Think about referrals. Everyone in real estate—without hesitation—knows one or more individuals whose careers would benefit dramatically if they completed a graduate degree in real estate. Send me names, if you will, and we will follow-up ourselves to reinforce your endorsement of USD’s MSRE degree. We are all about contributing to professionalism in the real estate industry. We cherish quality over quantity. Our MSRE teams that compete annually in the ARGUS University Software Challenge consistently outperform every university-based competitor in America.

Our MSRE alumni offer great reviews of their experience in and the value of their graduate education at USD. The ROI is excellent. The MSRE program is an investment whose benefits are everlasting. With your referrals and your investment in yourself, employees, colleagues and family members, you not only change their lives for the better, but also contribute to the advancement of the real estate profession. If your mind draws a blank on whom to refer or whom to invest in, consider providing a scholarship donation to further support and advance real estate recruitment, education and careers. Providing scholarships for unknown others is the ultimate “gift” you can offer to another.

Here are just a few recent testimonials we received from MSRE alums:

“Completing the USD MSRE program was one of the most valuable endeavors of my career. Its graduates understand real estate markets and activities from the due-diligence phase all the way through management of real estate assets. In addition to the broad-based education, personalized attention from faculty and staff enabled me to realize and capitalize on my personal value to the real estate industry. As a planning manager at Pacifica Companies responsible for entitlements for new development projects, I am reminded daily of the value of the USD MSRE program.” - Carey Algaze ’12 (MSRE)

“The Burnham-Moores Center provides structure with relevant instruction on advanced real estate principles and offers a tremendous network of real estate professionals. The MSRE program was an experience that has changed my life and will allow me to take the next step in my career. I am now equipped with both real estate theory and practical knowledge. The BMC gives a younger professional a competitive edge in the real estate industry through a sophisticated curriculum that truly enhances one’s understanding of real estate.” - Gregor Connors ’14 (MSRE)

Mark J. Riedy, PhD
Executive Director

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Class of 2014 Graduates

MSRE Graduation Photo
MSRE Class of 2014.

On May 24, the tenth Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) cohort marked the completion of their real estate studies at the University of San Diego. The graduation ceremony for masters and doctoral students was held on campus in the Jenny Craig Pavilion and featured speaker Christopher A. Crane, president and CEO of Edify, a humanitarian organization that provides loans to Christian schools educating impoverished children in Africa and Latin America. After the ceremony, graduates, their families and friends attended a reception hosted by the School of Business Administration (SBA) at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice’s Garden of the Sea.

MSRE Program DeadlinesThe day prior to commencement, MSRE students attended a final Capstone Course followed by a private lunch celebration with the Burnham-Moores Center’s faculty and staff. Students exchanged sentiments about the MSRE program and were given a congratulatory gift from the Center.

We are still accepting applications for the Fall cohort of the MSRE program. For more information on the program, please visit our website or contact Ines Kraft, PhD, administrative director of the MSRE program.

Woodruff Scholar and 2014 SBA Class Valedictorian

On May 25, undergraduate real estate majors attended the USD SBA graduation ceremony on campus in the Jenny Craig Pavilion. Woodruff Scholarship recipient and real estate graduate Jonathan Fuller gave the valedictorian speech. Fuller noted that it was Burnham-Moores Center’s Professor John Demas who impacted his decision to pursue a career in real estate. Fuller also mentioned the impressive real estate-related programs he was involved with during his time at USD, notably: the Real Estate Society, two intercollegiate real estate case competitions, a mentorship program and five real estate internships. After the undergraduate ceremony, graduates from the SBA and their families and friends attended a reception on campus in front of the Hahn Center.

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Sixth Annual Bowling Fundraiser a Success

Winning Bowling Team
(From left to right) This year's winning team: Colby Young ’11 (MBA), Tyler Verdieck, Kevin Newberg ’12 (BBA), Derek Jensen ’07 (MSRE) and Matt Reams ’06 (BBA).

The Real Estate Alumni Association hosted its sixth annual scholarship fundraising event at East Village Tavern and Bowl in downtown San Diego on June 12. With the help of sponsors, a raffle and individual registration fees, the event raised funds for Real Estate Alumni Association scholarships which are awarded to outstanding undergraduate or graduate students studying real estate at USD.

Eleven teams participated in the bowling tournament. The winning team whose names will be engraved on “The Riedy Cup” include: Derek Jensen ’07 (MSRE), Kevin Newberg ’12 (BBA), Matt Reams ’06 (BBA), Tyler Verdieck and Colby Young ’11 (MBA).

A big thank you to all of our participants and sponsors who supported the tournament this year. Food and beverage sponsors included: Lee & Associates, Pacifica Companies and WG Bradley. Lane sponsors included: The Brennan Pohle Group, California Sun Yacht Charters, Coronado Island Realty, HFF, Hoffman & Forde, NAI San Diego, Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, Samuel Scott Financial Group, SDAR, RIVIERA Real Estate, Inc. and Wells Fargo.

If you would like to make a direct contribution to the Real Estate Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, please make your check donation to “USD/Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate” and in the memo section write “REAA Scholarship Fund.”

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

View more photos from the event.

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Undergraduate Real Estate Student Wins ICSC Award

Jeff Lefko
Jeff Lefko

Jeff Lefko, a junior at USD, recently won the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Foundation’s Schurgin Family Foundation Entrepreneurial Award. This award is given to a student with a passion for commercial real estate and exemplifies an entrepreneurial spirit. Applicants were required to complete an extensive application, write three essays and submit two letters of recommendation.

Lefko was awarded $5,000 for tuition and an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas to be honored at the annual award ceremony at ICSC’s RECon Convention. After winning the award and attending the conference, Lefko received three job offers in San Diego. Lefko will be graduating a semester early this December to begin his career as a broker in January. He plans to stay in San Diego selling net-leased properties.

“This award is significant to my career because it not only reaffirmed my passion for the real estate industry, but it also put me in touch with people that have similar interests and goals,” said Lefko.

As reported in last month’s edition of The Pipeline, Lefko was also recently selected as one of two USD Real Estate Alumni Association Scholarship recipients for Spring 2014.

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Mid-Year Economic and Financial Update Conference – July 24, 2014

Mark Fleming
Mark Fleming, PhD

The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate will host a Mid-Year Economic and Financial Update on July 24 on the University of San Diego campus.

The conference will feature keynote speaker, Mark Fleming, PhD, chief economist of CoreLogic, who will address housing and financial markets. Read Fleming’s blog on housing economies and property markets. Alan Gin, PhD, associate professor of economics at the University of San Diego and producer of the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County, will be the second speaker and will offer his economic update and forecast.

This event brings together residential and commercial real estate decision-makers hoping to hear speakers validate their expectations and plans. Alternately, attendees gain new insights leading them to make mid-year adjustments to budgets and business plans reflecting changed real estate and financial market conditions and prospects.

For questions or sponsorship opportunities, contact Diane Ice at (619) 260-2379.

Register for the conference.

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Textbook Published with Chapter by Norm Miller

Textbook cover

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, contributed to the recently published textbook, “The Advisor’s Guide to Commercial Real Estate Investment,” by David J. Lynn, PhD. Miller’s chapter focuses on investing in greener property, retrofits, upgrades, maintenance and management. The book, which is a part of the “Advisor’s Guide” series, published by The National Underwriter Company, discusses real estate investment for the financial adviser and is targeted to advisers who manage approximately $8 trillion in wealth. The book will serve as a standard reference guide and will be published in successive editions.

Purchase a copy the book.  

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Burnham Foundation Awards Scholarships to MSRE Students

During the annual Burnham Foundation Scholarship breakfast on May 23, Malin Burnham, president of The Burnham Foundation, discussed the importance of “community before self.” He also emphasized to the real estate scholarship winners the importance of collaboration, teamwork and being focused on a career path. Burnham also mentioned the importance of accepting failure and learning from it, while referencing Thomas Edison’s numerous failures before inventing the light bulb.

MSRE students Ben Murray and Aaron Cook were the two USD recipients of the 2014 Burnham Foundation Scholarship. Burnham established The Burnham Foundation, a private, non-profit, public benefit corporation, in 1980 and has since donated millions of dollars to community, education, health, arts and research organizations.

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Cover Letters: Why, When and How?

Why is a cover letter important?
A cover letter is a critical component of the job application process and should always be sent as a complement to the résumé. It should provide brief yet specific information about why a candidate is qualified for the job and explain what the candidate can offer the company. An effective cover letter details a candidate’s interest in the specific organization and identifies their most relevant skills and/or experiences related to the specific job.

When should a cover letter be written?
A cover letter should be executed any time a candidate applies for a position. If a job posting does not require a cover letter, it is highly recommended that a candidate still send one. Candidates who do not take the time to compose a letter are often viewed as less motivated for the job. A cover letter should demonstrate: 1) You have taken the time to do your due diligence on the company, 2) Your understanding of the job and why you are a good fit, and 3) Skills and experience you will bring to the position and the company.

How to write a cover letter?
1. Show personal interest in the particular job that you’re applying for. A strong cover letter will be tailored to the position and the company. It should show you are truly excited about the opportunity, without resorting to generic reasons. What grabbed you about the job description or the company? Why would you prefer this job over others? Why are you the perfect candidate? What is it about your background that demonstrates you will excel in the position?

2. Don’t summarize your résumé. Too often, job seekers simply summarize the contents of their résumé in the cover letter. Pick relevant information from your résumé that demonstrates you are the best fit for the position. Remember, it’s not all about you. It’s about what you can offer the company.

3. Conclude with a “move to action.” Ask for an interview or specify when you plan to follow up with the employer to discuss the position.

For more information about writing a professional cover letter visit the websites listed below: – Job Searching Covers Letters Templates
Forbes – Six Secrets To Writing A Great Cover Letter
CareerOneStop – U.S. Department of Labor
Vault Career Intelligence

Each month 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

David Michan
David Michan ’05 (MSRE)

David C. Michan ’05 (MSRE) is co-owner and president of Strata Equity Group, Inc., a privately held company that specializes in acquiring underutilized land and preparing it for development. The company also invests in and manages existing multi-family residential and commercial properties. Since 2010, Michan has led the acquisition of a diverse portfolio of over 2,000 multi-family units, 1,300 acres of un-entitled land, 500 finished lots and over 140,000 square feet of commercial space. Strata is in the final stages of closing a $100 million dollar private equity raise, primarily for strategic land and multi-family acquisitions with medium to long-term holds. Michan is optimistic about home builders’ confidence and new home construction in Southern California. He recently closed a finished lot sale and has three more lot deals under contract with home builders. Although new home sales volume and land pricing is still off from peak pricing, Michan sees public and private builders targeting strategic land positions to fill their pipeline as new home absorption and pricing recover beyond the core sub-markets. Michan is an active member of the Burnham-Moores Center’s Policy Advisory Board Commercial Real Estate Committee.

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

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Norm Miller Presents at Homer Hoyt Institute


Norm Miller
Norm Miller, PhD

Professor Norm Miller, PhD, presented twice during Homer Hoyt Institute’s annual Hoyt Fellows Meeting and Weimer School Session in North Palm Beach, Fla., May 15-18. This year, the meeting and session revolved around discussions on real estate risk. Weimer School faculty and fellows, Hoyt fellows, post-doctoral awardees and industry speakers attend these events.

Miller was a stand-alone speaker at the Hoyt Fellows Meeting on May 15, where he discussed the topic “A Closer Look at Sectors: New Trends and Risks to Old Strategies.” During the Weimer School Session, which Miller co-chaired, he and Michael Sklarz of Collateral Analytics discussed a paper titled “Automated Valuation Models, Price Trends Analysis and Big Data Mining.”

The Homer Hoyt Institute is an independent, non-profit research and educational foundation established in 1968 to improve the quality of public and private real estate decisions.

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U.S. Bank Hosts BMC at Padres Game

Padres Game
The Burnham-Moores Center faculty and staff, U.S. Bank representatives Kurt Huppert and Mike Paris and guests enjoyed the hospitality of the U.S. Bank “Dream Suite” at the Padres vs. Philadelphia Pirates game June 3. It was a delightful evening despite the Padres losing the game 1-4.

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Professor Norm Miller, PhD, and associate professor Alan Gin, PhD, were included in the May 16, May 22, May 30, June 5 and June 13 editions of U-T San Diego’s “EconoMeter.”

Norm Miller, PhD, was quoted in a May 20 U-T San Diego article on the decline of foreclosures in San Diego County.

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 financial and real estate-related industry topics. To request an interview or speaking engagement, contact Kimberly Malasky at (619) 260-4786.

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TUESDay, JULY 15, 2015

Application Deadline for Fall 2014 MSRE Program

Apply now or refer friends and colleagues.


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


Mid-Year Economic and Financial Update

presenting sponsor: Union Bank

Time: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. breakfast and networking, 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
Sponsor this conference. Contact Diane Ice at (619) 260-2379 for more information.

Register for the conference.

WEDNESDay, NOV. 5, 2014

Fourth Annual Women in Real Estate Conference

presenting sponsor: CREW

Time: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. breakfast and networking, 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 the board of NAIOP. Featured speaker and moderator to be announced.
Cost: $50 per person, includes registration fee and breakfast
Sponsor this conference. Contact Kimberly Malasky at (619) 260-4786 for more information.

Register for the conference.

Back to TopContinuing Education Courses and Seminars


The Real Estate Process



Managing the Entitlement Process