Real Estate Certificate Program Brought Back to McCombs School of Business by Alumni and Industry Demand

The McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin is now taking applications for its new Undergraduate Real Estate Certificate program, nearly two decades after university students were last able to participate in such a program.

The new program will offer an industry-focused, interdisciplinary curriculum that will be open to both business and nonbusiness undergraduate students, according to Rachel Allen, the program's new director. "It's an excellent opportunity for undergraduates interested in commercial real estate to complement their primary major with tangible industry skills and an understanding of the breadth of the real estate business," she said.

Building upon the already nationally ranked BBA Real Estate Finance concentration, the new undergraduate program allows University of Texas students outside McCombs to benefit from the coursework, while providing an interdisciplinary mix of ideas and experiences to all students. The program is grounded in the business disciplines, while exposing students to fundamental knowledge of architecture, economics, engineering, real estate law and urban planning.

The goal is to develop a new class of future real estate leaders who are well-rounded and well-trained to succeed in this evolving industry.

"Texas has a rich history of cultivating some of the best real estate minds in the country pioneers who literally built cities and changed the way our industry works," said Thomas Fish, alumni program supporter and executive managing director/co-head of Jones Lang LaSalle, a financial and professional services firm specializing in real estate.

The initiative to re-create a modern version of the previous McCombs real estate program was spearheaded less than a year ago by a committee of highly engaged alumni and donors, with alumnus Steve LeBlanc leading the effort. The initiative piqued the interest of corporate sponsors and enthusiastic alumni, who have already contributed $3.6 million toward the $4 million needed. This generous endowment will support faculty and staff, course development and student scholarships.

"The state needs this program a Tier One university offering a best-in-class real estate platform that is representative of the impressive talent and leadership in [Texas]," said Mark Gibson, executive managing director of Houston-based HFF and an alumnus of the McCombs School.

"On behalf of USAA Real Estate Company, I want to say that we are very pleased to support the Endowed Excellence Fund in Real Estate for the McCombs School of Business," said T. Patrick Duncan, chairman and CEO of USAA Real Estate Company. "Over the past years, we have had the privilege of recruiting a number of young professionals from the school and have found them to be very talented and hard-working. We look forward to being a part of this program as it continues to develop."