2010 Real Estate Symposium Opening Remarks: Update on the School and the MBA Real Estate Program
by Rishi Gupta ’11 and Adam Simensky ’12
The third Annual Columbia Business School Real Estate Symposium was a success, with more than 150 alumni representing classes from 1961-2010 in attendance. The day proved to be a great opportunity for the exchange of information, the discussion of deals (past, present, and future), and the building of both professional and personal connections. The symposium featured keynote speaker Glenn Rufrano, president and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, and panelists including Michael Acton, managing director, AEW Capital Management; David Neithercut ’82, president, Equity Residential; Ted Bigman, global head of real estate, Morgan Stanley; Spencer Haber, CEO, H/2 Capital; and Steve Wechsler ’72, senior managing director, Tishman Speyer.
Senior Vice Dean and Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate Chris Mayer, kicked off the event with points on the current school year and forward-looking comments on the development progress of the new Manhattanville campus. Mayer also touched on the significance of the $100 million gift to Columbia Business School by KKR’s cofounder, cochairman and co-CEO, Henry Kravis ’69. As the real estate curriculum continues to grow, thanks to the School’s commitment to the MBA Real Estate Program and “ever-smarter” students entering our ranks, Mayer stressed that “it is time to move on” from the School’s current home in Uris Hall.
Mayer also emphasized the importance of alumni involvement in developing the program, both in terms of casework and guiding the direction of the program. To the latter point, he discussed the Columbia Real Estate Circle – a group of CBS real estate alumni who come together to enhance their ties to the School and participate in scholarly discussions. The Circle holds biannual Circle Academy Breakfasts, most recently hosted by Lou D’Avanzo ’91, executive vice president, Cushman & Wakefield. Mayer encouraged all real estate alumni to become involved with the Circle, citing the many events in addition to the symposium that provide a unique opportunity for CBS alumni to network with their peers and give back to their alma mater.