“The (best part of the UST MSRE program is the…) whole package; having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and learning, first hand, their opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry. Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb. These connections will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry. The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.”
Real Estate Matters has had the opportunity to sit down with several MSRE students in the graduating class of 2011 and get their impressions of the program, their plans for the future, and their advice to perspective students as their time in the MSRE program draws to a close. The first 2011 graduate, Lane Thor, has been working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office as an Appraiser. Lane was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
What is your background and experience?
I grew up in St. Paul, and have lived in Lino Lakes since 2006. I earned my undergraduate degree at Hamline University in St. Paul, where I majored in Political Science. I was fortunate enough to play football for Hamline while I was a student there, which provided a great opportunity to learn valuable lessons about life, responsibility, and leadership.
So who do you route for in the MIAC?
I have to route for Hamline. But I promise, I alway route for St. Thomas to win. If they play Hamline I just hope for a tie…
Where have you worked since earning your undergraduate degree?
I am fortunate, in that my first job out of school is one I have really enjoyed. I began working at the Ramsey County Assessors Office in 2006. My day-to-day duties involve the appraisal of real estate for tax purposes. I specialize in residential property and am currently one of 52 appraisers working for Ramsey County. The thing I like most about the job is the unique nature of each property. Each property presents new challenges and opportunities for me every day. As an undergrad I was interested in getting into business law, but after a few law classes I changed my mind. My passion for public sector work, especially the parts of the government that support the real estate industry, has remained which makes my current position a great fit for me. Also, my job affords me the opportunity to keep a healthy work-life balance, which is something that is very important to me.
Why did you decide to get an MSRE, and how did you choose UST?
I wanted to strengthen my skill set and knowledge of real estate issues to compliment my current background, with the goal of having more opportunities in the field of real estate. Looking back on my time in the program I can definitely say that I have broadened my skill set and given myself many new and exciting options. Furthermore, my sophistication in real estate has increased two fold, (1) I have learned more about the theoretical aspects of the real estate industry than I ever imagined, and (2) I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of practical knowledge I gained, with regard to the different aspects of real estate. I am certain that this experience will benefit me in any area of real estate that I get into.
I chose St. Thomas, because the program and the school is regarded in the Twin Cities, as the gold standard in real estate education. UST has an extensive professional network, including the real estate advisory board, which is basically all the heavy hitters in the Twin Cities real estate industry. I looked at a few other programs but ultimately chose UST because I wanted to have classroom experience - that personal level, face-to-face contact with my professors and peers is important for me. Because of this I have built life long friendships. The small class sizes have allowed me to meet everyone and make valuable connections. The classroom experience and the relationships that stem from this structure is what brought me to UST.
What is the best part of the program?
The whole package – having industry experts as guest speakers, hearing their stories, and getting first hand opinion’s on the major issues facing the real estate industry. Furthermore, the overall connection to the real estate community as a whole is superb and will set me up for success in any endeavor I choose. I have had an excellent experience in the program and would recommend it to others in the real estate industry. The UST and MSRE program’s reputation in the industry is top of the line.
Do you have some advice for perspective students?
If you have a passion for real estate, this will be a great opportunity. As with any graduate degree program, the workload gets heavy at times. But, if you have taken the time to prepare for the program, taken the GMAT, etc. you will find a way to manage the out of classroom work. This program is great for people who love real estate.
What are your career goals?
Right now, I am working on a couple of ideas that I have been formulating for a long time. I wanted to wait until I graduate before I really focused on one plan, as I needed to really see what was involved in each part of the industry, and where my passions really were. I think for the long-term, I would like to go into business for myself. . For the time being, I will continue to pursue high level positions in the public sector dealing with real estate or real estate related issues. After I get settled in, I would like to begin my own business, doing both at the same time, public sector and private. My private business will consist of a full service real estate company focusing solely on niche markets that have not been tapped. With good marketing and perseverance there is a lot of upside to some areas that remain untouched.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
At Hamline, my football coach told me to be successful you need to surround yourself with the right people. That means making the right connections, having the right network, as well as putting good people near you. At UST you get that, professors who are helping you and working so you succeed. My new network is due in large part to UST. This alone has made my decision to enter the MSRE program a great one and makes me very excited as I look forward to my future career.
Real Estate Matters would like to thank Lane Thor for taking the time to share his insight and experience in the MSRE program. We would also like to congratulate him on his graduation and look forward to keeping track of his promising career. To find out more information about the UST MSRE program, please visit our website.