What is your professional experience and education?
I graduated from St. Henry’s High School Masaka (Uganda) in 2005; I then joined the University of St. Thomas Minnesota in spring 2006. I graduated in fall 2010 with majors in Accounting, Entrepreneurship and Real Estate. When I graduated, I never wanted to work in any business sector other than Real Estate. I then joined the Masters in Real Estate program starting fall 2010. Currently I’m in my last year through the program and expecting to graduate fall 2012.
My working experience has been short but exciting. I worked in the Minneapolis campus bookstore for a few years. In the summer of 2008, I had an opportunity to work as an intern student at Premier Banks in Maplewood which was another exciting and adventurous experience for me. In 2009, I was lucky to get my much desired internship in real estate at Shenehon Company Minneapolis which I’m still doing up to now. It has been a great learning experience working with commercial and business appraisers.
Why did you choose the MSRE program at UST?
After my graduation in fall 2010, I was interested in the real estate business, since I had my internship with Shenehon Company and an undergraduate degree in real estate. I wanted to further explore what real estate as a business has to offer me. I came to this decision after talking to a couple of people from the MSRE department, talked to Susie and Dr. Tom Hamilton who really helped me very much in my desire to do the program. Since I had graduated from St. Thomas, I pretty much knew the system and even the professor, so it was not a hard decision to choose this program.
What was your career goal when you entered the program and how has it evolved since?
My career goal was to learn as much as I can from the program and see how I can apply all the knowledge attained into the real life business. This goal has not changed; I’m just eager to get the most I can from the program.
My goal is to start a real estate business in Uganda, dealing in development, property/asset management and investment.
With a solid background in housing through working at the Met Council and selling residential real estate, Crystal was able to use her experience so far in the MSRE program to secure a new position with Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
What is your professional experience and education?
“For eight years I worked at the Metropolitan Council as a housing coordinator for low-income housing. In this challenging position, I administered the section 8 program to 390 families. I also spent two years at Target working with their financial analysis and planning team. Working as a real estate agent on the side, I have been learning about all aspects of housing. My undergraduate degree is in organizational management and communication from Concordia University in St. Paul.
Recently I began a new position with Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, as a Senior Housing Paraprofessional. This is a new role for the organization in which I’ll be spending half of my time on underwriting and half on asset management. I’ll be working with both teams, both hands-on as well as working on financial monitoring, special projects, and some process documentation like I did at the Council. In my new position, I get to manage my own time and work flow so I enjoy the pace.”
Crystal began her career with Minnesota Housing at an interesting time- right during the state government shutdown. But the agency is up and running now and busy with their annual RFP process for multifamily properties. Currently Crystal is assisting in analyzing properties that have requested financing for new construction and redevelopment to determine who can be awarded tax credits and subsidized mortgages and loans. “We look at how they score on many different criteria. For example, points can be earned if the development is smoke-free, green, or if they are partnering with the city to utilize public financing.”
Tom Ryan was raised around the business of real estate. He is one of the few MSRE students who decided to pursue the MSRE degree prior to beginning his career in the industry. For Tom, this has been a tremendous benefit, because he can learn from students with diverse roles in the industry and gain knowledge from their experiences and the unique perspectives they bring to the classroom.
A graduate of St. John’s University, Ryan is officially both a Johnny and a Tommie; undoubtedly this fact alone will help him excel in the real estate business! Ryan majored in management and had the opportunity to learn about finance while interning for the Special Olympics. His experience working at resorts in Colorado also taught him about real estate (not to mention skiing).
Ryan explains how he chose the MSRE at St. Thomas.
“Initially I was looking at MBA programs at the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas and a few others around the country, such as Notre Dame. I didn’t have the career experience yet for some of the MBA programs. I had been hearing good things about the MSRE program at UST. Real estate was what I was interested in already, and I hadn’t seen any other programs like the one at UST. The curriculum looked good so I jumped in and tried it out. I’ve really been enjoying it.”