The Hirsh Scholars program at the NYUSPS Schack Institute of Real Estate launched in August of 2019 with its inaugural class. These ten students partake in an accelerated one year Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) program, with a concentration in Finance and Investment. The program is similar to a cohort model, with the scholars taking all their classes together. "[At Schack] there are industry professionals teaching," says Felix Reding-Reuter, a scholar in the program. "You really get a sense of how the material fits into the real world."
Inaugural scholars Taani Ahluwalia, Sarah McCann and Felix Reding-Reuter sat down with Schack to talk about their backgrounds and experiences thus far. "Being in the first class is exciting. We have input," says McCann, who worked as an equity research associate and studied in a real estate track at the University of Virginia prior to Schack.
"There are so many resources available," says Ahluwalia, who grew up in Los Angeles, attended UCLA, and worked in worked in a global real estate investment company before joining the program. "There are modeling classes and workshops."
The program kicked off with a two-week intensive Real Estate Finance course with new Schack faculty member Tim Savage, an economist. The course lay the groundwork for the students. "He went through theory but also interjected with real-world occurrences," Reding-Reuter says. In fact, a federal interest rate cut occurred during the course.
Throughout the fall, scholars have been exposed to New York City developments and companies. They regularly meet with the CEOs of major firms and visit New York developments that serve as case studies for their courses. Sites include Pier 57, Hudson Yards, One Manhattan West, and 7 World Trade Center. Pier 57, for instance, is being converted into a mixed-use development, and demonstrates one way to manage a complex project.
"Given that we could talk to the developers, you really get a sense of how different their approaches and philosophies are. Each managed to get it done in their own way," says Reding-Reuter, who hails from Luxembourg and studied business management at the London School of Economics before working for a real estate agency and developer while applying to Schack. "New York feels at the forefront of where [real estate] things are happening."
Looking ahead the group is excited for the internships they will embark on in the new year. In addition, Reding-Reuter says that an assignment to produce a real estate market analysis and investment memo for Professor Savage’s class is already enabling scholars to work with real world implications. Reding-Reuter is excited by “breathing new life into an old building” with redevelopment, and hopes to work with a community-oriented company as he starts his career after Schack.
The scholars are excited to see the practical application of their studies. McCann, who grew up seeing her mother run a commercial interior design company in her native Cleveland, Ohio, sees the possibilities of "providing a different kind of strategic service to players in real estate. Thinking more about the end users is the goal." All of them plan to spend their post-Schack careers obtaining New York real estate work experience, which will set them up to go in any direction in the field as their careers progress. "In New York, the opportunities are endless," McCann says. "It’s just getting in the door."