On May 15, 2022, 72 undergraduate students from the University of Notre Dame will graduate with a Minor in Real Estate, more than double the size of last year's inaugural class. When Notre Dame launched the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate (FIRE) three years ago, these students were just beginning their studies at Notre Dame. Now many will begin full-time careers in real estate.
The following are just a few examples of the excellent students who will graduate this year with a Minor in Real Estate.
Kelly Koons (’22), a Finance major with a minor in Real Estate, also served as a vice president of the Notre Dame Real Estate Club. “The Fitzgerald Institute of Real Estate at Notre Dame has taught me so much,” says Koons. “The opportunities to learn about the industry and gain real world experience have enabled me to pursue a career in real estate with confidence.” Koons is an incoming real estate private equity analyst at Ares Management Corporation in New York City.
Arlen Hooks (’22) is graduating with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Real Estate. After discovering FIRE midway through his time at Notre Dame, Hooks took full advantage of the Real Estate minor: “I’ve spent my four years at Notre Dame trying to discover my unique gifts and I’m forever grateful for the guidance from FIRE to help me unlock unrealized potential.” Hooks adds: “As a political science major, there was definitely a learning curve at times, but the Real Estate minor does an excellent job of integrating students from all majors to create a more enriching learning environment. Real estate allows me to be a part of something much bigger than myself, and I look forward to pursuing a career where I devise solutions that use the built environment to bring joy to people, families, and ultimately entire communities.” This summer Hooks will be starting as a brokerage intern in Raleigh, North Carolina at Jones Lang LaSalle, a global commercial real estate services company.
Alec Vasquez (’22) is a Finance major with a minor in Real Estate, and also served as president of Notre Dame’s Bengal Bouts boxing competition. Reflecting on his time as a student, Vasquez recalls: "I am a strong believer in the power of placemaking. Fortunately, the introduction of the minor in Real Estate presented a unique opportunity to supplement my major in finance and explore the diverse career paths within the real estate industry. Since then, I have been lucky enough to learn from mentors, peers, and professors across the Notre Dame community who have shown a genuine interest in my development inside and outside the classroom.” Vasquez will begin his career as an analyst at Pennybacker Capital, a real estate investing firm in Austin, Texas. “I’m looking forward to serving the mission of Pennybacker and giving back to students who also discover a passion for real estate."
Notre Dame students speak highly of their experiences in the minor, including the analytical skills, interdisciplinary focus, and professional networks it offers. These students follow in the footsteps of many talented Notre Dame alumni who for years have found their way into careers in the industry.
"Nearly half of the students graduating with minors in real estate intend to pursue related careers. Their interest confirms how significant this program has become, and will continue to be, especially given the program's strong alumni connections.” said Eugenio M. Acosta, associate director of FIRE. “In addition to the minor, the Fitzgerald Institute is focusing on key initiatives related to ethics, sustainability, Church properties, housing, construction, technology, and improving diversity in the industry."
This year marks Notre Dame’s second graduating class of real estate students, with an increase from 34 students to 72 students, and 379 students will return next year to continue to pursue a minor in Real Estate.
The Minor in Real Estate is led by FIRE, in partnership with the Department of Finance, and aims to deliver a rigorous real estate education through an interdisciplinary curriculum that is open to all students at the University. The minor leverages various disciplines, including accounting, architecture, civil engineering, economics, finance, and law, and is made possible with the support of faculty and deans of all the colleges and schools.
The curriculum includes courses on real estate fundamentals, real estate finance, applied learning and industry colloquia, and interdisciplinary electives ranging from American Housing & Social Justice and Urban Economics to Real Estate Capital Markets and Real Estate Private Equity. Students also participate in career treks, competitions, and other engagements with the industry to learn from and network with real estate firms.
"We are proud to be able to offer our students these opportunities and to grow Notre Dame's academic reputation in real estate while promoting the University's goal to be a force for good," said Daniel B. Kelly, professor of law and faculty director of FIRE. “We are thrilled for the Class of 2022, and for all of our distinguished graduates in real estate.”
About Notre Dame Research:
The University of Notre Dame is a private research and teaching university inspired by its Catholic mission. Located in South Bend, Indiana, its researchers are advancing human understanding through research, scholarship, education, and creative endeavor in order to be a repository for knowledge and a powerful means for doing good in the world. For more information, please see research.nd.edu or @UNDResearch.