Join the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute promotes “creating and sustaining thriving communities.” The organization provides programs, training, and networking for members who come from all real estate development and land use disciplines. The organization has programs for young leaders.  The local chapter sponsors numerous events in Southeast Michigan.

Join Crew (for Women)

Commercial Real Estate Women Network, or CREW, offers programs and networking opportunities for women interested in commercial real estate. The field still includes few women so the support of colleagues can be helpful in finding career paths.  CREW Detroit has monthly programs.

Attend the Building Michigan Communities Conference

This conference each April focuses on housing and community development and attracts more than 1500 attendees who work as service providers, nonprofit and for-profit developers, and financiers. It is the best place to learn about professionals are doing and to network for work in housing and community development. Unfortunately, the conference usually occurs during the University of Michigan final exam period.

Participate in the ULI/Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition

Teams of five graduate students from at least three disciplines create a comprehensive design and development proposal for a specific large site over a period of two weeks in January. Teams form in early November and December. Click here for more information. 

The 2020 Taubman College team consisted of Josh Childs (M.U.R.P./M.P.P.), Bryan Hicks (M.Arch), Sam Kollar (M.U.R.P.), Amelia Linde M.Arch/M.U.D.), and Jess Yelk (M.Arch/M.U.R.P.).

2011 Hines Competition Winners
2011 UM Hines Competition Winners: Hajrasouliha, Inamdar, Hadvi, Banna, and DeCamp. Faculty advisor: Douglas Kelbaugh.
Taubman College student finalists at 2012 Hines Competition
Michigan students Sylvia Harris, Laura Reading, Anne Fennema, Reid Fellenbaum, and Jessica Hester at the 2012 Hines Competition. Faculty advisor: Suzanne Charles (not pictured).

Participate in the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Student Design and Planning Competition

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsors a design and planning competition that focuses on the type of housing that HUD supports.

In 2017 and 2020 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a graduate student team from Taubman College as the runner up and winner of a $10,000 award for HUD’s fourth annual Innovation in Affordable Housing (IAH) Student Design and Planning Competition.

Bader Bajaber (MUP), Emily Burrowes (MUP), Laura Devine (M.Arch), Melissa Bloem (MUP and MSW), and Prashanth Raju (MUP and MUD) with faculty adviser Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Lan Deng

In the first year of the competition, 2014, the case involved veteran’s housing in New Jersey, in the second year senior housing in Louisiana, and family housing in California in 2016.  Teams of three to five students compete over several weeks.

  • A University of Michigan team went to the finals in 2014

Michigan students Aja Bonner, Aly Andrews, Mitchell Herz,  Amina Kirk, and Oren Brandwein at their presentation at the HUD competition finals in Washington, DC, in 2014.  Faculty advisor: Margaret Dewar (not shown)

Join the Michigan Real Estate Club

The Michigan Real Estate Club, based in the Ross School of Business, welcomes any students as members who are interested in real estate. The club aims to connect students with training opportunities, job search assistance, résumé/interview preparation, industry professionals, trips/meetings to other major cities, and to initiate trips, case competitions, and other activities to add to students’ knowledge of real estate development, investment, and finance.

Learn From Occasional Visitors

Visitors to the University of Michigan vary each year but always include speakers of interest to students in real estate development.

Anthony Mosellie talking with students of the Real Estate Club.

  • Rachel Weber, professor of urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, lectured on “Why Do We Overbuild?” about the boom and bust cycles of downtown Chicago’s real estate development, October 2012.
  • Kurt Weigle, President and CEO of the Downtown Development District in New Orleans, discussed the city’s strategy for encouraging development downtown, October 2014.
  • Matt Rossetti (President and Chief Architect of ROSSETTI) and Mark Rosentraub (Bruce and Joan Bickner Endowed Professor of Sport Management, University of Michigan) discussed their views on sports arenas’ roles in downtown real estate development, January 2015.
  • Jeff T. Blau, Chief Executive Officer and a general partner of Related Companies, spoke about Related’s projects, especially the Hudson Yards redevelopment in New York City, March 2015.
  • The Urban Development Now Symposium brought numerous developers to speak about their projects and the role of strong design in creating demand for residential and commercial space, March 2015.
  • Anthony Mosellie, principal in the architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, provided a behind the scenes look at how Hudson Yards, New York City’s biggest mixed use project was created. He is managing principal for the Hudson Yards project. September 2015
  • Several real estate development alumni returned to talk about their careers in real estate. They included Mervyn Alphonso, Principal at Milestone Ventures; Andrew Dunlap, Director of Acquisitions & Investments at REDICO; Jason Miller, Chief Investment Officer at Grand Sakwa Properties; David Roodberg, CEO and President of Horning Brothers; Richard Seges, Chief Real Estate Officer at Housing Authority of the City of El Paso.
  • Danielle Lewinski, Vice President and Director of Michigan Initiatives for the Center for Community Progress, gave a talk on strategies and policies to address vacancy and blight and to bolster real estate values in Detroit. November 2015.

Connect With Alumni

Since 2005, 173 students have received the Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development.  They have come from urban and regional planning, architecture, urban design, business, law, financial engineering, construction engineering, civil engineering, kinesiology, landscape architecture, applied economics, and natural resources and environment.  Some have completed the certificate alone with no accompanying graduate degree.  The faculty director for the certificate can provide you the names of alumni in the types of jobs and the locations where you would like to work.

What a few alumni are doing:

Alex DeCamp, Master of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development Certificate, 2012:

“I am an Associate Managing Director at Talmer Bank & Trust and am responsible for Community Reinvestment Act and community mortgage lending. I also develop real estate in the city of Detroit and currently have four historical renovations at different stages of development in the city.  They are a six-unit historical residential rental, a six unit mixed-use development with three residential and three retail, a twenty unit apartment-to-condo conversion and a historical duplex.

The Real Estate Development Certificate has helped immensely.  I received my position at Talmer because of my urban planning and real estate development educational background. The real estate certificate taught me to focus on responsibly developing a community, not just a single building, and that is a message that really resonates with my investors.”

Aaron Desatnik, Master of Business Administration and Real Estate Development Certificate, 2014:

“I work in acquisitions for a multifamily investor and operator on behalf of Taymil Partners in the Boston area.

The certificate gave me exposure to planning and construction as an extension of my MBA. I also met other alumni of the program, which has been good for networking.”

Sarah Pavelko, Master of Urban Planning and Real Estate Development Certificate, 2010:

“I am a consultant with a strategic planning and financial management firm in Detroit.  We work with non-profits and government entities to develop real estate and economic investment strategies, create and evaluate programs, and provide turn-around solutions for troubled agencies.  I provide project management expertise, conduct research, assess and evaluate programs, and create investment strategies and implementation plans.

The Real Estate Development Certificate program provided me with a good foundation in the real estate industry. The program also broadened my understanding of government policy as it relates to land use and planning, and further developed my evaluation skills.  The program allowed me to tap into a broad network and has helped me establish some very helpful professional relationships.”

Dustin Sommer, Master of Architecture and Real Estate Development Certificate, 2012:

“I am a Manager of Design and Engineering on a growing (4 million square foot) national real estate portfolio.

The program taught me that every aspect of the design and engineering of a project are strongly related to financial analysis and legal requirements.  Moreover, the program’s breadth of exposure to law and finance supplemented my core competency of design. As a result, it has given me the platform to practice synthesizing all three techniques in order to create value in unique ways for our investors and end users.”