Wabash Building and Auditorium Tower
“The industry continues to redefine itself and expand, and the development of real estate majors in undergraduate business degrees has become a way for young people looking to pursue a career in that industry sector to walk in the door with some ground-level understanding of general business, the real estate industry and investment strategy.” Collete English Dixon Executive Director, Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate

Responding to a growing need in the real estate industry for a more diverse pool of talent, Roosevelt University announced Thursday that it will launch a bachelor’s degree program in real estate in fall 2018.

Already a leader in providing master’s degree opportunities in real estate, Roosevelt’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate will introduce the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in Real Estate degree program at Roosevelt’s Chicago Campus.

Taught by an expert faculty with years of experience in the industry, the new degree program will prepare graduates to work in all aspects of the field, developing real estate professionals by honing their technical and analytical skills.

Currently awaiting final approval from the state of Illinois, the Roosevelt program is expected to be a boon for an industry that tends today to build a talent pipeline from undergraduate business degree programs, according to Collete English Dixon, executive director of the Marshall Bennett Institute and a leader in the commercial real estate industry for more than 30 years.

More than 100 entry-level jobs in Chicago each year are filled by students who come from academic programs outside the city’s real estate marketplace. The Institute’s goal is to have approximately 50–75 undergraduate students by the program’s fifth year to meet that steady employment rate.

“The industry continues to redefine itself and expand, and the development of real estate majors in undergraduate business degrees has become a way for young people looking to pursue a career in that industry sector to walk in the door with some ground-level understanding of general business, the real estate industry and investment strategy,” said English Dixon.

“Having the opportunity to attract undergraduate students to the Heller College of Business, and provide them with access to one of the world’s best real estate laboratories and most diverse real estate economies here in Chicago, is a great way for us to have influence on the future of the industry,” she said. “We will be contributing talent into the workplace.”

Students will be able to use industry-standard software and databases to solve problems related to the built environment. The program places emphasis on awareness of social justice and engagement in civic life, which are pillars of Roosevelt’s mission. Incorporating the concepts of social costs and benefits, students will analyze the ongoing process of urban gentrification, not just the individual financial benefits associated with change in the urban landscape.

“I think a lot of commercial real estate organizations are struggling with diversity and inclusion,” said Jim Connor, chairman and CEO of Duke Realty. “Here’s an opportunity for an institution to provide an undergraduate degree in real estate to great students from a school with a great reputation, to put them to work right in our own backyard.”

Undergraduate students will benefit from networking opportunities with their peers, both undergraduate and graduate, and advisory board members.

“There are tremendous opportunities in commercial real estate today and we feel that Chicago is relatively undersupplied in terms of academically prepared real estate professionals,” said David Funk, Roosevelt associate professor of real estate.

“It’s my personal belief that real estate is one of the most immediate ways to impact one’s community for the better, whether through the creation of affordable housing or development for safe, livable neighborhoods, to creation and finance of space where we work, study and play,” said Funk. “Real estate immediately touches all of our lives and is often overlooked in terms of its role in social justice and creating better living spaces.”

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