Laying Foundations

By Kay Nolan,  May 2015

As the once-booming commercial real estate industry recovers, bringing new life to both old and vacant properties, Marquette University is also resurrecting a certificate program designed to help students of color break into the field. The 26-week associates in commercial real estate (ACRE) program, shuttered for five years, is back with a more realistic curriculum, but no less enthusiasm.

The first post-Great Recession class finishes this month. Mark Eppli, interim dean of Marquette’s College of Business Administration, says the revamped course focuses more on construction management and property management, in addition to real estate development.

“The reasons are many,” says Eppli. “It’s hard to go through a program like this and become a developer. Now that arguably happened with a handful of students, but it’s not a clear path. Usually, you become a property manager or broker or work in finance. Then, and only then, after you understand the capital market side or how to lease space, can you really get into development.” In addition, he says, “As we started working with the minority community, we understood their needs a little bit better. For example, we were getting people from the trades who wanted to understand commercial real estate development so they could better provide service for the industry.”