By Joshua Burd
The Rutgers Center for Real Estate has announced Walker & Dunlop as its newest corporate sponsor, bringing additional support, mentorship and training opportunities to students of the nearly decade-old program.
The commercial real estate finance firm, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland, but has a growing presence in New Jersey, will collaborate with the center to launch a series of initiatives this year, according to a news release. Those will include a case competition that will test students’ academic knowledge in a real-world commercial real estate situation, incorporating both financial and development aspects of the business.
Walker & Dunlop will also offer internships to students from the real estate program to provide opportunities to gain on-the-job experience, while its professionals will mentor and offer coaching and one-on-one feedback during their experience.
“The Rutgers Center for Real Estate is committed to being the top real estate program in the country in terms of training our students and producing the most important and industry-relevant research in the country,” said Morris A. Davis, the Paul V. Profeta Chair of Real Estate and academic director for the Rutgers Center for Real Estate. “It is an honor for Rutgers to have Walker & Dunlop as a corporate partner, given its long history of excellence and commitment to being the premier commercial real estate finance firm in the country. We look forward to our partnership and exploring all the possible benefits to our students and our other industry partners.”
Walker & Dunlop joins Sills Cummis & Gross PC and M&T Bank as the center’s existing corporate partners. For the real estate services firm, the partnership is a key step in its efforts to attract and develop diverse talent in markets like New Jersey.
“By supporting the education and initiatives of the Rutgers Center for Real Estate, we will identify talented students, introduce them to the opportunities within commercial real estate, and provide them with the internships to enhance their resumes and prepare them for jobs upon graduation,” said Irelynne Estevez-Waller, the firm’s vice president of diversity and inclusion.
Support from the industry has been vital to the center. That began in early 2013 when Paul V. Profeta, the owner and president of Paul V. Profeta and Associates Inc. and the publisher of Real Estate NJ, donated $1.5 million to establish a chair in the field. The program has since recruited a host of industry leaders in New Jersey to help set the academic course, share their real-world experiences and provide students with networking and job opportunities.
Its latest partnership, with Walker & Dunlop, will result in paid internships as part of Project Destined, a program focused on providing diverse and minority students with exposure to the field of commercial real estate.
“Our corporate partners are extremely important because of the experiential learning opportunities and support they provide,” said Lei Lei, dean of Rutgers Business School. “The opportunity for our students to apply their knowledge in real-world situations offers them a powerful learning experience that strengthens their time in the classroom.”