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6 Things You Didn't Know about Sauder's Real Estate Option

Where there is land, someone owns it. Where there is an owner, there is potential value. That's where the business of real estate comes in, and this is how the BCom can help you succeed with it.

Written by Crystal Lye

Whether for business, pleasure, or shelter, everybody consumes real estate. Where there is land, there is an owner. Where there is an owner, there is potential value. This is where the business of real estate steps in, and that is why the Real Estate option exists. Here are 6 things you probably didn't realize about Sauder's Real Estate Option.

1. It’s not just for pursuing a career as a realtor. Realty can be a fantastic career path for many, but it isn’t the only option. There is a common misconception that the BCom Real Estate option is only for those aiming to become realtors. This is simply not the case - it is primarily for students aspiring to work in the commercial real estate industry, including but not limited to: finance (debt & equity, valuation), accounting, marketing, development, brokerage, consulting, property management, and leasing. Many Sauder students choose to double up in finance, accounting, or marketing, which often broadens their career options and gives them a leg up when competing for positions in the industry. If a realty license is what you are seeking, it is not necessary to obtain a BCom - what you would take is semester-long course at the Real Estate Division (a SEPARATE program from the BCom) and pass a final exam to become licensed.

2. There are well-known, exciting internship and case competition opportunities available. Being a Real Estate specialized student opens up a series of interesting, challenging opportunities that can help prepare you for a successful career in the industry:

  • The Real Estate Internship Program is a summer program for 3rd and 4th year students passionate about working in commercial real estate. As a paid internship with local firms specialized in development, finance, brokerage, or appraisals, interns also get exposure from some of the best mentors and professionals in the industry. Applicants interview with real estate professors, the Business Career Centre, as well as the sponsoring firms themselves.

  • Real Estate Co-op is part of the BCom co-op program. The hard-working co-op team sources real estate internship opportunities, consults through the application/interview processes, as well as conduct site visits and discuss any feedback you have. The program is a committed 12 months in length, broken up into three 4-month terms. Applications are typically due in April and September.

  • The NAIOP Real Estate Challenge is a case competition opportunity to put classroom theory into practice for an intensive three months. Participants of the Challenge prepare a development plan based on a live CRE site in a particular city (differs every year). Student teams learn to work on real complexities, uncertainties, and trade-offs inherent in an actual development site, while also learning to consult with experts (real estate professors and reputable industry professionals) to deliver effective solutions.

  • Cornell Case Competition: Currently undetermined if this will recur for 2017, the Cornell case competition is a prestigious opportunity that provides a team of students five days to analyze and prepare investment recommendations for a case based on an actual commercial real estate transaction. The judge panel is made up of high-ranking real estate investors, developers and experts from private equity firms. The competition often solicits teams from around the world, from universities such as Cambridge, Cornell, Brown, New York University, McGill and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“In the real estate business, you learn more about people, and you learn more about community issues, you learn more about life, you learn more about the impact of government, probably than any other profession that I know of.” -- Johnny Isakson, U.S. senator

3. There are MANY organizations outside of your BCom real estate classes to beef up your industry knowledge... all before you even graduate! Talk about getting way ahead. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • NAIOP Vancouver. Founded in 1967, NAIOP is one of the most prestigious real estate organizations in North America, providing unparalleled networking opportunities, educational programs, as well as research on trends and innovations.

  • Urban Land Institute of BC. ULIBC is an independent, non-profit organization representing the entire spectrum of land use and development disciplines. With over 40,000 members worldwide, ULIBC offers an unbiased exchange of ideas between private and public agencies, providing solutions to local and regional issues.

  • Urban Development Institute of BC. UDI is a national non-profit association of the development industry that is non-partisan in its activities. Its primary goal is to foster effective communication between industry, government, and the public, in order to improve housing and job opportunities for all British Columbians.

  • Commercial Real Estate Women. CREW Vancouver is a dynamic network committed to promoting business development and advancing women as leaders in the CRE industry. CREW offers speaker series, education events, and networking/social opportunities that provide an incredible opportunity for women to meet and propel each other toward success.

  • The Mortgage Investment Association of British Columbia. Founded in 1917, MIABC represents mortgage lenders in dealing with government and the public in addressing issues of common concern. For students, MIABC hosts speaker series, AGM’s, golf tournaments, and networking events for an opportunity to meet lending professionals.

4. Real Estate is a collaborative industry. Competition certainly exists, which drives quality businesses and pushes individuals. However, the opposite is also true - not only did many of the professionals graduate from the same real estate programs (UBC, BCIT), a single real estate development or transaction can involve so many different companies that a more collaborative, rather than competitive, mindset prevails.

5. Networking is not always suits and appetizers. Speaking of collaboration, the real estate industry is incredibly social, and it's not always that formal. There are many social events that gather hundreds, if not thousands, of real estate professionals each year, providing the optimal opportunity for a student to expand their network. Here are some of the top annual industry events:

  1. ICSC Whistler: A fun conference focused on shopping centre leasing professionals, this in-depth session with top-calibre speakers provides valuable opportunities to network, listen to market insights, and gain exposure to hundreds of companies in the industry.

  2. Vancouver RE Forum: For 20 years, the VREF has been the largest conference focused on real estate investment and management issues in the region, offering high quality speakers

  3. CBRE Market Outlook Breakfast: Complimentary to their annual leasing conference, the market outlook breakfast provides market outlooks from CBRE’s top professionals and their insights for the year to come. See last year’s recap here.

  4. CREW Golf Tournament: Golf is huge in real estate, and CREW is one of the best at hosting a tournament. The event features a day of golfing, food, entertainment, and of course, networking.

  5. NAIOP Winter Mingler: A classic networking event held in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, the NAIOP Winter Mingler is a light-hearted networking session with cocktails and catering that draws hundreds of real estate professionals together during the festive season.

  6. JDRF Vancouver: An annual charity that supports research for Type 1 Diabetes brings the real estate industry together through a fundraiser and a competitive bike ride.

  7. UBC REC Annual Industry Night: The Real Estate Club hosts a large networking event coupled with top-tiered speakers in a stunning downtown Vancouver hotel. The event hosts approximately 200 attendees every year, many of which are UBC alumni, Sauder staff, and Sauder professors as well.

6. The required courses are diverse, interesting, and often relevant to other areas of study, especially economics and finance. It can be a fantastic first or second option given the relevance of real estate to almost every business concentration.

  1. Comm 306 - Urban Land Economics: economic factors affecting the housing market, transportation, land values, and policies.

  2. Comm 307 - Real Estate Investment. Real estate asset appraisals, real estate investment decisions, and property/asset management.

  3. Comm 405 - Real Estate Finance. Mortgage markets and return analysis, and methods of handling lender/borrower risk exposure.

  4. Comm 407 - Real Estate Economics. Real estate cycles/bubbles, models of housing demand and supply.

  5. Comm 408 - Real Estate Development. The start-to-finish development process, from market analysis to site search, to land use analysis.

  6. For more information, visit the BCom option page.

So there you have it. The UBC REC team is always happy to chat or connect you with the right sources so you can decide if real estate is the career for you. For more information, visit our website:, or shoot us an email at

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