May 25, 2018

Class of 2018: Haskayne casts solid foundation for students seeking to build real estate careers

First grads of real estate program hit the ground running thanks to industry mentors
Haskayne School of Business real estate students, from left, Arun Heed, Cory Miles and Harry Brody. Miles will be the first to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce concentration in real estate studies.
Haskayne School of Business real estate students, from left, Arun Heed, Cory Miles and Harry Brody. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

A student who once enjoyed the “white-knuckle thrill ride” of being a logger has successfully confronted yet another challenge.

Cory Miles is the first student at the Haskayne School of Business to earn a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) with a concentration in real estate. The program was created in 2017 with the help of the faculty’s Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies.

“It taught us to ask those critical-thinking questions that allow you to look at things from a different angle and a fresh perspective,” says Miles. “It has built a strong foundation for a rewarding career.”

  • Miles is pictured above, centre, with Arun Heed, left, and Harry Brody.

First real estate degree in Alberta

The centre aims to nurture the next generation of real estate leaders through teaching, research and community engagement. It was launched in 2013 with more than $7 million in donations from the local real estate industry, including $5 million from chairman and CEO Jay Westman of Jayman BUILT.

Haskayne has the first BComm and MBA real estate degree program in Alberta. “Real estate is one of the largest industries in the world and it affects everyone to some extent, but I’d say there’s a general lack of awareness about it among young people as a potential career,” says centre director Jessica Abt.

After graduating from high school, Miles worked for six years in B.C.’s logging industry. “It was a bit of a white-knuckle thrill ride, each and every day,” he says, laughing, as he recalls how he did everything from cutting down trees to driving logging trucks.

He eventually became a real estate development analyst in 2007, helping track new multi-family housing in Vancouver from sales through to completion. “The industry is so much more than just selling homes,” he says.

Real estate community provides mentorship, job placements

He became a student at Haskayne in 2014. Besides being taught during the evening by sessional instructors with active day jobs in the industry, students get a chance to grow their knowledge through guest presentations by real estate veterans, he says.

“The real estate community in Calgary has provided me and my fellow students with everything from mentorship to job placements, and the nice thing about having the BComm side of it is that you get that financial literacy,” says Miles. “You not only learn how to discover the real estate trends and opportunities that arise, but you can run the financials behind them to make sure they are actually good investments for the future.”

The small class size means students get plenty of one-on-one interaction with instructors, says Abt. “Instructors have the benefit of really getting to know the students, and the students’ eagerness to learn and desire to engage with the industry is just so refreshing,” she says.

From left, Jonathan Hamel, Reece Bishop and Scott Robbins are among the first Haskayne students to earn an MBA with a specialization in real estate studies at the University of Calgary. Not pictured, Jillian Wanklyn.

From left, Jonathan Hamel, Reece Bishop and Scott Robbins. Not pictured, Jillian Wanklyn.

Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business

Graduate to co-found company

As one of the first four Haskayne students to earn an MBA with a specialization in real estate studies, Reece Bishop plans to use what he’s learned throughout his MBA to co-found his own development company in Calgary with a fellow grad.

“Our cohort of students was very strong, and we had a pretty wide range of people from different industries, professions and educational backgrounds,” says Bishop. “I have made some really close connections and friendships.”

Although currently a civil engineer working on infrastructure projects in Calgary, Bishop wants to help shape communities through creative work designing and building housing that makes a positive impact on people’s lives. “Calgary is an amazing city, but the inner city and urban core are far from meeting their potential, and we hope to come in with a fresh perspective,” he says.

“I can translate the knowledge I have from working on large projects as an engineer and a project manager,” he says. “My experience, combined with the business and real estate knowledge I gained through the MBA, has given me the tools and foundation to jump into the real estate industry.”