Connor Kreis, James Barrios and Mike Harris stand in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
From left: Nathan S. Collier Master of Science in Real Estate students James Barrios, Mike Harris and Connor Kreis.

Real estate students create Excel modeling course essential to industry success to aid peers

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As told by Connor Kreis, James Barrios and Mike Harris

When Connor Kreis (BSBA ’19, MSRE ’20) and James Barrios (BSBA ’19, MSRE ’20) entered the Nathan S. Collier Master of Science in Real Estate program (MSRE) in the spring of 2019, they were excited and overwhelmed at the resources, classes and connections the program had to offer. However, one thing they noticed after talking with already enrolled candidate Mike Harris (BABA ’19, MSRE ’20) was that the MSRE program lacked material on how to construct complicated models in Excel, a crucial skill for students to have as they enter the industry. Mike, James and Connor had collectively taken over 10 online Excel classes previously, but were unsatisfied with their formats, subject matter and methods of teaching. The three decided soon after that they would make it their mission to create a completely new self-paced Excel program specific to commercial real estate that could be used by students pursuing UF’s MSRE degree. 

This program, called Financial Analysis with Real Estate Modeling (FARM), differs from other online Excel classes in that it is specific to commercial real estate and teaches students how to build comprehensive models from scratch. The six-level course starts off with the absolute basics in Excel with the following level’s material gradually becoming more difficult until students are comfortable creating unlevered/levered discounted cash flow models, complex amortization tables and sensitivity analyses of potential project returns. Each level of FARM includes a written explanation of the financial concepts to be learned, voice recorded videos that walk students through the Excel functions and a quiz they must pass proving they understand the concepts taught before moving on to the next level.  

Since FARM’s launch in the fall of 2019, over 50 students have participated in the program and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I feel like I’m finally applying what I’ve learned in business finance and Real Estate Analysis to a real-world scenario… So far, I have found FARM challenging but interesting, and it has influenced me to apply to UF’s MSRE program.” – Louis Fischer, BSBA ’20

“With FARM, I’m able to take all of the conceptual skills that I’ve learned in Real Estate Society (RES) and apply them in a meaningful way. Real estate financial modeling skills are something that I’ve wanted to learn for some time, and I’m glad that RES is able to offer these skills to its members in a fun and rewarding way. FARM has taught me valuable skills that will allow me to excel going into my real estate internship this summer.” – Drew Shea, BSBA ’21

Mike, James and Connor are looking forward to how FARM may expand in the future and hope that it will one day be a resource for many other universities.

Want to learn more about Financial Analysis with Real Estate Modeling? Reach out to Connor, James and Mike at FarmExcelTraining@gmail.com.