View of Santiago, Chile. Many buildings with mountains in the background.
Santiago, Chile.

Students experience Chilean real estate market firsthand

This October, Nathan S. Collier Master of Science in Real Estate students traveled to Santiago, Chile for a week-long experiential learning opportunity. Two of these students, Shannon Hess and James Barrios, reflect on what they learned and experienced in Chile’s capital city.

Shannon Hess

By Shannon Hess, BSBA ’19, MSRE ’20

During the 2019-20 school year, I am fortunate enough to be studying in the Nathan S. Collier Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) Program. I was specifically drawn to this program at UF due to its recognition as being ranked the #1 real estate master’s program offered by a U.S. public university. Paired with the ability to be mentored by over 165 of the top industry leaders in the UF Real Estate Advisory Board, I was convinced that I wouldn’t find a better program for networking and growing my skillsets as a student.

This past fall break I was privileged to travel with 24 students from my MSRE cohort to Santiago, Chile. From my past experience, I have learned that the best way for me to learn about a culture is to immerse myself in it, and that’s exactly what I was able to do in Chile. During our time there, we were tasked with analyzing international real estate markets in order to underwrite the risk of investing in Chilean real estate. To gather market research, we were able to meet with professionals that had involvement in real estate from brokerage and development to law and academia. These meetings provided extensive insight into the typical business practices of Chile and showed our class how global forces can impact development in emerging economies.

Studying abroad allowed me gain first hand exposure to underwriting deals in international markets and gave me the skills to set myself apart in future job interviews. And the international education didn’t end when we arrived back in the U.S. We presented our market research and financial models to a fictional investment committee to advise them if they should go forward with the investment. Experiences like this confirms that I chose the right program because I don’t think I would have been able to have this realistic education anywhere else.

James Barrios By James Barrios, BSBA ’19, MSRE ’20

Traveling to Santiago, Chile, for a week with the Nathan S. Collier Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) cohort will remain one of my most outstanding educational experiences at the University of Florida. The purpose of the trip was to acquire information regarding a mixed-used office and retail project called “Apoquindo.” Our goal as a team was to create assumptions for a property valuation and presentation.

In Santiago, meetings with the lead developers from the Territoria group, brokers from CBRE, lawyers, and other real estate students studying in Chile provided valuable learning opportunities. Being exposed to the differences in financing, investing, and brokering commercial real estate in countries outside of the U.S. was intriguing, and has opened my classmates and I up to the possibilities. We also went on appealing day trips to the Andes Mountains, ate delicious meals and went to a wine tasting at an all organic vineyard.

I extended my stay by two days, visiting Valparaíso on the beautiful Chilean coast with three fellow students. We spent our time in the community, visiting with local businesses to better understand the culture of the region. Valparaíso is home to many of the country’s politicians, and during our stay, Chile experienced political unrest. Anticipating unwanted economic changes, many Chilean citizens organized and began to protest. Our last evening in Valparaíso, we witnessed the effects of their actions as properties were set to fire and government enforcement was required to regain law and order. As my classmates and I observed smoke rising from burning buildings across the city, we couldn’t help but think of how blessed and privileged we are to be living and studying in the United States of America.

Interested in learning about real estate through real-world experiences like Shannon and James? Request information about the Nathan S. Collier Master of Science in Real Estate program today.