The Center for Real Estate and the Built Environment at the McIntire School of Commerce is pleased to announce the launch of a UVA real estate-specific group within the Virginia Alumni Mentoring (VAM) platform, UVA’s virtual mentorship community. The effort is a collaboration between the Center, Commerce Career Services, the Virginia Undergraduate Real Estate Club, and Alumni Engagement.
“Beginning this spring, the Real Estate Alumni group will be able to connect students from across Grounds who are seeking mentors with alumni partners in this dynamic industry who are eager to share their time and talents,” says Drew Sanderford, Robert M. White Jr. Bicentennial Professor of Real Estate Finance and Center Director.
“Our hope is that this mentorship community, specific to real estate, will channel the generosity and expertise of our alumni community towards rich mentorship opportunities for students to learn strategies, gather insights, explore real estate paths, and develop career readiness skills to effectively secure rewarding opportunities in real estate,” CCS’ Director of Undergraduate Career Development Sarah Rogis adds.
Second-year Whit Stahl, student representative for the VAM Real Estate Alumni group, partnered with CCS and lead administrators of the VAM platform in the University Career Center to create the new real estate group to make networking easier, less daunting, and more accessible for students. “With the VAM group, alumni will post times they are available, as well as topics they have expertise in, allowing students to sign up for mentorship. It will streamline networking by eliminating the burden of back-and-forth communication between both mentors and mentees,” he says.
The VP of Programming for the Virginia Undergraduate Real Estate Club also notes the vital role of alumni mentorship in a multifaceted field that involves collaboration with professionals in different areas of expertise (e.g., development, construction, zoning ordinance law, investing strategy, macroeconomic trends). “By having mentors in various real estate career positions, UVA students will be exposed to and have a better understanding of how real estate works holistically,” he explains. “Upon speaking with Keven Lindemann (A&S ’91), Senior Director, Global Real Estate at S&P Global Market Intelligence, in my VP role with VUREC, I gained a greater understanding of how real estate is subject to changes in sustainability initiatives, consumer preferences, technology, and demographics. The more students are around it and the more people they talk to, the better equipped they will be to provide value in their future careers.”
Facilitating meaningful connections and conversations between alumni and students, VAM allows UVA alumni representing a variety of professions to share their knowledge and experience to help students make the most of their time on Grounds and prepare for life and careers after graduation. Students can also begin building their professional network through the platform.
Students and alumni partners can choose to connect for semesterlong mentoring or for a one-time “flash” mentoring discussion. They can communicate through online chat messaging, connect to UVA-affiliated communities through group membership, or seek project-based learning opportunities through the VAM bridges project. Benefits of VAM membership include:
- Gaining in-depth knowledge about a specific industry or career field
- Developing skills and confidence in cross-generational communication
- Expanding career prospects and strategies
- Receiving feedback on job and internship materials and personal brand
- Having regular opportunities to discuss career issues in a safe environment
To join, UVA students and alumni can visit the VAM homepage and click on the orange “Join the Community” button, which offers four login methods. After logging in, users can create an account and set up a profile. For easy, quick profile setup, users can download their LinkedIn profile and upload it to VAM.
To hear VAM Gratitude Stories from students and alumni participants, click here.