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Winter Newsletter 2021

The Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center would like to thank our Research Sponsors and Sustaining Members whose generous contributions have made this year’s programming possible. As we say goodbye to 2021 we take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights from the past year:

Department News + Research · Faculty & Staffing Changes · Faculty Awards · Members’ Meetings 2021 · Expansion of Global Programming · Research Sponsor Events · Changes to the Zell/Lurie Advisory Board · Student Activities · Other Events in 2021 · Upcoming Events · Current Members

Department News & Research

Below are highlights from the Wharton Real Estate faculty.

Sophie Calder-Wang

Assistant Professor of Real Estate, Assistant Professor of Business Economics & Public Policy, Assistant Professor of Finance


Gilles Duranton

Dean’s Chair in Real Estate Professor


Fernando Ferreira

C.F. Koo Professor, Professor of Real Estate, Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy


Joe Gyourko

Martin Bucksbaum Professor, Professor of Real Estate, Professor of Finance, Professor of Business Economics & Public Policy, Nancy A. Nasher and David Haemisegger Director of the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center


Jessie Handbury

Assistant Professor of Real Estate


Benjamin Keys

Rowan Family Foundation Associate Professor; Associate Professor of Real Estate


Susan M. Wachter

Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate


View a full list of Wharton Real Estate faculty working papers.

Faculty & Staffing Changes

Sophie Calder-Wang

The Real Estate department welcomed new faculty member Sophie Calder-Wang. Sophie is Assistant Professor of Real Estate, Assistant Professor of Business Economics & Public Policy, and Assistant Professor of Finance.

Marja Hoek-Smit

Marja Hoek-Smit, Director and Founder of the International Housing Finance Program at the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center has retired from the Center. Despite retiring from the Center, Marja will continue to teach at Wharton on a part-time basis.

Faculty Awards

Zell/Lurie Associate Director, Asuka Nakahara received the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence by Non-Standing Faculty this Spring. This award is the University’s highest honor for teaching by non-tenure track faculty. To receive this award is a tremendous achievement and testament to Asuka’s dedication to mentorship and teaching.

Members’ Meetings in 2021

Twice a year, Zell/Lurie hosts Members’ Meetings where our members and their guests gather to enjoy talks by industry leaders and network. The Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 Meetings were held as virtual teleconferences.

Spring Members’ Meeting
April 30, 2021

Fall Members’ Meeting
October 22, 2021

Awards from the Spring Meeting

Every year at the Spring Members’ Meeting, awards are given to deserving students who have exhibited strong leadership and academic prowess. Additional recognition is given to faculty award winners, as well as a list of members and non-members who went out of their way to connect with our students in the virtual classroom, on a career panel, as mentors, or as special visitors. To view the entire 2021 award booklet, please click here.

Expansion of Global Programming

On November 10, 2020, Zell/Lurie members and Europe’s most influential real estate professionals tuned in for the seventh annual Grayken Program in International Real Estate London event. This year’s event was hosted over Zoom. James Seppala, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, facilitated a Fireside Chat with Chris Grigg, Chief Executive of British Land. The program concluded with a panel on the future of offices featuring panelists Ekene Ezulike, Managing Director, Global Head of Corporate Services and Corporate Real Estate at, Morgan Stanley; Adam Shah, Head of Asset Management for Europe at Blackstone; and François Trausch, Global CEO of Allianz Real Estate.

On December 1, 2020, Zell/Lurie held its third annual Grayken Program in International Real Estate Asia event over Zoom. Andrew Staples, Director of Research and Outreach at the Hinrich Foundation kicked off the short program with a keynote speech. A panel on How U.S. – China Relations Inform Investing in Asia Post-COVID and the Future of Office followed featuring, panelists Rushabh Desai, Chief Executive Officer of Allianz Real Estate Asia Pacific; Jeffrey Perlman, Managing Director and Head of Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific Real Estate at Warburg Pincus; and Jon Paul Toppino, Group President of PAG.

The Center is delighted to announce that the eighth annual Grayken Program in International Real Estate will be held on May 18, 2022, at the Royal Automobile Club in London.

Research Sponsor Events

Sal Khan, founder and CEO of Khan Academy, met with Research Sponsors before the Spring 2021 Members’ Meeting on the evening of April 29, 2021. Khan Academy is a nonprofit educational organization that offers free lessons in math, science and humanities in multiple languages, as well as tools for parents, teachers and districts to track student progress.

Dr. Kelly Hereid, Director of Catastrophe R&D, Liberty Mutual, met with Research Sponsors before the Fall 2021 Members’ Meeting on the evening of October 21, 2021. Dr. Kelly Hereid lead a discussion titled, “Changing Tail Risks and Their Implications for Business Owners.”

Changes to the Zell/Lurie Advisory Board

In Spring 2021 Ronald J. Kravit, Senior Managing Director at Tracker Capital Management, LLC, assumed the position of Chair to the Advisory Board, and Andrew Jonas, Co-Head Real Estate Department at Goldman Sachs, became Vice-Chair.

The Center would like to recognize our previous chair Matthew J. Lustig, Chairman of Investment Banking, North America and Head of Real Estate & Lodging at Lazard, for his tenure as Chair of the Zell/Lurie Advisory Board. Matt has provided continuous support and displayed exemplary leadership throughout the past three years. 

Student Programming and Activities

Ballard Executive Program

The Ballard Executive Speaker Program Zell/Lurie’s Ballard Executive Speaker program remains extremely popular among our students. In 2021, twelve Research Sponsors visited campus as Ballard Executives. These informal discussions are of tremendous value to our students, as indicated by their attendance and active participation. The Ballard Executive Speakers of 2021 were:

February 3, 2021 Alan Feldman Almanac Realty Investors
February 17, 2021 Adam Gallistel GIC Real Estate Inc
March 4, 2021 Jacob Reiter Verde Capital Corp
March 17, 2021 Martin Kravit Royal Abstract
April 15, 2021 Gillian Cho Amherst
April 7, 2021 Adam Schwartz Angelo Gordon
April 30, 2021 and September 30, 2021 Marty Burger Silverstein Properties
October 5, 2021 Saul Goldstein ActivumSG Capital Management
October 12, 2021 Andy Jonas Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC
October 27, 2021 Ron Kravit Tracker Capital Management
November 9, 2021 Roy March Eastdil Secured
November 17, 2021 Jacob Reiter Verde Capital Corp
December 1, 2021 Neil H. Shah Hersha Hotels & Resorts

ARGUS Training

Zell/Lurie funded a virtual ARGUS training on November 13 & 14, 2021. This year’s two-day training was based on both student and member feedback on the importance of ARGUS experience for students entering the real estate industry. This was the fifth consecutive year Zell/Lurie funded Argus training.

Mentor and Mentee Program 2021

This year, Zell/Lurie matched 87 students to 79 volunteer career mentors. The Career Mentor Program remains popular among students, with participants from all five of the Zell/Lurie supported real estate clubs.

Student Real Estate Clubs

Zell/Lurie funds and assists the five University of Pennsylvania Real Estate Clubs. In 2021, the Real Estate Clubs kept up with case competitions, domestic treks, campus events, and more:

Highlights from the MBA Real Estate Club

On April 2021, the Wharton School took first place at the University of Miami’s Impact Investing in Commercial Real Estate Case Competition. The Wharton team, comprised of three graduate students and one undergraduate student, placed first out of 14 teams. Their winning project “17th Street Crossing” proposed a business and community hub that would catalyze an innovation ecosystem in North Philadelphia, providing long-term economic and workforce development solutions.

After University travel restrictions were lifted this semester, the Wharton MBA club began to schedule numerous treks and case competitions. On October 8, 2021, The Wharton Real Estate Club traveled to New York City. Club members were able to take a tour of Hudson yards and were hosted by Related and Hines. Afterward, the Club hosted a happy hour with alumni based in New York City.

Highlights from the Undergraduate Real Estate Club

On November 5, 2021, The Wharton Undergraduate Real Estate Club traveled to New York to partake in small-group conversations with industry leaders from Brookfield, Silverstein Properties, and Vornado Realty Trust.

Highlights from the Penn Student Women in Real Estate

The Penn Women in Real Estate (PSWiRE) Club hosted its second annual Spring Symposium in March 2021. This year’s event focused on real estate disruptions and featured a variety of panels on topics including diversity & inclusion, market outlook, entrepreneurship, and proptech. Speakers included: Cia Buckley Marakovits, President & Chief Investment Officer of Dune Real Estate Partners; Anar Chudgar, Managing Director at Artemis Real Estate Partners; Olivia John, Founder of Osso Capital; and Jami Passer, Chief Investment Officer at EDENS.

Other Events

The Eric and Beth Schlager Lecture on Entrepreneurship Series

The 10th Annual Eric and Beth Schlager Lecture Series on Real Estate Entrepreneurship featured Ronald J. Kravit, Senior Managing Director, Tracker Capital Management; Vice-Chair, Advisory Board, Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center at the Wharton School. The event was held virtually over Zoom on February 23, 2021, with both members and students in attendance. Mr. Kravit provided students with career advice and insight into multiple sectors of the real estate industry.

20th Annual Career Fair

The Center hosted its first-ever virtual Career Fair on January 22, 2021. This year, 65 companies attended the Zell/Lurie Career Fair, held virtually through VFairs. The Center would like to thank the companies listed below for their participation.

Upcoming Events in 2022

Current Members

Below are the lists of Research Sponsors, Sustaining Members, Associate Members and new members of 2021.

Previous Winter Newsletters

2020 · 2019 · 2018

Interested in becoming a member? Take a look at our Membership Page for more information.


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