David Shulman, former managing director and head REIT Analyst at Lehman Brothers, is the new assistant director of the AREIT (Applied Real Estate Investment Track) for the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business. Shulman will teach and oversee a group of three second-year Real Estate MBA students who to manage a $1.2 million portfolio of publicly traded REIT stocks throughout the academic year. Shulman is also a visiting professor in the Department of Real Estate.
Shulman expects his students to “eat, drink and sleep real estate securities,” and he makes it his job to question their strategy and guide them toward resources. “I view myself as a coach in the investment process,” he said, and like any good coach, Shulman brings to his position a wealth of experience. Most recently, he was managing director and head REIT analyst at Lehman Brothers. From 1989 to 1997 Shulman was at Salomon Brothers where he held various positions, including Director of Real Estate Research and Chief Equity Strategist.
“We are extremely fortunate to have someone with David’s knowledge and experience associated with AREIT. He is a terrific teacher and mentor, and will undoubtedly help elevate the program to an even higher plain,” says Tim Riddiough, Graaskamp Center Director.
Established in 1999, AREIT is a unique track within the MBA program in real estate and was started with $400,000 donated by alumni and friends of the Wisconsin real estate program. It is a joint effort between UW’s top-ranked real estate program and the finance department’s highly regarded Applied Security Analysis Program (ASAP). The program provides state-of-the art education in understanding real estate as valued in exchange-traded capital markets. Selected students undertake formal coursework in preparation for a year-long course in which they will actively manage a portfolio of publicly traded REITs and real estate operating companies.
When the academic year begins, the student team has one month to form an investment management “firm” that has an organizational structure, an economic outlook, an investment philosophy and a disciplined strategy that will be executed throughout the year. The team then presents their portfolio management proposal and results throughout the year to the AREIT advisory board, which consists of top industry executives. Since AREIT’s inception, the student teams have consistently beat the industry average for all but one year.
Shulman wants his students to come away from the class with a better understanding of the real world investing. “The best investor or the worst investor could make money in an eight month period,” Shulman said. For this reason, he emphasizes the thought process and evaluates students the same way professional money managers are evaluated – if the market goes down 10 percent it is the students’ goal to go down less than 10 percent.
“The biggest challenge for the students is understanding how the stock market works, which is the biggest challenge for all of us,” Shulman said.