Robert Lockman is pretty rooted in the Twin Cities, where he owns a real estate brokerage firm specializing in multifamily properties, a cabinet wholesaling business, and a renovation company. He earned an undergraduate degree in hospitality management and realized he could use formal training in finance and build skills to increase his marketability down the road. He conducted considerable research and decided the Master of Science in Commercial Real Estate at the Robinson College of Business best aligned with his career goals. Robinson is located on the other side of the country in Atlanta. Fortunately, the program can be completed online, allowing Lockman to attend class as well as take care of business in Minnesota.

“Robinson is a step above the options I have locally, and it’s ranked high on every list,” Lockman said. “The courses are designed to help students understand real estate from an owner-operator’s perspective. I’m on the principal side, so that was super attractive to me.”

Lockman found Jon Wiley’s Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Asset Management course rigorous as well as essential to advancing his knowledge. Wiley left no stone unturned, covering topics such as acquisition decision making, leasing and property management, asset enhancement, dispositions, and portfolio management.

“Real estate isn’t always straightforward, and Jon is great at making information easy to understand,” Lockman said. “He held us accountable for learning the math and terminology we need to know to further our careers. The numbers side of the industry is important if you want to do anything outside of leasing or tenant rep.”

In Lynn McKee’s CRE Finance class, Lockman and a group of classmates presented a loan request package to a mock bank board comprising employees at Truist, where McKee also works as senior vice president. The presentation included the whole shebang: an investment strategy, underwriting, and overall property goals.

“Being able to deliver a pitch is applicable beyond a loan request,” Lockman said. “It’s helpful in making the case for investment opportunities as well.”

Lockman is most stoked about a course in his current mini-mester, CRE Development, which focuses on the sector of the industry he recently began to tackle.

“The multifamily market is extremely bullish,” he said. “Returns and deals are hard to find, so adding value through developments is a great way to engineer that.”

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