People.cn Interview with Director Albert Saiz
1. What was the initial purpose of MIT in establishing this MSRED degree?
Prof. Albert Saiz: Historically, many individuals who work in real estate have acquired their skills on the job. However, as the business of real estate has become more complex in structure and more international in scope, the industry has recognized the need for a more sophisticated and specialized education. Meanwhile, the US real estate industry was experiencing a deepening, from a build-and-sell-quick paradigm to an increased focus on quality and the development of secondary markets: investments, property management, investments management, leasing, secondary transactions, infill re-development, renovations on the existing stock. This shift in the real estate industry also required sophisticated knowledge and education. In 1983 an MIT alum, Charles “Hank” Spaulding established the Center for Real Estate at MIT. Spaulding was a prominent real estate developer himself, and he had the vision to improve the quality of the built environment and to promote a more informed professional practice within the global real estate industry. MIT’s one-year MSRED program, the first in the country, educates students in the full range of skills required of real estate professionals, from finance, construction, human capital to urban planning, physical design, law, contracts, asset management, microeconomics, and so on.
2. In your mission, you mentioned “socially responsible real estate development and investment,” can you elaborate on this?
Prof. Albert Saiz: In 2015, Samuel Tak Lee Real Estate Entrepreneurship Lab was established thanks to a generous gift from alumnus Mr. Samuel Tak Lee. The mission of the lab is to examine urbanization and real estate development issues worldwide, with a particular focus on China. With the generous support of the Samuel Tak Lee fellowship, we wish to create a new generation of socially-responsible entrepreneurs and academics within the field of real estate. A good education is about creating values. Socially-responsible real estate should create a sense of place and generate positive environmental and social impacts on our community. For the real estate industry to maintain its responsible leadership in the global community, it must encourage a culture of sustainability and innovation that meets the challenges of an increasingly interconnected world.