It was a dark and stormy night. But torrential rains on December 4, 2015 didn’t stop Hollo School of Real Estate students, professors, alumni and local business leaders connected with the FIU College of Business from attending a year-end celebration.
About 140 people attended the event, held at the Metropolis Ballroom at the downtown Epic Hotel. Along with their refreshments, guests enjoyed seeing the evolving Miami skyline and the robust development that drew many to the profession to begin with.
As it turned out, braving the rain was worth it.
Hollo School director William G. Hardin III, and associate director Isabel Lopez Miranda had a surprise announcement: the school was just ranked first in the U.S., and second globally, for faculty research in a study to published in the Journal of Real Estate Literature.
“Everybody was exhilarated and really happy,” said Eileen Cardelle, who is an alumna of the FIU Master of Science in International Real Estate program as well as MSIRE Admissions Operations Development Manager and Advisor to Real Estate Student Association, RESA at FIU.
“Our faculty is amazing.”
Attending the party were some of the professors cited in the study, whose contributions helped Hollo earn the top designation: Hardin, Zhenguo Lin, Eli Beracha, and Zhonghua Wu.
No surprise to some.
Hardin said that given the quality of the Hollo faculty, the high ranking was not a bolt from the blue. “Our faculty are very attentive to the research in the field and who is doing this research,” he said. “To get an article published in a peer reviewed academic journal is an arduous task. The acceptance rate at many journals is in the 10 percent range.”
He added that faculty research is more than carrying out and writing up a study. “In academic research, the goal is to provide new insights. So, by doing research and by reviewing peer research, active researchers are way ahead of the learning curve,” he said.
What’s more, research today goes beyond academia, Hardin noted, pointing out that real estate research impacts the investment world, as institutional investors, such as pension funds, hunger for intelligence about real estate investment and market trends.
The advantage of having top-notch professors wasn’t lost on students in attendance.
“I didn’t know what to expect when starting a new program,” said Enrique Piñeiro, who will graduate in the summer with a master’s in international real estate. “I have been impressed and astonished by the caliber of what we are learning from those professors. It’s incredible.”
Piñeiro, director of property management and leasing at the Coral Gables-based Allen Morris Company, is an FIU alumni, having earned his undergraduate degree in real estate in 2003, and serves on the FIU alumni board.
As an example of the real-world impact of faculty research, Piñeiro said he recently cited a study by one of his professors, Beracha, in a work-place presentation about Florida markets and real estate momentum.
“Technology is changing our industry, and there is a plethora of research,” he said. “It’s important to find it and understand it – it’s great to know we have people like that working at FIU.”