The quest for new opportunities and success at the top levels of the real estate industry drove Ryan McDowell to FIU’s Hollo School of Real Estate and its Master of Science in International Real Estate (MSIRE) program.
The program’s finance focus gave McDowell the tools to break new ground. Today, he is vice president and real estate advisory specialist for the Southeast region at Wells Fargo, where he focuses on new real estate assets and client relationships.
Over the course of his career, McDowell has completed over 500 transactions in 21 states. In 2012, determined to broaden his career and set himself apart from new industry entrants, McDowell turned to FIU’s MSIRE program.
“The positions I was looking at all seemed to be screaming for what MSIRE offered,” said McDowell, who graduated in 2013. “I already had a four-year degree and needed to take it to the next level in order to establish my long-term objectives.”
Armed with his degree, McDowell is an advisor to clients, regional wealth management leaders, top-level sales professionals and relationship managers, and other wealth specialists who comprise the client’s service team. At Wells Fargo, he develops real estate asset management strategies for complex portfolios.
“A lot of our clients made significant wealth in real estate, and we are able to assist them when they are ready to take a more passive role by managing their real estate assets and developing a strategy to increase return and reduce risk,” said McDowell. “We buy, sell and manage real estate investments for high net worth individuals who are seeking diversification in their investments or perhaps dissatisfied with in the performance of their stocks and/or bonds.”
One area ripe for increased investment is industrial real estate. Since people are unfamiliar with these properties, their comfort level is lower and that creates opportunities for sophisticated investors that do understand this asset class, McDowell explained.
“As many stores have been replaced by online retailers, the distribution demand has changed,” he added. “Everyone is expecting to get their purchase within hours, so you need to have a local presence to store, process and deliver these orders.”
Looking at the next decade.
Ten years ago, FIU’s College of Business established the MSIRE program with a clear mission: to provide graduates with the vision and skills to become leaders in an increasingly global real estate market. The program has grown into national prominence and is shaping the next generation of real estate leaders.
FIU’s MSIRE program counts 91 current students and 322 alumni. The Hollo School is ranked #1 in the U.S. and #2 globally for real estate research by the Journal of Real Estate Literature.
As MSIRE celebrates its 10th anniversary, McDowell reflected on what made the program the right fit for continued success in his career.
“I learned to value real estate as a series of cash flows over time that determines the value of the investment,” said McDowell. “That was the most important difference between how I looked at real estate before the program and after the program.”
An increasingly international destination, Miami is drawing more wealthy investors who require specialized attention and financial sophistication. That’s where McDowell is focusing on for the next 10 years of his career.
“The MSIRE established a higher standard in the real estate industry,” said McDowell. “I want to grow further in the area I’m currently in and where I’ve made connections with high net worth clients and centers of influence. The real estate industry is changing and becoming more sophisticated and it’s important that we evolve as well in order to keep up with the increased complexity of our business.”