A New Intro
CCIM education reaches for a broader audience.
The more some things
change, the more others remain the same.
“IRR is IRR is IRR,” says
Mark J. Polon, CCIM, founder of Polon Consulting, a CCIM senior instructor, and
director of CCIM Institute’s Ward Center for Real Estate Studies. “The concept
of the internal rate of return is the same as it was 20 years ago: It’s a
concept that doesn’t change despite the changing market, and it’s still an
integral part of the CCIM designation curriculum.”
While such concepts remain
the bedrock of the commercial real estate industry, other aspects of the
business of buying, selling, and financing investment real estate have
undergone massive changes: a wave of mergers and acquisitions among national
and regional brands has consolidated the industry; a recession has emphasized
the need for diversification of skills and services; and the now-growing market
is rife with skittish investors with a very low risk tolerance.
To serve this evolving
industry, the CCIM education program is adding new ways to stay current. The
result is a continuing commitment to upholding the standards of the designation
curriculum while at the same time expanding the Ward Center courses to provide
commercial real estate education at many levels, in many different formats, for
many different professionals.
The success of the Ward
Center has shown that a broad range of business professionals are interested in
commercial real estate education, but they want shorter, more-targeted
education available in different formats. “Education needs to be timely and
relevant,” Polon says, “not only in terms of the material presented but also
the way it’s presented.”
That interest has led to a
revitalizing of the CCIM Institute’s two-day live course Introduction to
Commercial Real Estate Analysis. An elective course, the two-day overview still
serves as an introduction to the financial analysis tools used in commercial
The redesigned CI Intro
course is now reaching for a wider audience: residential as well as commercial
brokers; allied professionals who work in real estate, such as lawyers,
lenders, and CPAs; analysts working for REITs and equity firms; and graduates
of university real estate programs.
This reinvention meets the
needs of a more-focused generation of career professionals. Given the current
economy and job market, people want to know as much as they can before making a
career decision, particularly in a field as potentially risky as commercial
real estate. “Especially those interested in brokerage,” Polon says. “For
brokers, it can be a long time before you see your first commission check.
Deals are more complicated today; even the simplest deals take a long time.
First-time brokers need to be prepared for the wait.”
The material emphasizes
the skills and knowledge required for a successful career, along with a look at
the tools used in the process of “doing” commercial real estate, Polon says.
“It’s designed to help professionals understand how the business works and to
answer a few questions for them. Am I cut out for this business? Do I have the
requisite skills to be in this business? What knowledge do I need? And once
acquired, how do I go about inserting myself in the business? How do I find my
The course curriculum
includes creating a marketing strategy both for the individual as well as for
the asset they choose to represent. In addition, the course introduces
participants to demographic analysis using STDB and other technology tools that
are integral to success in today’s market.
Starting in June, CCIM
chapters and other sponsors will begin offering the new CI Intro course as a
two-day live presentation. “Chapters can invite a broad range of participants,
hold a networking event on the first evening of the course, and expose them to
the profession, the designation, chapter members, and the CCIM education
process,” Polon says.
After the initial training
and roll-out, other formats will be developed as well: online, self-paced, and
shorter live presentations, depending on the needs of the audience. The course
will be available to university real estate programs, along with brokerage
franchises, corporations, and related real estate organizations. “The course
will showcase the designation and promote it to a wider range of
professionals,” Polon says.
Ward Courses Expand With
the Changing Market
The first wave of the Ward
Center for Real Estate Studies courses focus on financial analysis skills and
include one-day classroom courses in Financial Analysis Tools for Commercial
Real Estate and Residential Real Estate Financial Analysis. The online Ward
courses cover more specific topics, including time value of money concepts,
Excel-based financial analysis, and a number of other analysis methods.
Expanding on the success
of these courses, the Ward Center is launching new offerings that include a
number of business-related courses. “We want to reach a wider audience with
basic business skills — communication, business writing, how to write a
proposal,” explains Mark J. Polon, CCIM, director of the Ward Center.
For example, Polon
developed a 90-minute instructor-led demonstration on Communications Skills for
Business Professionals. “It has has to do with talking, listening, and
presenting — skills that are essential in commercial real estate but also in
other businesses,” he says. In addition, more-focused, industry-specific
courses are available such as Understanding Argus, which demonstrates how to
replicate Argus calculations in Excel among other techniques.
Visit the Ward Center
online to see the range of course offerings and register at: