CCIM Education Evolves

Though the term hybrid model usually evokes visions of compact cars with alternative fuel systems, the CCIM Institute has created its own unique prototype that is poised to revolutionize commercial real estate education. On Feb. 21, CCIM's new hybrid education model - a combination of online and in-class coursework - debuted in New York and Atlanta, with more courses scheduled to roll out nationwide throughout the year.

Commercial Investment Real Estate asked CCIM Senior Instructor Jeffrey Engelstad, CCIM, to give readers a glimpse into the new hybrid model's format and features. Engelstad, who also teaches at the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business, has been instrumental in developing and teaching CCIM's online courses since their debut in early 2010. With extensive experience as a broker, developer, and investor, Engelstad frequently consults on real-world projects in addition to his roles as university professor and CCIM instructor.

CIRE: Tell us about CCIM's new hybrid education model. What can students expect from it?

Engelstad: The hybrid model contains the best of both worlds: Expanded time to learn, digest, and apply concepts, along with concentrated face-to-face time to hone skills, dig deeper, network, and learn in a traditional in-class environment. It's four online sessions over two weeks to get the concepts, followed by a week of reflection before heading into the classroom for two-and-a-half days to master the content and application and to network with fellow classmates. The online sessions prepare students for maximum performance in the classroom, and there is no such thing as downtime. Yet this format can be great for students with busy schedules as well.

CIRE: Who are the ideal types of students for CCIM's online and hybrid education formats?

Engelstad: The online and hybrid courses are distinctly different experiences. The biggest differences are the ease and level of interaction. The online format is suited for students who are comfortable learning and being fully engaged in a virtual environment. Students who enjoy and excel in online classes do not feel they need to be in the same room or even in the same state to have meaningful interaction with their instructors and their peers. However, online courses require a great deal of self-discipline and self-motivation. An advantage of the hybrid model's format is that it offers both the online and classroom components. Preparation and assignments must be completed prior to the live classroom session, which provides a framework for students. Some students need - or prefer - a structured but flexible educational experience, and that's precisely what the hybrid model provides.

CIRE: CCIM's instructors are lauded for infusing real-world applications into the courses they teach. What advantage does this provide to students?

Engelstad: I have been a university professor for more than 15 years and I have never seen such passion and relevance as I see in CCIM instructors. The institute's faculty members are teaching students the way business actually works in today's market. The institute's faculty comprises industry leaders who combine practical insight with great technical skills, which is a major advantage.

CIRE: What does the designation program offer to students who already have graduate degrees in real estate?

Engelstad: CCIM has an increasing number of students with graduate degrees and it is amazing how they value the CCIM education. The CCIM designation is an excellent complement to graduate real estate programs. Graduate education provides depth and breadth of study, and professional education, such as CCIM's, provides precisely targeted and immediately useful tools, applications, and content knowledge.It's like a driver and a putter - very different but both essential to the game.

CIRE: What does the CCIM program offer in a difficult time like today's commercial real estate market?

Engelstad: Real practitioners deliver relevant content that students can apply immediately. That relevance is the cornerstone of CCIM education and what has sustained the CCIM brand over so many years. And a large part of this relevance comes in the curriculum design and delivery. I am always pleased when a successful, experienced student stops me to say that he wishes he would have taken the CCIM program years ago.In my opinion, it is all about the relevance.


Jennifer Norbut is senior editor of Commercial Investment Real Estate. If you have a story worth sharing in CCIM Q&A, send it to

Jennifer Norbut

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