Topic: College of Applied Sciences and Technology
September 10, 2015
This rendering shows the Weidner Center, which features interview rooms, a
resource desk and a public lobby with video monitors for marketing the program
Blake McBee likes to tell people that Ball State's residential property management program is the university's hidden gem.
"Not a lot of people know about the program and the benefits it has to offer," said McBee, a senior from Brownsburg, Indiana. "In my time here, I've yet to hear of another major with as many opportunities for students as this one."
Administrators hope that will change with the unveiling of Ball State's Weidner Center for Residential Property Management. Located on the first floor of the renovated Applied Technology Building, the Weidner Center features interview rooms, a resource desk and a public lobby with video monitors for marketing the program and industry.
Dean Weidner, owner of Weidner Apartment Homes, wants his gift to elevate Ball State's residential property management (RPM) program to national status. The $1 million donation will help expand the program, which includes establishing the center.
"The center's in a high-visibility area of the building, which will allow us to showcase what we do with current students as well as campus visitors," said Erin Donovan, program director. "It's exciting to receive this level of financial backing as a show of support."
owner of Weidner Apartment Homes
|"As the need for skilled workers has become more urgent in the last decade, Weidner Apartment Homes has recognized the importance of supporting postsecondary programs dedicated to the education and development of the next wave of professionals coming into our industry. I am pleased to partner with Ball State University and the innovative programs they’ve developed over the last 16 in the residential property management field. My hope is that this gift will allow the university to further expand its course offerings and provide a hands-on classroom environment that attracts even more students to pursue either their undergraduate or graduate RPM degree."
Students graduate with 'as many as five job offers'
Donovan aims to increase the number of undergraduate students in the program to 100 from the current 50 within five years. As demand for rental housing in the U.S. has surged, so has the need for college-educated graduates who can manage multimillion-dollar apartment communities, she explained.
That means graduates of Ball State’s RPM program, the only one in the state, are "coming out of school with as many as five job offers, in places all over the country."
"Not a lot of people know about the program and the benefits it has to offer. In my time here, I've yet to hear of another major with as many opportunities for students as this one."
— Blake McBee,
residential property management student
While at Ball State, students in the program are exposed to various opportunities, from internships and conferences to mentoring and scholarships.
In three years' time, McBee has had two internships—the first in Indianapolis and a second in Denver—and attended national conferences in Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida.
"The connections I made at each of these events were invaluable, and the educational sessions I attended were a great way to gauge current industry trends."
Students like McBee often receive some financial support to participate in such events, Donovan said, through the program's advisory board of property management companies throughout the country.
"We have what's called Face-to-Face with members of the advisory board," said junior Rachel Biasi. "Students give presentations to them and then conduct interviews in the hopes of obtaining an internship or employment."
Now, as these companies come to Ball State, they can interview students at the Weidner Center, Donovan said.
Program one of only nine in country
Ball State's residential property management program began in 1999. Today it is one of only nine such university-based RPM programs in the country, offering undergraduate, graduate and online courses. Plans are underway to offer an introduction to commercial real estate management course in spring 2016.
Donovan, a program graduate, loves sharing with students the wide range of careers available with an RPM degree.
"From marketing and management to leasing and accounting, there's something for everyone."
Students take courses in property management, senior housing, government-assisted housing, marketing, leasing and apartment financial management. They must also complete at least one internship, with most completing multiple ones.
Since 2013, about 50 Ball State students have interned with or been hired by Weidner, a Washington state-based company with property holdings throughout the Western United States and Canada.
One of them is senior Amie Cipolla, who interned at a Weidner-owned property in Texas.
"The company set everything up for me. All I had to do was show up."
Cipolla is looking forward to using the Weidner Center to study, network and show off her major.
"I think it's going to bring a lot of attention from the campus community, even if it just gets people to stop by and do their homework in the lounge area."
Study Residential Property Management
Do you like the thought of having multiple job offers upon graduation thanks to employers' continuously keen interest in our students?
Learn more about residential property management.