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Chicago’s Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate Brings Commercial Real Estate to Teens of Color, Announces High School Summer Program

March 26, 2021

The Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University (MBIRE) announced today it is hosting a virtual two-week summer program that will expose high school students of color from Chicago and across the country to top college and career opportunities in commercial real estate. The MBIRE Real Estate Exchange (REEX) Summer Program session will be offered virtually July 12-23 and may include some in-person components if COVID-19 protocols allow.

Students can apply at, and will need to provide a resume, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation prior to the March 31 deadline. Applicants should have a GPA above 3.0.

“What has become apparent is that we need to educate youth about a successful career in commercial real estate way before they start college,” said Collete English Dixon, executive director of MBIRE, which offers one of the country’s most diverse graduate real estate programs with the school’s Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE), often drawing at least 50% Black students and people of color. “This program is an excellent way to bolster the pipeline of diverse talent for the next generation of industry leaders.

“We will break down the complexity and mystery of the business world so teens can get a new vision for their future,” she added. “They will learn from people of color who are CEOs, founders or managing principals, and it will give them an idea of their job possibilities.”

During the 10-day commercial real estate learning program, students will apply knowledge gained in market analysis, design, development and financial analysis to a final Shark Tank-style presentation of a case study for developing an underutilized site. The MBIRE team will compete against teens led by faculty at other hosting universities nationwide in a final presentation. Winners will receive a monetary award from sponsors.

MBIRE first hosted the REEX program in the summer of 2019 when a cohort of 19 students toured a property in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood, then broke into groups to devise a redevelopment plan for the property. After receiving feedback and guidance, the groups presented their final plan to senior professionals who identified the most successful pitch.

“The students came up with some really innovative concepts for transforming the site and enhancing the community,” English Dixon said. “For this year’s virtual REEX program, we will offer equally challenging case studies for the teams, complete with video tours and detailed information about local market conditions to provide everything students will need for their creative proposals.”

MBIRE’s 2020 summer program was canceled due to the pandemic. And while this year’s virtual REEX session will look different from the 2019 program, English Dixon said MBIRE’s faculty is eager to engage with teens interested in commercial real estate. “Like all of us, Chicago’s high school students gained a unique perspective to the events of this past year and probably learned some new skills, so we can’t wait to see what they bring to the table.”

Sponsored by the Real Estate Executive Council (REEC) and the commercial real estate development association NAIOP, the program offers high-achieving teens from challenging economic circumstances a chance to learn about going to college while connecting with other students from diverse backgrounds.

The program includes online learning about business and commercial real estate fundamentals through small groups and classroom modules; virtual tours of properties, offices and neighborhoods; small-group interviews of presenters and guests; speed networking with industry professionals; conversations about what to expect at college; advice and discussions with university admissions officers; essay writing; access to scholarships, internships and mentorships; icebreakers, games, socials and team-building exercise; and access to prominent CRE professionals, trade association partners, university faculty and admissions officers and current enrolled college students as peer leaders.

The two-week program costs $750, however need-based, full scholarships will be available. Students can request to join a specific team, but pairing will be done by REEX. All REEX participants will have access to tours and admissions presentations from all university partners.

About Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate:

Established in 2002, the Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate at Roosevelt University (MBIRE) is a leading Chicago-based institution of higher learning offering master’s and undergraduate degrees as well as certificate programs in real estate. MBIRE also informs, connects and advances real estate professionals through events featuring industry-leading speakers and panelists. Conveniently located in the heart of Chicago’s Loop, MBIRE offers flexible and specialized programs geared toward successfully preparing professionals for today’s real estate challenges. MBIRE has graduated more than 350 students, many of whom hold leadership positions in development, investment, brokerage and property management in the residential and commercial real estate sectors. MBIRE graduates work at firms such as JLL, Lendlease, CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Libcor, Avis & Young, Barings and Chicago Public Schools just to name a few. For more information, visit

About REEX:

Founded in 2016, the Real Estate Exchange (REEX) Summer Programs are aimed at addressing the dearth of African Americans and Latinos working within the commercial real estate (CRE) industry. REEX aims to expose 1,500 top talent, diverse teens to careers in the CRE industry by 2023.


The Marshall Bennett Institute of Real Estate hosted a Real Estate Exchange (REEX) Summer Program in 2019 that exposed 19 teens of color to the commercial real estate industry. MBIRE will host the REEX program virtually this summer. The deadline to apply is March 31.