Jennifer Allford for Alberta Real Estate Foundation
Arshpreet Baidwan spends a lot of time talking about the different facets of the real estate industry with students at the University of Calgary. A fourth-year student at the Haskayne School of Business, she’s a licensed realtor, program advisor for Haskayne’s Westman Centre for Real Estate Studies and the president of the Real Estate Student Association, a student club dedicated to promoting careers in real estate and land development.
Baidwan is also the daughter and granddaughter of realtors. “I grew up seeing the industry because my dad is a real estate agent here and in India. I’ve met a lot of people working in the industry,” she says. “I watched a lot of HGTV in junior high and high school and I used to go to a lot of show homes in new communities. That’s where I found my passion for residential real estate.”
That passion has been fueled by getting involved with the Westman Centre at the Haskayne School of Business, which launched the province’s first real estate specialization for undergraduate and graduate business students. And while Baidwan can’t take the speciality—she was already in her third year of studies when the program launched in September 2017—the finance major is taking real estate courses, case competitions and, as program advisor, she plans and manages events at the Westman Centre.
“We have a lot of student engagement and networking events aimed at increasing program awareness on campus and letting students know that we have a real estate studies program and exposing them to different career paths in the industry,” she says. “A lot of students don’t understand that there are so many different aspects to the industry.” Baidwan happily tells them about potential careers—from being a broker in residential or commercial real estate to working in asset management, land development or property management.
“The real estate industry is one of the largest industries in the world and it affects everyone around the globe in some capacity,” says Jessica Abt, the Director for the Westman Centre. “Arshpreet’s desire to learn, engage with industry and invest her time and talent for the benefit of students and industry makes her a great fit for this ever-changing industry.”
Baidwan will graduate with a BComm in 2019 and is deciding where she will take her love for and expertise in real estate. She likes the idea of land development and working on an “open canvas” to create a community. “I’d love to work for a land developer and see where it takes me,” she says. “I think I’d like working with urban planners and getting creative on what should be built. I also like the due diligence part of land development as well as talking to customers and marketing the project.”
The industry is looking forward to welcoming Baidwan and other graduates who have studied real estate through the Westman Centre. “We’re excited to have a school of this stature in our midst,” says Alan Tennant, CEO of the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB). “It creates a place for thought and discussion and knowledge to be expressed and shared. A lot of that was happening on an ad hoc basis of course, but having it take place in an institution of higher learning and higher thought is the ultimate validation that this is important work.”
As she settles into her last year of business school, Baidwan will continue to spread the word to her classmates about the different careers waiting for them in real estate. “It’s such an exciting industry, she says. “You can make a difference in a city and you can be part of making communities. I want to contribute to that.”