Christopher J. Mayer
Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate
Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate
Real Estate Entrepreneurship
Distressed Real Estate Investing
EMBA Block Week Course: Real Estate as an Asset as a Business
Christopher Mayer is the Paul Milstein Professor of Real Estate at Columbia Business School. His research explores a variety of topics in real estate and financial markets, including housing cycles, mortgage markets, debt securitization, and commercial real estate valuation. Dr. Mayer is also CEO of Longbridge Financial, an innovative reverse mortgage company focused on delivering responsible home equity products to older Americans to help finance retirement. Professor Mayer serves as a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a Director of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, and a member of the Academic Advisory Boards for Standard and Poor’s and the Housing Policy Center at the Urban Institute. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Dr. Mayer is active in the media and advising policymakers, testifying six times before committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, writing a paper for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, and authoring numerous op-ed articles in major publications. Dr. Mayer previously served as Senior Vice Dean at Columbia Business School and held positions at The Wharton School, the University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. He earned a BS in Math and Economics from the University of Rochester with highest honors and a PhD in Economics from MIT.
Real Estate Finance
PropTech and Real Estate Disruption
Tomasz Piskorski is the Edward S. Gordon Professor of Real Estate in the Finance Division at Columbia Business School. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves on the Academic Research Council of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. Professor Piskorski earned a M.S. in Mathematics from New York University Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and a Ph.D. in Economics from New York University Stern School of Business.
Professor Piskorski’s research explores issues in real estate finance, securities and mortgage markets, financial intermediation and banking, market structure and regulation, and housing policy. His recent work centers on inefficiencies in credit markets, financial technology, shadow banking, financial regulation, mortgage market reform, and the impact of consumer credit markets on the broader economy. Professor Piskorski’s research has been published in top academic journals in economics and finance as well as featured in major media, including the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Economist. His research and market views have been presented at an array of academic, governmental, and financial institutions, including the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the London Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Banks, the European Central Bank, the National Association of Home Builders, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson Center. Professor Piskorski has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. He received the AQR Insight Distinguished Paper Award that recognizes research that provides the most significant, new practical insights for tax-exempt institutional or taxable investor portfolios.
Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Finance
Real Estate Finance
Real Estate Entrepreneurship
Real Estate Debt Markets
Residential Real Estate: Dirt, Debt, and Derivatives
Brian P. Lancaster is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Finance at the Columbia University Business School. Professor Lancaster teaches the following courses: Real Estate Finance, Real Estate Debt Markets, Residential Real Estate Finance, Capital Markets, Real Estate Entrepreneurship, and Debt Markets in the MBA and EMBA programs. He is also a faculty sponsor of Chazen Global Study Tours, most recently leading a student real estate study tour to Southeast Asia. Formerly, he taught the Real Estate Capital Markets and Debt Markets and Instruments courses in the MBA and EMBA programs at the Stern School of Business, New York University.
Professor Lancaster is also Founder and President of The Minot Group, LLC, a real estate finance, debt and derivatives markets consulting and investment firm. Domestic and international clients include: Alliance Bernstein, Alinma Investment Co., Centerbridge, China Construction Bank, Citadel, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Fidelity, Fortress, FHLB, Goldman Sachs, Housing Finance Fund of Iceland, McKinley and Co., McKinsey and Co., McGraw Hill, MFS Investment Mgmt., Parthenon Capital, Ping An of China, Verisk, and Wells Fargo. The Minot Group, LLC was voted one of America’s Best Management Consulting Firms by Forbes in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Recent projects include consulting with the FHLB regarding REITs, developing a callable bond program to finance callable residential mortgages, developing a new CRE finance data, analytics and capital markets business for a large global analytics firm and developing two multifamily projects.
Prior to his current work, Professor Lancaster was Managing Director and Co-head of Structured Transactions Analytics, Risk and Strategy and Head of MBS, CMBS, and ABS Strategy at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Prior to joining RBS, Professor Lancaster was the Chief Investment Officer of the $85 billion Real Estate Division of Wells Fargo/Wachovia and Head of Structured Products Research at the same company for nine years. He was also a Managing Director Principal at Bear Stearns where he led research teams in Agency MBS, CMOs and CMBS for eleven years. He was voted by clients onto Institutional Investor’s All America Research team as a top three research analyst for several years. He was also a Senior Economist Capital Markets at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Bank of England in London for five years.
Professor Lancaster received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his MBA from the Stern School of Business, NYU and a Masters of Public and International Affairs from Columbia University where he was selected as an International Fellow.
He is a former Executive Board member of the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, where he testified before the House Financial Services Committee, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Controller of the Currency and the US Treasury Department on the real estate crisis, the capital markets and financial regulations.
Professor Lancaster has published two books, including Structured Products and Related Credit Derivatives with Frank Fabozzi and Glenn Schultz, Wiley Publishing and numerous journal articles on topics related to real estate, capital markets and securitization. He is the former Editor-in Chief of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Journal. He has also lectured occasionally at Duke University and the Wharton School of Business.
Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh
Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate
Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh is the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and Professor of Finance at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, which he joined in July 2018.
His research lies in the intersection of housing, asset pricing, and macroeconomics. One strand of his work studies how financial market liberalization in the mortgage market relaxed households’ down payment constraints, and how that affected the macro-economy, and the prices of stocks and bonds. In this area he has also worked on regional housing prices, households’ mortgage choice, commercial real estate price formation, the impact of foreign buyers on the housing market, and mortgage market design.Professor Van Nieuwerburgh has published articles in the Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review, Econometrica, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial Economics, and theJournal of Monetary Economics, among other journals. He is Editor at theReview of Financial Studies. He is a Faculty Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and at the Center for European Policy Research.
He has served as an advisor to the Norwegian Minister of Finance, and has been a visiting scholar at to the Central Bank of Belgium, the New York and Minneapolis Federal Reserve Banks, the Swedish House of Finance, the International Center for Housing Risk, and has contributed to the World Economic Forum project on real estate price dynamics.
Professor Van Nieuwerburgh was awarded the 15th Edition of the Bérnácer Prize for his research on the transmission of shocks in the housing market on the macro-economy and the prices of financial assets. The Bérnácer Prize is awarded annually to a European economist under the age of 40 who has made significant contributions in the fields of macroeconomics and finance.
Camille Douglas is a senior executive in the real estate industry with over 30 years experience executing real estate transactions and financial strategy including corporate and project level acquisitions and dispositions, debt and equity financing and restructurings and recapitalizations. Her career has also included pioneering work on commercial mortgage back securities and cross border equity investment.
Camille is currently a Senior Managing Director, Acquisitions and Capital Markets, at LeFrak. Since joining the firm in January 2010, she has been responsible for strategic real estate acquisitions and development outside New York and led the company’s expansion into the Miami market in 2011 after focusing on the UK in 2010-2011.
From 1999 to 2010, she was the Founding Principal of Mainstreet Capital Partners, specializing in transaction oriented real estate investment advisory services including the privatization of the Canary Wharf Group in the UK, a $300m partnership/private equity raise for Cyrela Commercial Properties (“CCP”), a listed Brazilian company and a $200m industrial development joint venture between Pro Logis (formerly AMB) and CCP. In addition to Lefrak and the aforementioned, her clients at Mainstreet included other leading real estate companies around the world including Westbrook Partners in the UK, Cadillac Fairview and IPC US Income Commercial REIT in Canada, Boston Properties, Boston Consulting Group and Yale and Brown Universities in the US and Westcourt Real Estate in India.
From 1982-1994, she was a Senior Vice President at Olympia & York, responsible for US and UK corporate financial strategy including the execution of all US structured debt and equity financing. In that capacity, she pioneered the first commercial mortgage backed securitizations and was responsible for the company’s US acquisitions and dispositions. Prior to joining O&Y, she was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley executing portfolio dispositions, M&A transactions, and development joint ventures.
In 2017, Ms. Douglas joined the Real Estate Advisory Committee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of Starwood Property Trust, where she is a member of the Audit Committee, since 2010. She has previously served on the Boards of several not for profit organizations including the King Hussein Foundation, the Albany Academy and the Harvard Club of New York.
Ms. Douglas has been an Adjunct Professor in Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School since 2005, teaching a course on Global Real Estate Investment. She has previously taught Real Estate Capital Markets at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and has guest lectured at Harvard Business School, Yale School of Management, the Wharton School and the Tuck School.
Ms. Douglas received her Master of Urban Planning degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 1977. During her studies at Harvard, she served as a teaching assistant to Harvard Business School Professor William Poorvu and studied at both the Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. Ms. Douglas received a BA from Smith College in 1973, and also was an exchange student at Williams College 1970-71. In addition, she has studied land use and environmental law at the University of British Columbia School of Law and Albany Law School respectively.
Michelle Felman is an Adjunct Professor of Business at Columbia Business School. She is a Trustee of Forest City Realty Trust (NYSE: FCE) where she serves on the Compensation Committee. Professor Felman is also a Trustee of The Partners Group (PGPHF), a global private equity firm where she serves as the Chair of the Investment Oversight Committee. She also sits on the Board of the Turner Impact Fund, a social impact platform that invests in education, workforce housing and healthcare. She is a member of the Board of Directors at the Cumming Corporation, a global construction management firm and Reonomy, a real estate technology platform. She is the founder of JAM Holdings, an investment and advisory firm.
Professor Felman began her career at Morgan Stanley in the Investment Banking Division after graduating with an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She later joined GE Capital as a Managing Director of Business Development, where she was responsible for the acquisition of real estate and non-performing loans from the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), banks and insurance companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. In her role, she was responsible for setting strategy for entering new markets and developing new products for the commercial real estate division.
From 1997 to 2010, she served as Executive Vice President – Acquisitions and Capital Markets of Vornado Realty Trust. During her tenure, she helped grow the REIT from a $3 billion equity capitalization company to a $16 billion equity capitalization company. During that same period, Vornado diversified from a strip center company into the largest owner of office buildings in New York City and Washington DC. She remained a consultant to VNO through 2012. She served as a Board member of LNR, the largest special servicer in the United States, until the company was sold to Starwood Capital in 2013.
At CBS, Professor Felman co-teaches Advanced Seminar in Real Estate with Adjunct Professor Russell Platt of Forum Partners. She co-authored the case study on The Amazon/Whole Foods Market Transaction: Implications & Impacts on REITs (2017). In a recent interview with Joy Kang ’18, she discussed her thoughts on the current real estate market as well as her experience and advice to aspiring young professionals.
Michael Giliberto retired in 2010 as a Managing Director at JPMorgan Asset Management, the global investment management business of JPMorgan Chase. Mr. Giliberto oversaw U.S. real estate portfolio management and global strategy and research within the Global Real Assets Group.
Mr. Giliberto is a director of the Hunt Companies, Inc., a private real estate operating company, and Empire State Realty Trust, a publicly traded REIT. He chairs both firms’ Audit Committees. He is a member of the Advisory Committee on Real Estate at the University of Washington and has been an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business since 2007. In addition, Mr. Giliberto has consulted for several large investment management organizations.
Working with John B. Levy, Mr. Giliberto created the Giliberto-Levy Commercial Mortgage Performance Index.
During his corporate career, Mr. Giliberto authored numerous publications about investments and capital markets and spoke frequently at industry events. He served as both Treasurer and Chairman of the Pension Real Estate Association, and held board positions with the Real Estate Research Institute and the American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association. In 1996, PREA’s Graaskamp Award for Research Excellence was given to Mr. Giliberto.
Before joining J.P. Morgan in 1996, Mr. Giliberto was a Managing Director at Lehman Brothers and Director of Real Estate Research at Salomon Brothers. Prior to coming to Wall Street, he was a professor in the Real Estate and Urban Land Economics Department at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Before commencing Ph.D. studies, he was Manager of Investment Research at Aetna’s Real Estate Investment Department.
Mr. Giliberto was awarded a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Washington, holds an M.A. in Business Economics from the University of Hartford and earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard College.
John T. Haggerty
Adjunct Associate Professor of Business
Karen is the Regional General Counsel and Senior Vice President – Legal for the New York region of Boston Properties. Karen and the legal team at Boston Properties are responsible for managing all legal and compliance matters in the New York region. Prior to joining Boston Properties, she acted as general counsel to Crown Acquisitions, the real estate investment company of the Chera Family where Karen handled all aspects of real estate investments and joint ventures for the family. Prior to joining Crown, Karen spent her formative years with Shearman & Sterling LLP and Ropes & Gray LLP. Karen has spent the last 18 years participating in a wide array of real estate transactions with a primary focus on New York City including acquisitions, leasing, joint ventures and financings. Karen spends her personal time with her husband, 2 boys, 2 dogs, and 2 cats in Chappaqua, NY or skiing wherever there is snow.
Andrew Jacobs ’96
Mr. Kravit is a Senior Managing Director of Tracker Capital, a stage agnostic venture capital firm that principally invests in emerging technologies that advance national security. Currently, Mr. Kravit is a senior advisor to several other companies including Hello Alfred, a technology and service company focused on residential real estate sector, Platform Ventures, and Harridge Development Company. Prior to joining Tracker Capital, Mr. Kravit was at Cerberus Capital Management for 22 years, where he was most recently Co- Head of North American Real Estate and a Senior Managing Director. From 1994 to 1996 he was a Managing Director at Apollo Real Estate Advisors, where he was responsible for new business development, acquisitions, and asset management. Prior to Apollo, Mr. Kravit was a Managing Director at G Soros Realty Advisors/Reichmann International, an affiliate of Soros Fund Management and separately, Vice President/Chief Financial Officer at the Maxxam Property Company in Houston. Mr Kravit graduated from Georgetown University and received an M B A from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Blake Liggio is a partner in Goodwin’s Real Estate Industry group. Mr. Liggio focuses on mergers and acquisitions, including the representation of acquirors, targets, boards of directors, transaction committees and investment banks. He also advises clients on a range of corporate matters, including fiduciary duties, corporate governance, federal securities law disclosure and compliance, and defensive measures.
Mr. Liggio is also a member of the firm’s PropTech practice steering committee. This practice focuses on the intersection of Real Estate and Technology, and Mr. Liggio is responsible for driving strategy across the two groups to effectively support clients involved in this converging area.
Jennifer M. Morgan
Lecturer in Business
Jennifer Morgan specializes in real estate private equity. A partner in King & Spalding’s Real Estate practice, Jennifer represents sponsors and institutional investors in a range of real estate investments and transactions.
Jennifer advises clients on structuring and negotiating fund formations and other capital transactions, including private real estate investment trusts and other structured investments. She often represents real estate private equity clients in connection with joint ventures, asset and entity-level acquisitions and dispositions, and related transactions.
Adjunct Professor of Business
Mr. Russell C. Platt serves as the Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Forum Partners Investment Management LLC. He serves as Chief Investment Officer of Dividend Capital Investments at Dividend Capital Group LLC. He served as the Managing Director of Security Capital Research & Management, responsible for its private equity and international investment businesses and the President of JER Partners – International. He served as the Managing Director of Security Capital Group Incorporated. Mr. Platt served as the Managing Director of Morgan Stanley & Co., where from 1982 to 1999, he was involved in all aspects of its real estate business. He founded and managed the global real estate department of Morgan Stanley Asset Management. He served as the Chief Investment Officer of Dividend Capital Realty Income Allocation Fund and Dividend Capital Investments. He served as the Chairman at Crown Mortgage Management, Ltd. He was principally responsible for the portfolio management of the Fund and serves on the Adviser’s Board of Managers. He had been a Member of the Supervisory Board at DIC Asset AG since November 8, 2005 until July 2015. He is a Member of the Advisory Boards of the National Multi Housing Council, The Wharton Real Estate Center and the MIT Center for Real Estate. He serves as a Trustee of Board of Managers of Dividend Capital Investments LLC and an Adviser of Dividend Capital Realty Income Allocation Fund. He serves as a Director of Keystone Property Trust. He served as Chairman of Link Mortgage Services Ltd. He served as a Director of Tower Realty Trust Inc. since March 1998. He served as Trustee Nominee at Workspace Property Trust. He served as a Director of Keystone Property Trust from June 1999 to June 2001. He has over 30 years’ experience and career in real estate finance and investment in Europe and North America. Mr. Platt received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1986 and graduated from Williams College in 1982 with a B.A. degree in Economics, Magna Cum Laude.
David M. Sherman ’82
Co-Director, Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate
Mr. Sherman is Senior Advisor and Chairman of the Investment Committee at Metropolitan, a real estate investment management company that he co-founded in 2002 and of which he served as President through 2018. (Metropolitan became part of the Investment Solutions Division of The Carlyle Group in 2013). In addition, Mr. Sherman is Co-Director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business Administration. Mr. Sherman has more than 35 years of real estate investment, finance and analytical experience.
Previously Mr. Sherman was Managing Director of Salomon Smith Barney’s REIT research team, where he initiated coverage of the sector and received recognition from Institutional Investor Magazine in 1998 and 1999. Mr. Sherman also held other positions in real estate finance, investment banking, consulting, and strategic planning at D. Sherman & Company, Smith Barney, The Harlan Company, First Boston, and Paine Webber. In addition, Mr. Sherman was an Adjunct Professor of Real Estate Finance at Columbia Business School for seven years. Over the years, Mr. Sherman has published numerous articles in periodicals including American Banker, PREA Quarterly, Shopping Center Business, and National Real Estate Investor.
Mr. Sherman received an A.B. in Mathematical Economics (magna cum laude) from Brown University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School.
Blair Smith ’00
Adjunct Professor of Business
Blair C. Smith is the former Chief Investment Officer for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation. His responsibilities included providing leadership in structuring, negotiating and closing of loans and investments, and oversight of credit policies. In addition, Blair identifies market opportunities and develops new finance strategies in furtherance of UMEZ’s mission.
Blair is also the Founder and CEO of Promethean AB Strategies LLC, a strategic consultancy focused on helping diverse Asset Managers and investors achieve their goals. He has 15+ years experience in the capital markets arena, leading the creation of marketing strategy, plans and budgets that span industries, marketplace, customers and competition.
Prior to founding Promethean AB Strategies, Blair was responsible for co-managing a $5.2 billion Emerging Manager investment portfolio, within the State of New York Common Retirement Fund. The program spans both traditional and alternative asset class strategies including REAL ESTATE. He actively evaluated and conducted research for new investment vehicles/platforms and strategies that could strategically implement the long-term goals of the portfolio and produce risk adjusted returns.
Blair collaborated with consultants, advisors, investment team and legal counsel in preparing and evaluating RFP/RFI’s for manager searches; participate in selecting and interviewing managers/advisors and in negotiating limited partnership agreements. He was responsible for establishing and maintaining up-to-date policies and procedures and developing asset allocation strategies for the program to ensure consistency and efficiency in the operations.
In addition, Blair served for over 10 years as a client relationship manager with the Connecticut and New York City Wealth Management teams at top tier firms.
Blair is a member of the Real Estate Executive Council and the New York Real Estate Chamber. Blair has been an adjunct lecturer with the School of Continuing Studies at NYU and Baruch College in New York City for over 7 years. He lectured in Principles of Finance, Global Marketing and Executive Leadership. Blair is on the Board of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health and the Baltimore Afro-American Newspapers.
Ross Smotrich ’83
Adjunct Associate Professor
Ross L. Smotrich joined Barclays in September 2008 and is currently a managing director and senior research analyst responsible for the US real estate investment trust (REIT) and real estate securities sectors. Previously, Mr. Smotrich joined Lehman Brothers in June 2008 after 10 years as a senior managing director at Bear Stearns and four years as a senior equity analyst at Merrill Lynch.
Mr. Smotrich has ranked inInstitutional Investor’s “All-America Research Team” survey nine times and has twice been named toThe Wall Street Journal’s “All-Star Analysts” survey (earnings forecasting). Before moving to sell-side research, Ross was a real estate banker for Chemical Bank doing lending, investment banking, and workout.
Mr. Smotrich earned an MBA from Columbia University in Finance/Real Estate and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Diplomatic History/International Economics.
Ivo de Wit ’17
Ivo de Wit is a Managing Director and Fund Manager of the Global Alpha Fund. Based in London, Ivo is a member of the GIP Executive Committee and he is responsible for performance, strategy, and investment decision making of the global portfolios. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow at Columbia Business School.
Ivo joined CBRE Global Investors in July 2010. Prior to this Ivo worked at ING Real Estate as Global Portfolio Manager in London, where he was responsible for managing global non-listed real estate investment accounts for institutional clients. Before that, Ivo was part of the Global Executive Team of ING Real Estate Investment Management. He has been responsible for strategic planning, asset allocation, investment selection and performance monitoring for both listed and unlisted funds. During his more than 20-year real estate investment career, he has worked in various regions around the world focusing on business and strategic direction, executing new business opportunities and allocating seed capital. In New York, Ivo was a Vice President for Clarion Partners.
Ivo has a Ph.D. in Finance from Maastricht University and an MBA from the Joint Global Executive Program from Columbia Business School and London Business School.
Mba Real Estate Finance and Investment
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