Expert Opinion: Leo Uittenbogaard: Keeping it real

Amsterdam School of Real Estate

Expert Opinion: Leo Uittenbogaard: Keeping it real

How much grip does your company currently have on the value and risks of its real estate? The industry-specific regulations and circumstances are changing so rapidly that it might be time to brush up on real estate management.

So let’s see what the Amsterdam School of Real Estate has to offer.

The Amsterdam School of Real Estate (ASRE) was started in 1989 by the University of Amsterdam and industry associations such as the Foundation for Investment and Real Estate Science. The foundation focused on postgraduate courses for real estate professionals. But because the target group wanted a wider practically-based curriculum besides academic depth, ASRE introduced different levels ofeducation and also began to offer short part-time courses.

“Our students want more than the standard subject matter.”

The three education formats are:

  • Masters courses (MRE and MRSE) for real estate specialists who want to develop substantively or advance to a management position.
  • Specialised courses in real estate matters such as capital expenditure analysis, investment analysis or corporate real estate.
  • Sector-dedicated courses for professionals from fields such as the healthcare, government or corporative sectors who want a greater insight into real estate expenditure.

ASRE & Zanders

Zanders is among the companies that provide guest lecturers for the Amsterdam School of Real Estate. They include Rob Naber, who gives lectures on Asset &aamp; Liability Management, and Rob van Heesch and Hans Visser, who lecture at the ASRE ‘Care & Real Estate’ and ‘Corporation & Real Estate’ sectordedicated courses, respectively.

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Real-life questions

ASRE wants to excel by offering courses that move with the times and address real-life situations, particularly through the sector-dedicated courses. ‘It would be easier for us to stick to the standard subject matter,’ says ASRE director Leo Uittenbogaard, ‘but our students want more, and rightly so.

Virtually all of them  have a job related to real estate. So they want to know what is relevant now. They have questions like: what exactly is the situation with real estate financing for corporations in 2009? How will the value of our company be affected if there is a fall in the value of land? How do I trace and calculate risks like this and what must and can you do as a company to counter them?’

Reflective practitioners

Many questions from students are so up-to-the-minute that the answers have not yet been set down on paper. Besides its almost 30 core lecturers and professors, ASRE draws on dozens of guest lecturers from the business community to provide answers. ‘They have the latest knowledge from the field,’ says Uittenbogaard, ‘and they are accustomed to moving in response to the flavour of the day.

They see the students as potential clients and that has a very inspirational effect, for both parties. You notice it in cases about changes in regulations for care institutions and real estate, for example. Some institutions have suddenly ‘inherited’ real estate. They’re very enthusiastic about it, they want to be able to do ‘something’ with it, but they know nothing about operating costs, financing systems, value risks or listed buildings. The entire group then gets stuck in to address these issues.’

Real estate, ofestimable or inestimable value?

Uittenbogaard has no complaints about the influx of students at ASRE, but has noticed the consequences of the economic crisis. ‘Companies are freezing their training budgets. I find that worrying. Particularly now, you need to widen your outlook, both as an employee and as a company. Precisely now, you must be on top of the changes. Real estate consultants, investors and developers have recognised this; they are well represented here.

But it surprises me how relatively few people are registering from the healthcare sector. The same goes for strategists, policymakers, treasurers and financial managers – even though they need to know what their real estate is literally ‘doing’.’