If you were to ask anyone, from sophisticated investors to amateurs who like to dabble which capital asset is least portable, you’d likely get a universal consensus that it’s real estate.
That may be true enough, but knowledge about real estate – how to finance acquisitions, hire and supervise contractors, market it, manage it – those are skills that are transportable everywhere.
The Recanati Business School of Tel Aviv University recognizes that, so in a bid to boost its profile and create a broader learning environment for its students, it is establishing the Alfred Akirov Real Estate Center. Not too long ago, Asher Tishler, dean of the Recanati business school, was in Toronto to meet business people, entrepreneurs, investors and academics as he “tried to forge co-operation with this school in the local community here.”
Speaking to The CJN before jetting off to Montreal, Tishler said the new real estate centre is a response to the growing importance of real estate in the Israeli economy. The school believes, “a healthy and vibrant real estate sector is essential for economic growth, productivity, employment and social justice. As globalization reshapes the international economic landscape, and technological change creates greater uncertainty in the world economy, entrepreneurship in the real estate sector has become critical in helping Israel meet its new economic, social and environmental challenges.”
Tishler said he hopes to create mutually advantageous learning experiences for Israeli and Canadian students, as well as academics and others with practical knowledge of real estate development.
Israel has had an active real estate market for some time, along with courses to prepare students to participate in it. “What we want to do is go one level up,” he said.
One of the proposals he is bringing to his Canadian counterparts is to have mutual internships to permit students to travel abroad and meet successful developers, and acquire the skills that can be applied back home.
“It’s learning by doing,” he said.
Likewise, Canadians can travel to Israel and absorb some of that country’s best business practices, he suggested. Israel is known for its high levels of entrepreneurship and high tech industry, while Canada is well advanced in areas of planning, finance, marketing and construction. There’s a lot to learn for both sides, he suggested.
As for Toronto itself, “It is a very nice market.” Lots of Israelis have made a home here and make a living from the real estate market.
“It looks like it’s a vibrant real estate community here and Israelis are doing well in it,” so bringing a successful businessman back to Israel to lecture on best practices is one element of his proposed plan, Tishler said.
Other aspects of the Alfred Akirov Real Estate Institute include: offering a learning program within the Recanati school’s MBA program; teaching courses on real estate issues; offering programs in real estate for Israeli executives; conducting research in real estate issues; sponsoring conferences on the Israeli and foreign real estate markets; and co-operating with universities abroad.
Tishler said he plans to return to Toronto in the summer to meet with representatives of local university business schools.
The Akirov Institute is named for the founder of Alrov Properties and Lodging, one of Israel’s largest real estate firms. It is expected to attract 50 to 60 students a year. Tishler said donors in the private sector have already pledged $250,000 (US) per year for the next 10 years to fund the program.