The program matched 42 students with alumni and industry mentors

The Burns Mentorship Program launched in September, aiming to pair 20 students with industry mentors. The interest on both sides was so high, however, that the program ended up with 42 mentor/mentee pairings.

Vivek Sah, director of the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, appointed Kristian Lichtenfels (MSRECM 2010), managing director at JLL Capital Markets, to the role of program chair.

“After discussing the program with Vivek in the spring, I knew we had the potential to capture strong engagement from our Denver real estate community,” Lichtenfels said. “I was blown away by the overwhelming response we received from leaders in our industry. Our 2023-24 mentors were all thrilled to jump in and dedicate their time to help these Burns School students better understand the many facets of the business.”

Student applicants were asked to rank their specific interests in the real estate and construction industries, which included real estate finance, brokerage, appraisal, investments, construction management, development, home building and property management. Lichtenfels then paired them with an industry professional that fit their first choice, in most cases. Most mentors are alumni from the Burns School’s robust, active network, which was a priority for the program. Friends of the school from the real estate and construction industries are also participating.

Once paired, mentors and mentees schedule meetings on their own time and connect as often as they like. They are asked to meet a minimum of 3-4 times during the school year and are encouraged to connect more as their schedules allow.

Vivek Sah uses a microphone to speak at the Burns Mentorship Breakfast.Sah wanted to implement a mentorship program after witnessing its success at his previous institution, the Lied Center of Real Estate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He sought to replicate the way the program inspired and influenced the student experience.

Sah hoped to leverage one of the Burns School’s greatest assets, its alumni network, for both the students and alumni. Mentorships are not new to the Burns School, but the program gives structure to what was often happening organically, while including a greater number of students and alumni.

“We are so excited that our mentorship program launched this fall. It adds a great opportunity for our students to learn about the industry, specific functions within that, and further explore their interests in them. It also provides us a medium to engage our alums who want to give back and connect to the program and the Burns School,” Sah said.

If you would like to mentor a student, please contact