Vivek Sah is the new director of the Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management
When Vivek Sah was growing up in New Delhi, the Indian real estate sector was just breaking ground, so to speak. The industry was highly unorganized. Few, if any professionals had real estate degrees. Most had backgrounds in marketing or economics or finance.
Sah, the new director of the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management, had an undergraduate degree in engineering and was pursuing his MBA. But before long, he would be on a path few from his country had pursued, thanks to an impactful internship at JLL’s New Delhi office.
“I didn’t know anything about real estate,” Sah said of his position with India’s largest private sector bank. “I worked in the research and consulting group for three years and because of that exposure to real estate … I’ve been able to create [this] position for myself.”
From that point forward, real estate would be Sah’s calling. He received his PhD in real estate from Georgia State University and, as of September, leads the highly regarded program at the Daniels College of Business.
“There’s a lot of resources and a lot of opportunities over here to take the program to the next level,” Sah said. “I think there’s a big opportunity for us to capitalize on our existing reputation, take it to a national and international level, and be able to compete with some of the top programs in real estate across the country.”
Sah previously led the LIED Center for Real Estate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He’s also taught at the University of San Diego and Portland State University.
He specializes in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), housing markets and behavioral real estate. Some of his most recent research examines the way race and ethnicity influence housing market outcomes.
“Because the U.S. has become very diverse, I think those dynamics of the housing market at the intersection of race and ethnicity will be very, very interesting,” he said. “There has been some research that has focused on redlining. There’s some evidence of discrimination when it comes to lending. They’re very subtle things that impact the housing market. It’s very difficult to observe directly, so we’re trying, through our research, to find those results.”
Sah isn’t afraid to take his expertise outside the academic sphere. He’s frequently quoted in news reports about the housing market, and he welcomes the opportunity to speak at local industry events. In his native India, he is using his knowledge to help organizations and academic programs keep up with a rapidly expanding real estate sector.
At Daniels, he’s hoping to attract more students from Europe and Asia and bulk up the on-campus offerings for students. Already, he’s begun inviting prominent industry leaders to speak in Denver.
The goal, he says, is “to have a program that’s adding services for students, so when they come into our program, not only do they get a world-class education, but we also give them exposure to the market, exposure to various opportunities like student competitions, industry conferences [and] industry leaders,” he said.
Those opportunities, Sah said, should be open to people outside of Burns too. He wants to develop partnerships with other departments and divisions, even outside of Daniels.
“I’m here to build those relationships and strengthen those ties with all of our stakeholders, whether it be our students, whether it be our faculty, staff, the rest of the University, as well as the community members, our donors, our alums and other entities that are in the built environment, hopefully not just in Denver but at the state level as well,” he said. “I’m very affable and I like to meet people. My door is always open.”