Anna Calkins, Contributing Photographer

Yale undergraduates have launched a range of pre-professional clubs, but until this year, no club had broken into the real estate industry. 

The Yale Real Estate Group, which was founded in January, became the first student-led organization to assemble and help create opportunities for interested students to learn about the real estate industry. Club president Henry Kupiec ’26 and vice president Patrick Huh ’26 told the News that they created YREG with the intention of building a community that not only teaches students about the real estate landscape and prepares them for a potential career in real estate but also encourages members to form tight relationships through collaboration. 

“YREG takes what other professional groups do in terms of professional development, but then adds a community aspect,” said Kupiec. “We care about learning about real estate, but we also care about each other and growing, learning and thriving together.”

Club members said they have developed a curriculum, projects and plans to send teams to real estate conferences, bring speakers to campus and engage with companies in the industry. Along with these activities, YREG members also highlighted community-building events they have planned, ranging from a retreat to movie nights and pickleball matches. 

The group is also looking to include experiential learning in their events and plans for the year ahead. Last semester, YREG members visited investment management company KKR & Co’s headquarters in New York City, establishing what several members told the News is a relationship they hope to continue in the club’s future. 

“The real estate industry itself is so broad that it really does touch everyone’s lives more than we realize,” said Jose Guerrero ’24, one of the group’s senior advisors. 

Guerrero said that real estate is an industry with many different facets. There is room in real estate for those interested in entertainment, banking and development, for example, according to Guerrero. The club is structured accordingly, Kupiec explained. The club’s curriculum and events are structured to allow members to explore whatever aspects of real estate interests members find most interesting. 

The founding members said that they came into Yale curious about real estate and noticed the absence of any clubs for people interested in the industry. Despite an array of pre-professional clubs, they said, none were focused on the real estate market and what such a club could offer for students at Yale. They floated the idea with peers around campus and, when it was well received, Kupiec and Huh said they decided to go for it.

“We thought there was an opportunity here at Yale to provide an experience where members can learn more about real estate and consider it as a professional career,” said Huh. 

As the only real estate club on campus, members said they recognize the importance of being accessible for students of all interests and skill sets. There is no expectation that applicants or members have a background in real estate.

In recent weeks, the reported competitiveness associated with Yale’s extracurricular clubs and organizations ripped through national headlines

Members said they are also aiming to encourage exploration and curiosity through their curriculum. In conversations with the News, YREG members emphasized that creating a space for students to develop their interests is at the core of YREG’s strategy.

Another aspect of real estate that is often neglected in conversations about the industry, Guerrero added, is the public policy involved in development and housing. He said that YREG hopes to weave this major subsection of the industry into its curriculum and activities.

“We talk a lot about how the club can help us with professional development, growing your network, but really our goal is finding how we can use the club to help others,” said Kupiec. “Always making sure to use that mindset, especially as we learn about real estate, is crucial to me.” 

For Russell Yang ’25, YREG’s director of projects, his original interest in real estate sales led him to broader interests in other parts of real estate and how they relate to the global economy.

He explained that the real estate industry is both tangible and intangible, in the sense that real estate is everywhere physically but also is often represented in abstract and numerical terms. 

YREG members told the News that they hope to explore these topics and relationships throughout the year and in the years to come, offering classroom and experiential education for all members. 

“I think a lot of young undergraduate students… aren’t necessarily just you know, finance bros… I think a lot of them are interested in real estate,” said Huh. “I think we’ve found a very good niche.” 

To get a Connecticut real estate license, one must complete a 60-hour course and pass the state exam.