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Planning, Development and Preservation

Featured Student

Matt Alexander
Matt Alexander
Matt Alexander

Matt Alexander, Clemson MRED 2014

In addition to being a full time MRED student, 2nd year Matt Alexander is also a member of the Georgia National Guard and spends a majority of his time away from the classroom as a MEDEVAC helicopter pilot.

10 questions with Matt Alexander:

Hometown:  Atlanta, GA

First semester at Clemson:  Fall 2012

What other universities have you attended?
  Furman University

Tell us something interesting about yourself or your background.  

During my undergraduate experience at Furman I was involved with the Army ROTC program, and upon graduation in 2009 I was commissioned into the Georgia National Guard where I still serve today.  I graduated flight school in April of 2011 and met my unit in Iraq where we were responsible for providing MEDEVAC coverage through the last days of the Iraq campaign.  I am now the Commander of my unit, and needless to say this can be very time consuming between training, domestic support missions, routine flying to meet currency requirements, and all the other administrative functions that go along with managing 60 people and 6 multi-million dollar helicopters.  There is no way that I could have been successful in the MRED program if it were not for all the faculty and staff being extremely understanding of my situation.  They have worked with me every step of the way so that I can fulfill my obligations both in and out of the classroom.

Why did you choose the MRED program at Clemson? 

I initially was interested in the MBA Program with a focus in Real Estate.  At the time, however, I was unaware that the MRED program even existed.  After a friend told me about the MRED program I was eager to find out more.  MRED’s well-rounded approach to the industry sold me.  In my opinion, if the RE is where you want to stay Clemson’s MRED program provides you with so many skill sets that a MBA would not be able to match.

What advice/thoughts would you give to prospective MRED students about the program?  

Like everything else, go in with an open mind.  Give classes your all and take advantage of the awesome network of alumni, advancement board members, and the other contacts within the program.  Even if you have zero background in RE, finance or business, don’t let that scare you.  Students come from all different backgrounds and the faculty understands (and likes) that.  Start looking for an internship early, and if possible, continue working during the school year.  The experience is priceless and only increases your chances for job placement after graduation.

Describe your summer internship with the MRED program and what you learned from that experience.  

For my internship I worked with Greenville, SC Mayor Knox White.  If you want to learn about how to make a city a great “place” there is no one better to learn from than Mayor White.  He has made Greenville into the great city it is today.  The biggest thing I learned is how important the small details are in Development.  As 1st Years in the MRED program you take Site Planning, and it is in this class where you learn about some of those details.  Streetscapes, lighting and landscaping are only a few of things that Developers sometimes overlook.  However, small features like this are what initially make a place feel inviting and initially begin to foster that sense of “place.”

What has been your favorite MRED experience/memory and why?  

ULI is always the highlight of the year.  The fact that Clemson brings all students to the Fall conference every year is not only great for program exposure, but also student exposure to several leading industry professionals.  It is a great time to spend time with classmates, and the various tours throughout the week provide you with great insight into the RE development process.

Favorite book/newspaper/journal you like to read?  

-Favorite books: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, Pat Conroy novels, and Biographies of notable historical figures.

-I enjoy reading national and local news and business publications such as the Atlanta Business Chronicle or Greenville Business Magazine.

What are your plans/goals after graduation?

Find a job with a small developer or Real Estate services firm in Greenville that would allow the flexibility needed to fulfill my military obligations.

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