“I was looking for a part time job while completing my MBA at UC-Berkeley and the job I happened on was working for a guy in downtown Oakland who described himself as a real estate consultant. It turned out that he was a real estate broker, investor, and former developer. So, I guess that’s when I got my first taste of the real estate business,” explains Michael LaCour-Little about his introduction to real estate, an area which he is now an expert.
LaCour-Little is now a member of the Finance faculty at Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, but thanks to his expertise in the real estate market, he has had several unique opportunities overseas recently.
During the fall semester of 2012, he was personally invited by the faculty at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, to assist them in reviewing and developing their MBA program.
“They had new leadership in the college, and their goal is to create a strong program for the African continent to which folks from all the emerging nations in sub-Saharan Africa would be drawn,” says LaCour-Little. “They asked me to come down and look at their curriculum.”
The assignment included reviewing textbooks used in the program, the sequence of the classes and material to be covered, and other important areas, such as identifying the correct prerequisite courses.
Professor LaCour-Little also spent spring 2013 teaching at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. This visit was part of a long-standing fellowship program that hosts more than 70 scholars at the university each year.
“New Zealand is a small country and they like to bring in people from the rest of the world to keep up with developments internationally,” LaCour-Little says.
He adds that with a standard of living comparable to that of a major U.S. city, New Zealand is actively looking for immigrants to help grow its economy.
“If someone were looking for an overseas experience in an English-speaking country, that would be a good place to go,” he says.
His time in New Zealand and South Africa also exposed LaCour-Little to the British style of higher education, particularly the greater independence that graduate level students enjoy.
LaCour-Little continues to teach classes in real estate here at Mihaylo but plans to return to South Africa at some point during 2014 to continue his work with the faculty at the University of Witwatersrand.
“The next order of business is assisting the junior faculty in developing a research agenda” he says.