Texas Tech University

Senior Named "Student of the Year" by American Real Estate Society

Staci Semrad

Umair Nasser

Student leader Umair Nasser takes seriously the business of adding value and knows what it means to "carpe diem."

Throughout his undergraduate career at the Jerry S. Rawls College of Business, the senior finance major has seized opportunities to fuel his personal and professional growth while demonstrating a boundless energy that has caught the attention of a major national organization. This month at its annual conference in Arizona, the American Real Estate Society (ARES) announced that Nasser is its 2019 Alpha Sigma Gamma Undergraduate Student of the Year. Alpha Sigma Gamma (ASG) is the international honor society of ARES that recognizes the academic and scholarly achievements of real estate students, faculty and professionals throughout the world.

"In addition to his notable accomplishments in the classroom, Umair's nomination stood out due to his ongoing commitment to the betterment of the real estate program at Texas Tech and his efforts to create opportunities for his fellow classmates," said Dustin Read, president of Alpha Sigma Gamma and an associate professor of property management and real estate at Virginia Tech. "Such efforts are unique among undergraduate students and demonstrate a high degree of commitment, not only to one's chosen field of study but also one's university."

Nasser, a senior majoring in finance with a concentration in real estate, has served as the president of Texas Tech University's Real Estate Organization (REO) this past year. He expressed gratitude to Rawls faculty members for their support through the years and for nominating him for the award.

"They went out of their way to take this opportunity to highlight a student they thought would be suited for the award," Nasser said. "And they do that in every facet of their job, as far as helping us with making connections, building our network, strengthening our resumes and taking a personal interest in our success."

In March, he was nominated for the award by Assistant Professor of Practice Jared Harrell and Assistant Professor Stephen Buschbom, both in the Area of Finance at Rawls College.

"When we first met Umair, we were initially impressed by his enthusiasm for our real estate courses. Today, as he is on the verge of graduation and starting a position with Ryan, LLC in New York, we are even more impressed with his personal growth and development into a future leader of the commercial real estate industry," their nomination letter said. "Outside of the classroom, Umair has taken advantage of numerous opportunities to engage 'real world' issues from an advanced, open-minded, and practical perspective."

After studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, during his sophomore year, Nasser changed his major from energy commerce to finance with a concentration in real estate and looked for an organization that would help him develop professionally in those areas. He soon became active in the Texas Tech Real Estate Organization, becoming president and leading the group to new heights.

Umair Nasser and others in Downtown Houston
Umair Nasser in downtown Houston in between firm visits in March on an REO trip. Left to right: Nasser, Instructor Lonnie Hendry, REO Officer Mallory Adams, Assistant Professor of Practice Jared Harrell, REO Officer Alicia Mendoza, and Assistant Professor Stephen Buschbom.

"In his time as president, Umair has done a remarkable job as the primary student representative of our real estate program, coordinating the student officer team and directing the member activities of our organization," Harrell and Buschbom wrote. "... We cannot imagine a more qualified student to embody the academic, scholarly and service ideals of the real estate industry."

In addition to his REO activities, Nasser's other accomplishments during college have included serving as a Rawls Ambassador, completing Argus Enterprise software and real estate financial modeling training, and obtaining his Texas real estate license.

During his tenure as president of REO, Nasser created the group's first corporate sponsorship program as a way to help plan for the future of the group and provide networking opportunities for students. Over the past year, the organization has secured more than $4,000 in corporate sponsorships. It is important, Nasser said, "to keep a note of sustainability in mind so that the organization is not just great this year but will continue to be great for years to come."

Under Nasser's leadership, REO also:
• Doubled its membership
• Coordinated semi-annual industry trips to Dallas and Houston for student participants
• Organized the well-attended, inaugural "Real Estate Alumni Tailgate" during homecoming weekend
• Instituted a new local partnership with the Lubbock Arboretum resulting in four student service projects
• And hosted its first ARGUS Enterprise and real estate financial modeling software trainings for students

"I always looked at my role as president more as an opportunity and less as a job," he said.

The opportunity introduced him to many friends and business contacts and enabled him to test his capabilities as a leader, he said, adding, "It's shown me that I'm capable of thinking outside the box and adding value to an organization."

Adding value is exactly what he intends to do at Ryan, LLC in New York City, where he will begin working as a commercial property tax consultant this summer after graduating. He plans to apply toward his moving expenses the $500 cash prize that came with his ASG award.

"I'm very excited about New York," Nasser said. "It will be an intense growth experience, and I'm just thrilled to find out what that whole world has to offer, for not only my personal life but also my professional life. I'm sure it's going to be an amazing experience."