(Touro College Graduate School of Business)
February 18, 2010

Touro College’s Graduate School of Business and the Academy for Continuing Education have joined forces with one of New York City’s top real estate firms in a unique endeavor aimed at professional development.

The announcement was made jointly by Dr. Michael Williams, dean of Touro College’s Graduate School of Business, and Esther Muller, co-founder of the Academy for Continuing Education, and program director of Residential Real Estate Entrepreneurship at Touro College’s Graduate School of Business. The goal of the Academy for Continuing Education is to improve the productivity and professionalism in the real estate community through quality courses and excellent instructors.

As of January 21, 2009, 26 real estate agents at City Connections Realty, Inc. (CCR), a top residential sales, rental, and commercial real estate firm marking 20 years in the business, have enrolled in Touro’s Residential Real Estate Entrepreneurship Certificate program. This non-credit course of study is being directed by Ms. Muller who, along with Dean Williams, aims to help raise educational standards in the industry so that the residential real estate profession is better prepared to responsibly advise clients, and looked upon more admirably by consumers and within the profession itself.

“We are delighted to partner with City Connections in helping to create a higher level of distinction for residential real estate agents,” Ms. Muller said. “As the architects of this unique endeavor, our collective goal is to elevate the practice of selling residential real estate from a mere transactional relationship to one where practitioners are true advisors to their clients, providing them with relevant data, sound investment strategy, and valuable industry information.”

She added that City Connections is the ideal choice for such a partnership in that it’s an entrepreneurial and innovative group of tightly-knit professionals highly regarded for their skillful guidance, ethical conduct and professional expertise.

City Connections Realty has been handling property transactions throughout New York City since 1988, according to its founder and CEO David Schlamm, who is helping with tuition costs for his agents. Mr. Schlamm said the need for a program like Touro’s is long overdue.

“You can’t do business the old-fashioned way anymore and expect to survive in this industry,” Schlamm said. “Teaming up with Touro College and the Academy for Continuing Education — both of which recognize and respect the entrepreneurial spirit — is an ideal fit for everyone involved. It’s a way for our agents and brokers to differentiate themselves in a business that continues to grow more challenging and demanding.”

Dean Williams said: “There are huge gaps in the degree of professionalism in the residential real estate industry because there are gaps in the schooling one needs to enter the field. Our goal is to raise the bar as it pertains to educational standards thereby raising the bar within the industry.” He added that he would like to see professionals in the real estate industry on par with other business professionals, such as Certified Public Accountants and attorneys.

The Residential Real Estate Entrepreneurship Certificate of Completion will consist of five courses addressing market topics such as “Technology and Real Estate,” “Advisory-Based Selling,” “Business and Legal Foundations,” “Marketing,” and “Trends and Issues in the 21st Century Global Real Estate Markets.”

Starting as a one-person operation in a Greenwich Village basement-level apartment, Schlamm has since turned City Connections Realty into a full-scale operation with more than 110 brokers on its team. It currently brokers more than 300 exclusive and co-exclusive buildings selling and leasing commercial and residential property. The firm has attracted top brokers in New York by allowing agents to manage their own real estate business without the usual start-up costs.

Touro College’s Graduate School of Business seeks to educate leaders for the business world through a rigorous curriculum integrating theory and practice with the development of critical thinking skills, teamwork, and business communication.