USC Price School of Public Policy

Alumni Spotlight: Courtney Silver

Alumni Spotlight: Q&A with Courtney Silver, BS ’11

Courtney Silver

Courtney Silver is a recent alumna of USC Price, having graduated in May 2011 from the real estate development track of the school’s undergraduate program. A week after graduation, she began working for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) in downtown Los Angeles, as a production analyst in its multifamily division.

What do your duties as a production analyst for multifamily division involve? (And for those who may not know, what is the multifamily division?)

The multifamily division of Freddie Mac purchases mortgages on apartment buildings with five or more units in order to help ensure affordable rental housing throughout the country. As a production analyst, I assist the production team in purchasing these loans. On a daily basis, I help research properties, price loans, and assist the underwriting team.

What challenges did you face in your quick transition from being a student to your new role at Freddie Mac?

One of the main challenges I faced was transitioning into the full time work schedule. While my classes at Price taught me the basics about the real estate industry, it was hard at first to imagine what was once a homework assignment, would be a task I would do about ten times a day. However, the more time I spent at Freddie Mac, the more I learned and the more comfortable I felt.

What aspect of your job do you find most rewarding, and why?

The underlying goal of our company is to make housing more affordable. The recent economy has forced many home owners out of their homes and into more affordable apartment communities. The multifamily division of Freddie Mac provides securitized loans to the owners of these properties, thus providing more affordable housing options for those who have lost their homes. Part of my job is to go on property inspections, and I find it truly rewarding to physically see our work providing thousands of Americans with a roof over their head.

How were your student experiences at Price able to help prepare you for what you’re doing now?

My experiences at Price helped prepare me for a career in ways I never imagined. Group projects, urban field trips around Los Angeles, and the overall culture to pursue internships are only to name a few. Price is unique in that it provides its students with an education that prepares them for a career. At the culmination of my time at Price, I found myself directed on a specific path in real estate with the confidence to succeed. The professors, guidance counselors, and career counselors at Price all contributed to this confidence and direction.

How has your education in the real estate development track specifically helped you succeed in your position?

The real estate development track provided me with real-life problems and situations that I have faced multiple times a day here at Freddie Mac. Specifically, most of my real estate classes were taught by professionals in the field who were able to teach scenarios that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a text book. The level of Excel templates and cash flow pro-formas that were taught in my classes allowed me to succeed in the technical aspect of my position at Freddie Mac. My knowledge in real estate markets and affordable housing provided me with the necessary tools to understand the general goal of Freddie Mac. Overall, the real estate development track is an all encompassing education that ultimately prepares you for a successful career.

Can you elaborate on Freddie Mac’s recent decision to extend its formal recruiting process to USC? Why/how was USC chosen to be the school to be included on the west coast? What do you think this opportunity means for current Price undergrads?

Freddie Mac has a formal recruiting process that mainly extends out to the East Coast, due to its main head quarters located in McLean, Virginia. However, over the past year, the Freddie Mac Multifamily division has recognized the USC Price School for its real estate finance program, and hired myself and two other USC graduates. Their formal recruiting process has now been extended to 2012 Price graduates. This opportunity is very exciting for Price undergrads and is only the beginning of many more formal recruiting processes geared specifically towards the Price School. It means that employers are noticing our school’s renowned excellence in specific education on policy, non-profit, health care, and real estate.