USC Price School of Public Policy

Price Student Q&A: Tiffany Smith-Cofield

Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Major: Real Estate Development

Q. What inspired you to choose your major?
A. I chose the Real Estate Development major because I loved how the Price focused on the community aspect of real estate developing more so than the real estate finance concentration in business school. I believe that real estate development is more than just profits, but it’s about community and environmental impacts as well.

Q. What opportunities has Price afforded you?
A. The Price School is awesome because the staff takes the time to offer exceptional programs, internships, and scholarships to the students. I have been able to have access to internships within real estate, travel to London as a part of my Mixed Use Development class, and I was awarded the Macerich Scholarship (which helped immensely with affordability).

Q. What skills have you developed in your time at Price?
A. As a real estate major, I have developed essential and practical skills that will be an asset in my career such as Excel skills, communication skills, and problem solving skills.

Q. Tell us about your internship experience.
A. The experience I had was unforgettable. I interned at JP Morgan in their Asset Management division, specifically the Private Bank. While there, I was assigned to the Financial Sponsors group with two other interns. Though the internship had nothing to do with real estate, the experience I had made me appreciate the industry more. The internship taught me a lot about financial theories and financial markets, an entrepreneur environment, and tangibility. I also learned that there is a lack of creativity compared to other industries.

Q. What class have you enjoyed most at Price and why?
A. RED 499 has been my favorite class by far. RED 499, which is the Mixed Use Development class, is a class that is based on combining the essential skills of real estate, business, and architecture and applying each specialty to a specific international project. This spring, the class went to London. Not only was it an amazing experience to go to London, but the fact that this type of class is available exemplifies why USC and the Trojan Network is special. During this semester, I learned what an actual development project looked like, how the pieces are put together, and how challenging it is to change a community. I cannot express my appreciation enough to the school and donors who have allowed the class to come to fruition.

Q. What are your future career plans?
A. My future career plans are to gain experience in real estate and to help my community, South LA, to thrive. I believe the skills I have gained at USC are foundational to my success as a real estate entrepreneur. I hope to have my own development company that focuses on the double bottom line-profits and community impact.

Q. What is the best advice anyone has given to you regarding your education?
A. The best advice I have ever received was to challenge myself in my education, thrive despite my shortcomings, and inspire another generation of men and women of color after me.