Graduate Ethan Ayres smiling at the camera.Name: Ethan Ayres

Graduation Date: Summer 2021

Graduate Degree: Master of Science in Real Estate ’21, Chapman University

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Science in Management from Pepperdine University ’18, The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management


Why did you choose Chapman University? 

I was looking at the MSRE (Master of Science in Real Estate) and MBA programs. Chapman University had a convenience factor to it and is centralized to where I live and work. Chapman’s program also came with excellent recommendations from an EMBA alumni, which motivated me to get in touch with Jim Dusserre. Altogether, I’d say it was a combination of several things: a positive referral, a great location near where work and live, and the reputation that Chapman University and the MSRE program has in the Orange County business community.

How was your experience throughout your time at Chapman University?

My time at Chapman University was great. It was a combination of great professors, a fantastic cohort, and a positive and supporting team at Chapman. It has been an incredible overall experience. It also helps that Chapman University is located next to the Orange Circle. You can walk over restaurants to eat and then walk to class.

During the pandemic, the Argyros school provided an inclusive atmosphere to make sure everyone was included and have a personal experience, whether in Zoom or in-person. Our entire cohort wanted to be together, on campus. Overall, Chapman did a great job to create a positive environment for everyone.

What advice do you have for students looking to maximize their success while at Chapman University?

Show up! That was one of my goals going into the program. To attend every class and be present in every single one. With the exception of one single class, I accomplished that. My advice is to show up and be present throughout the program. Be your best.

There is a book called The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills. I recommend reading it. One of the four principles is, “Always do your best.” It’s a good reminder that every day doesn’t have to be extraordinary. In fact, some days are better than other days. But if you try your best, there are always things to feel accomplished about achieving.

What has been your favorite part of your experience at the Argyros school?

I sit at a desk all day for work, so the field visits were my favorite. I enjoy being out in the field.  The ability to see what we’re learning in application and how they apply was extremely valuable. We visited Culver City, The Boardwalk—Irvine, and an industrial development in Chino Hills. I enjoyed all of them.

You’ve been so involved at Chapman. In what ways do you feel like that has helped? 

I think being involved has helped my goals. I always show up and ensure that I am present. Being involved forces you to be present and show up every day. If you get involved, stay connected, and remain communicative, you’ll stay present and accountable.


You’re recently graduated from the inaugural MSRE program. What inspired you to get your master’s degree?

My background and experience are on the development side of real estate. I had a void of financial underwriting and real estate finance that motivated me to go back to school to better understand the financial underwriting process. My goals were to grow confident in that space and meet other young professionals in the industry.

Has your master’s degree changed your career path or goals?

My master’s degree has changed my goals. I grew my confidence during the program and also what I believe I am capable of. My goals were one thing going into it. Now, I’ve seen what others have done and what’s possible. My goals have grown to be larger. The MSRE program gave me the tools to go out and do it—make my dreams a reality.

What has been your favorite thing about the MSRE program?

My favorite thing was the tightness of the program—the size of the group. And the exclusivity of the program. With a small cohort model, I liked the accessibility to others and size of the group. Every person was accessible. From the program directors to professors to guest speakers. Our guest speakers have been so accessible and helpful, they’re the kind of people who will say “yes” to coffee with you in a second.


When you’re not working or going to school, what do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy being outdoors. One of my favorite outdoor activities is to go golfing with friends and family. Also, I love to go hiking and walk the dog with my fiancée, Kallie.

What career advice do you have for other students, or anyone, looking for an internship or a job?

That’s tough. I’ve had the same job for five years. One of my core values, traits, and operating principles is always to be curious. Ask questions. Do your research. My dad is sixty-five years old at the time of this interview and he says, “You don’t need to know everything.” I try to remember that. It’s okay to ask questions and not know it all.

What’s next now that you’re finished with your master’s degree in real estate?

What is next? I ask myself that every day. I’m going in the direction of real estate development. I hope to find new developments—hotel developments—to be the general partner on. I also have plans to start a fund and partner with my brother to work on several projects coming up that are all real estate development focused.

Congratulations Ethan on all you have accomplished! I can’t wait to see what you achieve next.