Texas Tech University

Rawls College of Business Senior Named Student of the Year

Staci Semrad

May 15, 2019

Umair Nasser

The honor for Umair Nasser, who will graduate from Texas Tech this week, comes from the American Real Estate Society.

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

Throughout his undergraduate career in Texas Tech University's 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. At its annual conference in Arizona this spring, the American Real Estate Society (ARES) named Nasser its 2019 Alpha Sigma Gamma Undergraduate Student of the Year.

Alpha Sigma Gamma 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, who will earn his bachelor's degree in finance with a concentration in real estate in May, has served as the president of Texas Tech'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.

group photo
Umair Nasser (far left) and others from the Real Estate Organization, along with professors in the Rawls College of Business, visited firms in Houston during an REO trip in March.

"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 in the Rawls College of Business.

"When we first met Umair, we were initially impressed by his enthusiasm for our real estate courses," the nomination letter by Harrell and Buschbom read. "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. 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 REO, becoming president and leading the group to new heights.

"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 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

  • 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," Nasser 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, where he will begin working as a commercial property tax consultant this summer after graduating.

"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."