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Asia Dreamin'

Ryan Kvalvik

Age: 27

Degree: MBA/Master of Real Estate Development

College: University of Southern California

Long-term career goal: To develop green office and industrial buildings

Most admired professional: Thomas J. Barrack Jr., chairman of Colony Capital LLC

Ryan Kvalvik didn't wait for graduation from the University of Southern California to chart his career path. Kvalvik, who this month will earn dual master's degrees in business administration and real estate, has already traveled to China and India to scout development possibilities.

“Asia has just been growing so much faster than the rest of the world in the past few years. There is a lot of opportunity there. But you have to do your due diligence and link up with the right people and ride out the long term,” says Kvalvik.

India and China have become economic powerhouses, with China's 2007 GDP projected at $3 trillion, which would be a growth of nearly 14% over last year. India's GDP is projected at $984 billion, nearly 10% higher than 2006.

One day, Kvalvik hopes to start a real estate development firm and invest in office buildings and warehouses in Asia and California. But in the meantime, he is building his skills at IDS Real Estate Group in Los Angeles, where he evaluates properties the company may acquire.

The IDS team recently scrutinized a three-story, 75,000 sq. ft. medical office building and parking lot near downtown Los Angeles, where a garage and second office building have been proposed.

Kvalvik prepared for the job by earning an MBA with an emphasis in finance and a Master of Real Estate Development with a concentration in office and industrial properties. He was also president of the real estate club at USC's Lusk Center.

Some 20 club members toured the 2000 Avenue of the Stars construction site in Century City, an 800,000 sq. ft. project developed by Trammell Crow Co. Wearing hard hats, they glimpsed the site from atop the 12-story structure, which lacked an exterior curtain wall. “It was more exciting than scary,” recalls Kvalvik.

The students met with lead developer Brad Cox and learned how difficult it was to negotiate with special interest groups, from city officials to neighbors.

In Las Vegas, the club met with MGM Mirage Chairman Terrence Lanni at the Bellagio Hotel for a briefing on the $7 billion mixed-use CityCenter project on the Las Vegas strip. Kvalvik also talked with a USC classmate, attorney West Seegmiller, whose company is building a 23-story loft tower in Las Vegas, Newport Lofts.

“The Newport project was much more entrepreneurial and much more the type of thing I'd like to do,” Kvalvik says, rather than work in corporate management.

His father sold residential real estate in Walnut Creek. But as an undergraduate at the University of California at Berkeley, Kvalvik found his strength in finance. He worked for a consulting firm, and a private equity fund as lead financial analyst and head of its accounting department.

“I was able to get a lot of exposure to the numbers behind a deal. I was seeing the cash flows, learning how to forecast for capital improvements, tenant improvements, leasing commissions.” And he saw how the deals were structured.

Kvalvik enjoys IDS. “It's pretty much exactly what I was looking for, to gain experience and build my track record.”

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