I have known Peter for about eight years, first as an undergraduate student taking Private Sector Development and then keeping in touch throughout the years both professionally and personally. I also had the pleasure working with Peter as the TA for the course between 2012 and 2014.
Peter's genuine excitement, passion and professional experience shines during the class and he is always regarded as one of the most memorable adjunct professors at the Humphrey. His enthusiasm helps students' hone their quantitative skills by working through numerous pro-forma financial statements and adapt their analytical skills to think through the eyes of a developer.
The course and Peter had a large influence on my career path after graduating with an urban planning degree. I am presently working as a project manager in the real estate development sector.
Peter Brown's Private Sector Development course is a must for any aspiring real estate professional, public official, or financial/investment analyst. Peter challenges his students to immerse themselves in the decision making process for each stakeholder in a real estate development deal while also demanding they master the basic to intermediate financial concepts necessary for any professional in the industry. Not only did I learn enough in this course to make me a viable candidate for development firms without a formal finance background, it helped me learn precisely what about development I loved and what aspects of it most appealed to me.
Peter took the extra time and effort to personally counsel me on my career; now, I see him not only as a mentor but also as a colleague and a friend. This experience was not unique to me. Peter stimulated the interest of the entire class — resulting in lively and provocative class discussions — while also covering the fun aspects of real estate, sharing his first hand experiences with developers across the nation and their multibillion dollar projects.
I took Peter’s course “Private Sector Development” in my first year in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program at the Humphrey School. Peter and the course were both highly recommended by previous students that are now in planning related professions in both the public and private sector. To this day, the course gets rave reviews when brought up in conversation. In a field where cross-disciplinary experience and a working knowledge of the city-building process are a prerequisite, I only wish there had been more courses like Peter’s. As a City Planner for Saint Paul, MN, I navigate the development world on a daily basis and use the foundation from Private Sector Development to understand and help facilitate these projects through City processes. It may go without saying, but in order to be an effective employee and project partner I need to understand that process from both sides of the table. I still meet Peter for coffee when I ‘m looking for insight on site selection, local real estate development, political processes or someone to bounce ideas off of. I am so appreciative to know Peter — he is a valuable resource and a conversation with him never disappoints!
City of Saint Paul
I completed Peter’s “Private Sector Development” course spring semester, 2012. I found the course’s emphasis on case study analysis an effective and interesting way to learn. Course lectures were consistently collaborative, engaging, and fun. Peter is an effective storyteller sharing illuminating development-related anecdotes from his own personal experience. The course represents a great mix of applying real world, hands-on real estate development financial concepts while appreciating the influence of more subjective elements related to product design and interpersonal relationships. Absolutely one of my most favorite and useful courses I attended within the Humphrey Institute’s MPA program.
Scott A. Ehrenberg
Loan Portfolio Specialist, Residential Finance
Housing Policy and Development
City of Minneapolis – Community Planning and Economic Development
Whether writing, teaching or consulting, Peter addresses the issues of urban growth and change through his own unique experiences in local government, architectural design and real estate development. I've had the pleasure of working with Peter as a student, teaching assistant, and professional. Peter's dedication to the development of his students ensures an active learning environment in which students are encouraged to participate in open dialogue while gaining skills that will serve them in their careers.
Department of Architecture and Planning
University of Minnesota
I took Peter Brown’s Private Sector Development course at the Humphrey School because classmates described it as a can’t-miss elective. I wasn’t quite sure if that would be true for me, since I had actually been working in development for several years at that point. It was still absolutely true — the class ended up being a high point of grad school overall. His personal experience with how projects happen and how deals are made is what made it special, and his interest in those things is contagious. I’ve had the good fortune to work with Peter on public realm projects in downtown Minneapolis since that time — including the redesign of Nicollet Mall and Downtown East Commons — and it’s been a treat to see that focus on how to get things done in action in real world applications. His management of complex projects is really exemplary.
Director of Public Realm Initiatives
Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District