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Teo Nicolais

President, Nicolais, LLC

  • Education

    Master of Science in Real Estate Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    AB, Harvard College

Degree Program Affiliation


What do you like about teaching at Harvard Extension School?

Without question, what I love most about teaching at Harvard Extension School is the opportunity to engage on a daily basis with students who are naturally inquisitive and passionate about learning. In addition, teaching in a global classroom means I routinely encounter people who I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet, and their stories, experiences, interests, and drive inspire me every day.

What are your areas of expertise/interest?

Real estate finance, investment, and development.

What first drew you to your field?

I find the built environment endlessly fascinating. To quote Winston Churchill, “we shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” Studying the built environment offers many insights into our society — and many opportunities to repair and improve the world around us for people living today and for generations to come.

What advice would you give to future students interested in taking your courses?

Please feel free to reach out any time with questions. We will be ridiculously excited to have you with us!

Do you have a memory or anecdote from a class or a student partnership that you’d like to share?

When my partner and I became first-time parents in the middle of a semester, I wondered how students would respond to their suddenly (and chronically) sleep-deprived instructor navigating very unfamiliar terrain. The tremendous outpour of compassion, support, encouragement, and truly invaluable advice that I received from the class that semester absolutely blew me away. It reminded me of a core principle of Harvard Extension School: we are all life-long learners and we are all life-long teachers. It also reminded me how the Harvard Extension School community is a vital source of support for all its members even — and especially — when we face challenging times.

More About Teo

Teo Nicolais is a real estate entrepreneur who loves to teach.

Nicolais graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in economics and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Master of Science in Real Estate Development.

He was awarded the prestigious CRE (Counselor of Real Estate) designation by The Counselors of Real Estate, a preeminent global organization of commercial property advisors. Only 1,000 real estate professionals worldwide hold the CRE credential, which is awarded on an invitation basis in recognition of an individual’s status as one of the most trusted professionals in the field of real estate.

In addition to being a CRE, Nicolais also holds the distinguished Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation from the CCIM Institute and Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), making him one of only 17 people globally to hold all three highly sought-after real estate credentials.

Nicolais also earned the Certified Apartment Portfolio Manager (CAPS) designation from the National Apartment Association (NAA), he is certified in the commercial real estate valuation, asset management, and development software programs ARGUS Enterprise and ARGUS Developer, and he is a licensed real estate broker.

He studied real estate private equity at Harvard Business School and advanced real estate finance, development, and private equity at Harvard Graduate School of Design. His studies included finance and system dynamics at the MIT Sloan School of Management and real estate finance and investment, real estate development, urban economics, real estate law, and urban planning at MIT’s Center for Real Estate.

Nicolais has taught 118 courses at the Harvard Division of Continuing Education with a cumulative enrollment of over 15,600 students. Of the four courses required for Harvard Extension School’s Real Estate Investment Certificate, three are taught by Nicolais. To date, over 7,300 Harvard students have taken his real estate courses.

Students honored Nicolais with an overall rating of 5.00 out of 5.00 in their course evaluations, and Harvard Extension School awarded him with the Joanna Fussa Distinguished Teaching Award and the Dean Michael Shinagel Award. Nicolais has received the “Harvard Extension Student Association’s Student Choice Award” twice and was the recipient of HESA’s “Favorite Professor Award” in 2023.

Nicolais lives and breathes real estate as President of his real estate investment company, Nicolais, LLC, which invests in multifamily rental properties in the Denver metro area. He has been hired by the Federal Trade Commission as an expert witness in real estate matters and as a real estate subject matter expert by Harvard Business School Online.

Nicolais sits on the boards of directors of the Harvard Real Estate Alumni Board (HAREB), the Colorado Association of REALTORS (CAR), and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) Greater Denver. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the CCIM Institute, the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), and the National Apartment Association (NAA). He served as a Director of the US Fund for UNICEF.

Nicolais has twice served as Vice President of the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, which represents over 261,000 apartment units and was on the Board of Directors of the Colorado Apartment Association, which represents over 317,000 apartment units. Nicolais has served as Chair of the AAMD’s Independent Rental Owner’s Council and was named the AAMD’s Person of the Year.

Prior to starting his own investment company, Nicolais served as the Director of Finance and Acquisitions for a $500 million real estate investment company in Illinois active in the development and management of apartments, condominiums, single-family homes, office, and retail properties.