Eighteen years. That's how long Yale University's director of investments for real estate has been at the university's $23 billion (€14.5 billion) endowment – the second largest university endowment in the US. Alan Forman, property investments chief, is a long-time Yale veteran, joining the endowment in 1990 straight out of the New York University Stern School of Business after receiving his MBA. The Yale University endowment has been an active investor in real estate, making its first sizable direct real estate investment in the late 1970s, according to Forman. The endowment currently has 27 percent of its portfolio allocated to “real assets,” which includes oil, gas and timberland, in addition to real estate. Real estate comprises approximately 18 percent of its real assets investments, with the remaining one-third allocated to natural resources such as oil, gas and timber. At its June 2007 meeting, Yale's investment committee approved an increase in its allocation to real assets from 27 percent to 28 percent. Its 28 percent target to real assets far surpasses the average endowment's commitment of 10.1 percent, according to Yale. It is not surprising then that other major university endowments are keeping a close eye on its investment strategies. Separate from real assets, the Yale endowment also has a target to private equity of 19 percent, with 18.7 percent already allocated to the asset class. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, the endowment beat its peers – returning 28 percent, more than any other university endowment. The endowment's robust returns can be attributed in large measure to its strategic investment strategies. It has, in general, tended to hire smaller entrepreneurial groups that are real estate operators and has also been willing to make bets on up-and-coming firms, says Forman, who now presides over a track record that is hard to beat and a lot of other LPs would love to mimic.