Real Estate & Finance Roundtable

With the Spring job hunting season in full swing, the graduate and undergrad RE clubs invited 4 RE professionals to discuss their career path and opine on the current job market.

Ksenia O’Neill, ZGREC president, and Catherine Kuo, UG RE club president, introduced the panelist and started the question and answer session by asking how they got their current position and what they thought about the job market.

Dhaval Parikh, Zicklin MBA’06,  Got his job through an information session at Baruch and applied to an open position.  It’s good to hit the pavement, especially since places are starting to hire.  But it’s still very competitive, because of people graduating, and others who where laid off.  You can expect to be 1 of 500 resumes and have to do 4 or more interviews

Henry Ickowicz, BS at Wharton. Started at Bear Stearns. Works now at JPMorgan\Chase putting CMBS deals together.  Got his start at Lazard, through on-campus recruiting. Get out there and go through some of the events; talk to people in the industry about where they go to network.  The commercial RE business is a very small industry.  Over time you will meet plenty of people and make an impression.  Don’t get discouraged, lots of interviews won’t go perfectly.  It’s more about a good fit.

Janine Stultz, Howard Univ,  MS from Baruch.  Now employed at CBRE as an HR Manager.  Worked at Bear Stearns previously.  Likes to work with unions and that is very good background to have in commercial RE.   Of all the things you really need . . . you will need ambition and drive. Nearly every resume that comes across her desk has been referred by a colleague.  Be sure to do research of panelists, BEFORE, you go to an event, so that you have talking points.  It really creates an impression when you do your research and can talk about someone you are meeting.  It show that you have a hunger.

Robert Singer,  MS in RE from NYU, now employed at Time Equities.  While at NYU did an internship at Time Equites and it turned into a job.  It’s an excellent way to get into a company. Job boards are always a good source.  His alma mater has a job board that is open to everyone.    Don’t forget to check the culture and type of place.  There are a lot of different cultures.  Met a guy who worked his way in through informational interviews.  Show your guts, and drive, but not too crazy.  Don’t make yourself annoying and don’t hammer someone about a specific job.

What do you recommend for students to do now, to give them an extra edge?

HI:  Staying on top of the industry is very critical as you go through school.  Read articles and find out how the industry is changing.  RE has been around forever, but it’s always changing.  Read up.

RS:  During school learning excel and Argus is critical.  Be sure to know them very well.  You will be expected to crunch numbers.  It’s an incredibly important task, but those higher up the ladder don’t want to do it.  He even takes interviewees and puts them in front of a computer to see if they can actually use the software.  Being able to hit the ground running differentiates you from others.

What do look for in a company?  What keeps you there.

DP: Likes that BlackRock is a global organization.  Likes that they invest in all types of properties and risk types.  The company gives you a broad exposure.

HI:  The most important for him is experience, especially RE experience.

JS:  The people who I work with.  You spend a lot time with them, so you better be able to deal with them.

RS:  Time Equities is small and led by singular figure.  There’s a lot of potential for interaction with a lot of people.  The company culture agreed with him.  Do you have an opportunity to wear more hats?  Yes, especially since the portfolio so mixed.  It really made the company attractive.

DP:  The first two years are extra important in that you need to show a good impression and are willing to make the extra effort

How do you keep your balance between work and life?

HI: If you love your work,  it’s easier to spend more time there.  That will help to avoid, but not prevent burnout.  There is a cliff.  Breaks help, such as going to the gym.  Going to functions and bringing in more business can be a way mix the work and people.

Can you comment on exit opportunities? Where have you seen people go?

HI: Private equity is an option, or perhaps to firm that makes “mezz” loans or B notes.

DP: Having a broad experience helps wherever you want to go.  Reach across the company and see what other parts of the firm are doing.

Do you have cautions and/or pitfalls from your experience that you can share?

DP:  I went to hedge fund rather than Cushman Wakefield for a summer internship and hated it.  Rather than following a fad (e.g. investment banking, or entertainment), follow the areas you enjoy.

Are there areas now that are hotter than others?  What are some skills for those jobs?

DP:  Since acquisitions slowed down so much during the recession, they will probably come back more than others.

HI: Number crunching jobs seem to be the ones that are coming back.

What mentors have help you along the way?

DP: Got a lot help from the mentor program at Baruch.

HI:  First boss gave a lot of help on how to work and figure things out for yourself.

JS:  Had a great mentor starting in high school.  She helped so much with writing resumes, doing mock interviews and she was a resource for questions about how to navigate situations.

RS: Not every one has great mentors, but making those relationships will help you in so many ways as your career develops.

Great comments.  Many thank yous to the panelists.  We really appreciate your time.  Much appreciation to the volunteers who helped make this happen.

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