Life After Carey: JLL Managing Director Chris Murray
A school is often judged by the quality of its alumni and the ways the school has helped every student down the road to success. And while we’ve delved into what makes the Edward St. John Real Estate Program of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School unique, we set out to get a firsthand perspective of why Carey alumni chose the program and how it helped them reach their current successes. One such Carey alumnus is Chris Murray, a 2005 graduate.
Chris originally graduated with a degree in architecture and worked at various architectural firms in NYC before joining Gensler. Over time, as Gensler grew larger, Chris moved to open the firm's DC office and became more involved with management and administrative tasks, but realized he enjoyed working on the client side much more.
He soon began making the transition from running the office to working with clients—primarily DC law firms—ultimately starting Gensler's professional service firms practice group that works with clients across the country and world.
“I would talk to them about their business plan and the best planning issues, but a lot of these tips were really also best business practices that were integrated into how the space supported the business practice and how it was all tied together,” he explains. “So while that fit the MO of what an architects did, but then eventually I got into the cost-benefit studies, of how much money it saved and how much real estate it saved. And that’s where I’d start to lose them.”
There were instances where lawyers would see Chris strictly as an architect, believing that he couldn’t or shouldn’t be talking to them about these numbers. In these moments, Chris realized that he needed to learn more about real estate in order to prove to them that his advice was valuable.
By the time he started Carey’s real estate program, Chris had been out of school for 25 years, but his previous work experiences helped him place out of the two required architecture and construction courses and focus on other studies, such as international leasing with professor Michael Anikeeff, Ph.D.
“I would say that working with Michael one-on-one was both interesting and engaging, and I appreciated the fact that I was able to tailor my experience around what I did and liked,” Chris tells Bisnow.
Carey not only filled the voids of his knowledge, but it also gave him the credentials that prevented second guessing from clients. After all, he says, “Johns Hopkins is world-renowned,” and no matter where Chris goes, he has credentials that impress.
“So the Hopkins program really did multiple things for me: gave me knowledge which I didn't have, reinforced some of the analyses that I had learned through on-the-job training, and gave me the credentials that validated what I was already doing,” Chris says.
In addition, Chris believes Carey provided an influential alumni real estate network he couldn’t have found anywhere else, which is why he heads Carey’s Real Estate Alumni Forum, working to improve the interconnectivity between alumni and current students.
Chris says that he was so pleased with his time at Carey that he even took up the offer to teach four years ago, calling it a “culmination” of all the help and enhancement that Carey provided for him, including helping him land his current position at JLL.
“Before, I was an architect doing some consulting that included real estate, now I’m with a real estate company doing some consulting involved in architecture,” Chris muses with a chuckle. “So it’s almost flipped; my degree gave me the ability to do that. Real estate is a very complicated world, and Carey can really give you a good foundation in all of it.”
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