Life After Carey: US State Department International Realty Specialist Katie Troutman
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 Edward St. John Real Estate Program of the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School unique compared to other programs, we set out to get a firsthand perspective of why Carey alumni chose the program and how it helped them reach their current successes. Our last alumna is US State Department senior international realty specialist Katie Troutman, a 2008 graduate.
Growing up in a real estate family, Katie had always planned to receive an MBA to further her career in the industry. Interestingly enough, however, she actually was wait-listed the first time she applied to Carey in 2003, despite graduating from Yale with a bachelor’s degree in architecture.
Instead, Katie took her first job at Trammell Crow as a leasing associate in suburban Maryland. “It was basically landlord and tenant rep leasing work,” she tells Bisnow.
From there, she took a position as a senior financial analyst at Holliday Fenoglio Fowler. While working there, she began taking classes at Carey in the evenings and quickly realized the uniqueness of Carey’s teaching staff.
“A lot of people are concerned that learning real estate law is going to be dry, but I loved it,” she says. “I was taught by Alan Vollmann, a partner at Holland & Knight who was also selected by the International Bar Association as one of the top international real estate lawyers in the US.
"He was a demanding and very engaging professor," she continued. "Not only was he a prestigious law partner, but also I think he even taught Latin at Banneker High School. It was obvious that he was a man who not only knew what he was talking about, but he also loved to teach. It was just a fantastic course, and what I learned really helped me when working in the private sector, as well as with the State Department.”
When asked about the biggest lessons she took away from Carey, Katie says it comes down to two things. She not only learned the importance of being hypervigilant when it comes to reviewing contract documents but also how social and close-knit the real estate industry is.
Carey catalyzed many important relationships she depends on to this day, largely because the student body is the same population making its mark within real estate in the DC area. The ability to make and maintain interesting connections among fellow students working in all different aspects of the business, she says, can make all the difference, even years down the line.
“I'm still in touch with so many people I met while in school and I’ve been introduced to so many other people,” she says. “It's been very helpful in terms of vetting an opportunity or potential investment.”
Speaking of opportunities, Katie acknowledges Carey’s “very direct relationship” to her move to the State Department. Her international markets professor, Greenspoon Marder Law counsel Gary Lachman, worked in the State Department’s Office of Overseas Buildings Operations in the past and encouraged Katie to apply, after which she soon received an offer.
With all of this in mind, Katie looks back on her time at Carey with great fondness, and not only because she’s “kind of a nerd who loves school.”
“I really enjoyed my classes and being in an academic environment again, but I think it’s more than that,” she says. “Not only does the program give you the fundamentals to be able to evaluate opportunities in real estate and acquisition and construction, but the connections you make can be very valuable in terms of both friendship and being able to call on people to answer questions and get jobs done professionally.
"That’s why I think it’s a special place," she continued. "It was a good choice for me and I think that it would be a good choice for other people who want to strengthen their analytical abilities and create important local networks of opportunity while continuing to work.”
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