HATS OFF TO THE GRADUATES
|Chicago's real estate schools have produced grads this year that have one thing in common: They're all very different. We interviewed five of the city's top grads this year, starting with Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business' Kevin Newell, who already had a job with Beitler Real Estate before he started classes in Evanston. The perfect opportunity to go to grad school presented itself in 2009 as the recession started to take its toll on development and Kevin found an interest in finance. An internship at Goldman Sachs last summer solidified that interest and led to a job in New York in the company's real estate investment banking division starting next month (he's planning his wedding in Chicago early next year during his last days as a Windy City resident). Kevin helped his classmates find jobs as career chair of the Kellogg Real Estate Club and says this year's graduates are a lot luckier than last year's—all kind of companies are starting to hire.|
Roosevelt graduate Jessica Barenberg didn't really know what she wanted to do once she finished her MBA. But in her first year in the program, she won the Rising Star award for her hard work and was recruited into real estate by program head Jon DeVries. Jon encouraged her to join the Goldie Wolfe Miller Scholars, which helped Jessica earn a scholarship and get mentored throughout her second year by Cornerstone Capital's Nicole Pecoulas and JLL's Paige Steers. In professor Sophia Dermisi's class, Jessica learned she loved green development and was inspired to become a property manager. After graduation, she started with Colliers International as a property administator for a portfolio of suburban buildings, including the Kimberly-Clark and Honeywell warehouses.
|University of Chicago Booth School of Business grad Alex O'Brien didn't just know he wanted to be in real estate: he already had his own company. Alex is the co-founder of Cardinal Capital Group, an owner of more than 2,000 units of student housing throughout the country. Alex founded the company with three other entrepreneurs in 2006, and together they decided that one of them should earn an MBA. Along the way, he learned a lot from professors like Joseph Pagliari about the analytical side of commercial real estate and valuing buildings. One of his favorite experiences was last year's Booth-Kellogg Real Esate Challenge, where teams were allotted $100M in imaginary money to invest in each of five Chicago buildings, which they toured, asked questions about, and evaluated. After graduation, Alex is looking forward to moving his company's HQ to Denver, where he'll continue to invest in student housing.|
|Another Kellogg graduate, Michael Regan, will make Northwestern a stop on his coast-to-coast career path. Michael did his undergrad work at Wharton, then spent a few years creating new financial products to help corporations alleviate debt for Citigroup in New York. So Michael had a front row seat to the impending recession when he left for school in 2009. While there, he discovered a knack for development and acquisitions, so he landed a job with CIM Group in LA, where he’ll focus on acquiring and developing new properties in specific neighborhoods in LA, San Fran, and New York. Like Alex, he liked the practical aspects of school, including the Booth-Kellogg challenge, which his team won last year.|
DePaul graduate Jan Model had a busy 18 months completing his MBA. Jan was already working at Town Builder Studios in Riverside when he decided to go back to school. Married with the three kids, Jan was a graduate assistant and helped organize the DePaul Real Estate Alumni Association symposium in the spring. He had an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois but decided a finance degree was essential to future success in real estate. DePaul was a perfect fit with its dedicated Real Estate Program. As an assistant to professors Suzanne Cannon and Charlie Wurtzebach, Jan tracked leading real estate economic indicators to guide research being completed by the DePaul Real Estate Center. The knowledge gained has already led to a new role in his company as VP of development and acquisitions.