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With tassels turned, graduates in real estate programs across NYC face the industry still challenged by employment prospects (and needing to pay rent, ironically). Luckily, the job outlook is 100% better than last year, NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate divisional dean Jim Stuckey tells us.
YU Schack Institute of Real Estate divisional dean Jim Stuckey
Preparing students for the industry is holistic. NYU Schack’s philosophy is not to just teach technical competence, but to form the resources, relationships, moral courage, leadership, and skills that help students navigate their careers, Jim says. “For instance, how do you rebuild after a catastrophe?” NYU Schack’s faculty of 11 full-time professors and 125 adjuncts have been in the industry for years and many are prominent leaders in CRE. This know-how provides the students with an in-depth understanding of the profession (and a few contacts here and there). Students are tackling subjects like robotic technologies and sustainability “so we can lead the trend,” and many are getting jobs in these areas. Coursework includes finance and investment, global real estate, the business of development, and sustainable development.
Students look over a model with professors Emily Youssouf (center) and Barry Hersh (second from right)
Students look over a model with professors Emily Youssouf (center) and Barry Hersh (second from right). Many have taken trips related to global development and finance courses and have met with organizations in countries like India, Hong Kong, and Brazil. Students are being told by these foreign companies, “Call us as soon as you get your degree.” And now many of the grads are on their way to these countries for jobs in development, finance, and construction management. (Bisnow Rio, anyone?) Schack also has an advisory board and mentorship program for students that leads to internships, interviews, and job opportunities. “The alumni go out of the way for our students, and many wind up hiring them,” Jim says.
Michael Slattery and Joe Kang
NYU Schack students Michael Slattery and Joe Kang respectively set to graduate in fall '12 and summer ’13 with a masters in real estate, concentrating in finance and investment. Joe just finished his second semester and will start looking for job opportunities midway through the program. He is currently an associate at Morgan Stanley, where he began as an analyst in ’03. Michael worked as an intern at REBNY while enrolled in undergrad, and recently returned to work as a research associate. Michael says NYU has provided numerous avenues to help further his career and education, including networking events, lectures, and courses that helped him see the components of the industry from varying perspectives. “After completing two semesters, I feel even stronger that I’ve made the right choice to join NYU,” Joe adds.
Professor Lynne Sagalyn, the director of the MBA program and the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate
Some 50 students graduated from Columbia University’s Business School program in real estate this year, which focuses on subjects like real estate finance and banking, investment management, private equity, and development, says professor Lynne Sagalyn, director of the MBA program and the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate. The center has strong relationships with many of the big players in CRE in New York and across the nation. With four professors and nine adjuncts with executive experience on the faculty, “the program gives students a foot in the industry, and it integrates theory and practices,” she says. It’s not a textbook curriculum, but weaves hot topics like distress into its courses through case studies. This year included analysis of buying a minority position in a London trophy property and reviewing the recapitalization and sale of 111 Eighth Ave, among others. (We wonder if there's a course on building a tolerance to that dry erase marker smell.)
Columbia University
Columbia Business School
Almost all of the 45 to 50 first-year students have found internships and more than 60% of graduates have accepted full-time jobs, Lynne tells us. Columbia has an active career management center and a dedicated executive-in-residence, Leanne Lachman, who not only helps students searching for jobs but also with connections to alumni in the industry. “The center has fabulous ties and can match a person’s skills with companies,” Lynne says. There are CRE industry coaches to talk job strategy and videotape mock interviews, while emails from the career management center offer career tips and advice. The toughest year for recruitment (and the NY Mets) was ’09, she says, and in good times, perhaps 80% of graduates would have accepted full-time positions by May.
Michael Tillman and Lauren Jezienicki
Two from Columbia’s Class of '11: Michael Tillman and Lauren Jezienicki. Lauren worked at The JBG Cos two years prior to enrolling at Columbia, and held a part-time internship with Academic Housing Partners while in school. The real advantage to Columbia's NYC location is its proximity to senior business executives who live and/or work in Manhattan, she says. “We were lucky enough to have dozens of high-level professionals, many of them legends in the industry, visit the campus to teach a class, speak at an event, or serve as a mentor,” she says. Michael Tillman took a job with The LeFrak Org, after working with the company through an internship (managing director Harrison LeFrak is a Columbia graduate, and the firm takes one intern each from Columbia and Wharton annually). Many of the school’s alumni are based in or near NYC, and often visit to share their experiences through mentorship breakfasts, speaker lunches, or career panels.
The Quest Org president Michael Rosenblatt
Even though exec search and consulting firm The Quest Organization assists with executive-level hiring, the challenging job market has brought influx of calls from grad students and their parents, president Michael Rosenblatt tells us. Even though the job market’s getting better, firms are still being cautious and not scooping up post-grads as quickly as they used to. Firms are looking for proactive, resourceful, hardworking applicants who will create their own path. The downturn’s been a rude awakening to a generation whose worth ethic isn’t as strong as past generations and has the feeling of entitlement (kids with their video games and their tight pants). “You can’t have everything handed to you,” Michael says. “You will have to work hard to be successful and earn the rewards of your efforts.”
CBRE global director of human resources Chris Kirk
But there are also firms looking to hire again. CBRE is setting its sights on junior sales talent and reemphasizing college recruitment as it sees an uptick in hiring needs, says global director of human resources Chris Kirk. The hiring freeze, begun in ‘08,impacted the junior positions the most, but now CBRE is selectively looking for talented professionals beginning their career. What it's looking for: academically strong, detail oriented, results oriented, financial acumen, and a real, demonstrated interest and involvement in the real estate business. And you can be successful early on. “We’ve had folks who hit the ground running,” he says. CBRE’s Wheel Program—a 12-month rotational schedule that allows junior talent to cycle through a “wheel” of experience in various business lines—took in 25 graduates from 20 universities this year.