You are here

Real Estate News

May 5, 2014

Real Estate Association Elects 2014-15 VPs

The Columbia Business School Real Estate Association (REA) is pleased to announce the co-presidents and vice presidents elected for the 2014–15 academic year.

Topics: Real Estate

By Hisham Araji ’15

The Columbia Business School Real Estate Association (REA) is pleased to announce the co-presidents and vice presidents elected for the 2014–15 academic year. The officers, all in the class of 2015, were elected by the REA membership. Assistant vice presidents will be elected from the incoming class in the fall.

Alumni interested in working with the REA or who would like to be included in any REA-led alumni activities should contact the REA co-presidents or the VPs of alumni relations using the e-mail links below.


Aaron Kazam will be working this summer as a real estate development intern in the mixed-use development division at Related Companies. Prior to attending Columbia, Aaron worked as an architect for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in New York, designing high-rise buildings in New York and Asia. He also worked for Artimus as a project manager of a multi-family development in Manhattan. Aaron received a bachelor of architecture from Cornell University. He plans to continue his career in real estate acquisitions and development after receiving his MBA.

Dan Wagman graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in government. Upon graduation, Dan worked for two and a half years at Eastdil Secured as an investment sales analyst focusing on office, retail, and hotel assets, gaining vast experience underwriting commercial properties in various U.S. markets. While in school, Dan has been working with the real estate startup View The Space helping institute its online cash flow capabilities. This summer, Dan will be joining the Brookfield Office Properties acquisitions team as a summer associate.

Co-VPs of Careers

Juan Agudelo, originally from Medellín, Colombia, received his BS in finance and economics from Seton Hall University. He began his post-collegiate career in the Credit Management Development Program with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York. He spent two years as an analyst in middle market within the Healthcare & Institutions Group. Most recently, Juan was an associate in the firm’s Global Financial Institutions Debt Products group as part of the Asset Managers team. In this role he focused on structuring and underwriting senior credit facilities to alternative asset management firms and their funds, which included closed-end real estate funds. Juan is currently focusing on Real Estate Finance with a long-term interest in pursuing real estate investing in Latin America. This summer Juan will join Prudential Real Estate Investors as a summer acquisitions associate.

Ross Banon worked on the acquisitions team at Sovereign Partners, a real estate private equity firm in New York, prior to attending business school. He was responsible for sourcing and managing deal flow for all acquisitions in the United States across several asset classes. During the spring semester of his first year in business school, he been interning at China Vanke on its acquisitions team. He will continue to intern at Vanke this summer. After business school he intends to continue his career in real estate investment management.

Co-VPs of Alumni & Mentorship

Herschel Bender graduated from the University of Michigan's Stephen Ross School of Business with a bachelor of business administration. After graduation, Herschel helped build the commercial mortgage backed security trading business at RBC Capital Markets. He plans on working in real estate development after receiving his MBA.

Lauren McDermott graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2007. After graduating, she spent five and a half years working in commercial real estate lending at Wells Fargo. She started on a team that covered large private companies based in the Carolinas originating construction, bridge, and standing loans as well as secured and subscription lines of credit. Her last year and a half was with Wells Fargo’s REIT Finance Group where she underwrote and syndicated unsecured lines of credit and term loans for the publicly traded REITs.

VP of Case Competitions

Azeem Ahamed graduated from the University of Waterloo with a BS in biotechnology/economics and a master’s in business, entrepreneurship and technology. He is also qualified as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). Prior to attending Columbia Business School, he spent two years working as a management consultant with Accenture, focusing on supply chain operations and business process improvement, followed by a year in the Office of Strategic Planning at the University of Central Asia, a $1B education reform initiative led by the Aga Khan Development Network. Upon graduating from Columbia Business School, he plans on transitioning into real estate, focusing on residential/commercial investments, acquisitions, and development.

VP of Communications & Technology

Hisham Araji graduated from University of Maryland with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a minor in project management. He worked for two and a half years as an office engineer with Clark Construction Group in Washington, DC, where he helped manage the construction of two core and shell office buildings in downtown DC. He also worked for two and a half years as an energy efficiency consultant with Navigant Consulting in Washington, DC, where he analyzed energy efficient technologies in buildings for the Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Program. This summer, Hisham will be interning at Jonathan Rose Companies in Stamford, CT.

VP of Education

Dennis Giuliano graduated with honors from the University of Delaware with a bachelor of civil engineering. He spent five years as a consulting engineer with Birdsall Services Group in New Jersey, where he focused primarily on waterfront projects and was actively involved in rebuilding the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy. This summer, Dennis will be joining Ironstate Development in Hoboken, NJ.


Roddy Conner graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University with a BSBA in finance and international business. Upon graduating, he was an investment banking analyst in the real estate coverage group at Bank of America. Thereafter, Roddy worked in real estate private equity and capital raising at M3 Capital Partners. For the past five years Roddy has helped manage two early stage products at Bloomberg in New York. First, he participated in the start-up of Bloomberg Real Estate, a web-based software tool offering high-quality data, market benchmarks, and analytics for the commercial real estate community. Currently, he is the team leader for Bloomberg Private Equity, where he manages the development of new functionality and data tailored for private equity professionals, venture capitalists, and institutional investors.   

Co-VPs of Events

Rob Nitkin graduated from Cornell University in 2009 with a degree in operations research engineering. After graduation, he worked in strategy consulting at Ernst and Young conducting acquisition due diligence for private equity firms and corporations. After two years in this role he transitioned to internal strategy, joining the equity derivatives trading division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he worked to develop new financial products and streamline operational trading processes. This summer, he will be working this at Eastdil Secured in New York.

Sarah Pous graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of science in hotel administration. Upon graduating, Sarah joined Credit Suisse as an investment-grade credit analyst covering U.S. banks and REITs. This summer, Sarah will be interning at CCRE.

VP of Finance

Arthur Zeckendorf graduated from Tufts University in 2009 with a double major in international relations and economics, and a concentration in international finance. While at Tufts he was also a member of the varsity crew team and a member of the Student Athletic Council. Following graduation he worked on financing and management at his family’s development firm, Zeckendorf Development, on several high-end luxury condo developments in New York City. In 2010, he joined the investment and asset management team of AEW Capital Management’s private equity funds, a series of fully discretionary close-ended opportunistic vehicles. He worked as a generalist assisting directors in investing JV equity in hospitality, multi-family, development, and office assets across North America.

VP of International

Karl Chan graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of science (honors) degree in urban and regional studies. Prior to pursuing his MBA, he spent three years working as a management trainee at Swire Properties, a Hong Kong-based real estate developer, where he rotated through different departments, including development, leasing, and sales. This summer, Karl will be a summer associate at J.P.Morgan Asia Equity Research in Hong Kong.

VP of J-Term

Joanna Wong graduated magna cum laude with a BS in accounting from Binghamton University. Before business school, Joanna worked as a strategy consultant with PricewaterhouseCooper’s Advisory group. Following that, she joined the family business, which owns and manages residential and commercial real-estate business based in lower Manhattan.

VP of Resources

Nick Friedmann will be interning within the acquisitions division of Caribbean Property Group this summer, analyzing and underwriting hotel/retail/office properties in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Prior to attending Columbia, Nick spent five years working within Wachovia and Wells Fargo’s Real Estate Division, underwriting multifamily loans across the United States, as well as two years as a foreign exchange sales associate advising international real estate private equity firms with foreign currency exposures. After graduating, he plans on pursuing a career in real estate investing. Nick is originally from Montevideo, Uruguay, and received a BSBA in finance from the University of Florida.

VP of Site Tours

Chris Doman will be spending the summer at Tishman Speyer in New York City. Prior to coming to Columbia Business School, he worked for J.P.Morgan Asset Management in Chicago for three years, where he focused on alternative investment manager selection and due diligence. He graduated from Northwestern University in 2010, and was an economics and legal studies double-major and the captain of the men’s varsity swim team.

Co-VPs of Trips

Jonathan Hajar worked prior to business school full-time in a leading architecture and landscape firm in Mexico City called Iñaki Echeverria Arquitectos, and part-time at his own entrepreneurial design and construction firm, Espacio Positivo. At Iñaki Echeverria, he collaborated on several projects, including a LEED-certified Children’s Museum in Monterrey and the Texcoco Lake Ecological Park; a grand scale environmental remediation projects that will become the world’s largest urban park (over 35,350 acres of public space and green infrastructure).  As an entrepreneur he conceptualized and built several interior design and residential projects such as: San Ramon 35, a remodeling project of a 3,400 sq ft residence; and G10 House, a 4,100 sq ft country house in Michoacan. He intends to pursue a career in real estate development in the United States after graduation.

Minna Koo spent four years in Boston, MA, as an architect specializing in Pharma/Biotech R&D facilities and higher education institutions prior to Columbia Business School. In her most recent role, she designed Deerfield Academy’s $28M, 77,000 sq ft performing arts complex with 800-seat auditorium, chamber music hall, and art gallery. Previously she was a design advisor for Genzyme Corporation, where she focused on renovation of R&D facilities in the Framingham and Cambridge, MA, campus and counseled a Chinese architect team with designing the new $100M life science learning center in Beijing, China.

Hisham Araji ’15 is the REA’s newly elected AVP of communications and technology.