What led you to the MBA Real Estate Program at Columbia Business School?
I was in real estate finance and plan to pivot into real estate investment post-MBA. I was attracted to the strong alumni network, incredible courses in real estate and leadership, and career development resources provided by Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate and the Career Management Center. Also, I love NYC. It’s the world’s center for real estate investment and the perfect place for my career development. In summary, the location combined with Milstein Center’s resources make the MBA Real Estate Program at Columbia Business School second to none.
Tell us more about your role and position in the Real Estate Association, and the impact the REA has on your experience at Columbia Business School.
I’m AVP of International and will serve as VP of International next year. I enjoyed organizing International Matters, a club event where we invite international students to share their experiences, market insights and case studies in various countries. It’s a great way to learn from our peers and broaden our horizons. The REA is a tight community with amazing members. Second year students have been guiding me through the resources at CBS since Connect II. I learned so much from industry leaders, alums and fellow members through various REA events.
Are you a member of student organizations other than the Real Estate Association? If so, which?
I’m VP of Finance for Columbia Women in Business and a member of Columbia Student Investment Management Association, Private Equity Club, and Greater China Society.
What events or speakers have been most meaningful or impactful to you while in business school?
One of my goals for my MBA study is to develop a global perspective. I found speakers in the Global Real Estate class extremely helpful. Working on cases based on real estate projects in different countries and different times, then hearing from people behind the cases explaining their thought process of the investment decisions and their views of the current market is a great learning experience. I also enjoyed the Community Is Contagious (a slack channel started by students during quarantine) events, especially the “Ask an Indian/Chinese/American/Korean/Arab” series. I found it fascinating to learn about different cultures and countries from our own professors and students.
How has your first year at CBS prepared you for your summer internship?
This summer, I will join Actis Singapore office virtually, working on real estate investments in Southeast Asia, a region I’ve never been to. Global Real Estate Investment and Catching Waves in Emerging Markets are great classes that get me into the global/emerging market investment mode. PMC speaker events and REA trainings helped me keeping up with the market trends and sharpening technical skills.
With specific reference to the school’s transition to remote instruction in response to COVID-19, what strategies have you applied during this time? What has worked for you in setting up a virtual learning environment?
My overall strategy is to focus on what I can control and make the most out of what I have access to. For classes, I think the most important thing is to retain the same high standards for myself in terms of class preparation and assignments. For events, I find the virtual environment surprisingly favorable and I attended more events because 1) Most of the CBS events are recorded now so I can watch the recordings later if there’s a time conflict 2) I don’t need to commute for off-campus events any more so I was able to participate in more events held by professional organizations such as CFA and ULI.
What is the best thing about living in NYC?
People. I’m always amazed by the diversity and inclusion. It’s fascinating to meet and learn from so many talented people from drastically different backgrounds.
Favorite place you’ve traveled?
If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
Teleportation. Family and friends are extremely important to me. My family are in China and my friends are in various cities around the world. It would be fantastic if I could visit and spend time with them more often via teleportation.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
I hope to be making real estate investments that transform lives and communities.