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By Tricia Philip-Rao
The Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate is pleased to announce that Laura Burkey ’16, Cheryl Kong ’16, and Erin Williams ’16 have all been awarded scholarships by the organization WX, New York Women Executives in Real Estate. As part of their scholarship package, they will the opportunity to participate in WX monthly breakfasts, annual dinner, and its prestigious mentoring program. All three women are focusing their MBA studies on real estate and also serve on the executive board of the school’s Real Estate Association.
“The WX Scholarship is an invaluable asset for MBA women starting a career in real estate. It’s validation and a ready-made network of successful professionals all rolled into one,” commented Lynne B. Sagalyn, the Earle W. Kazis and Benjamin Schore Professor of Real Estate and MBA Real Estate Program director. “The award has helped so many of our real estate alumni—31 in number since 2004! We are both proud and deeply appreciative of the organization’s commitment to young professionals.”
Cheryl Kong ’16, Erin Williams ’16 & Laura Burkey ’16
About the recipients:
Burkey will be joining the Investments Team at Rialto Capital in New York City after graduation. Prior to Columbia, Laura worked as an Associate in the Financial Institutions Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, first on the Corporate Banking team and later on the Investment Banking team. There, she focused on providing integrated debt, equity and M&A solutions to Insurance clients. Concurrently, she spent two years working with the Pencil Program, a nonprofit dedicated to improving student achievement through partnerships between businesses and schools. Laura holds a BA in English from Georgetown University.
Kong, a Singaporean native, graduated with honors from the McIntire School of Commerce at UVa in 2009. Since then, she pursued an international career in finance, gaining experience in Zurich, Hong Kong and Singapore, before discovering her passion in real estate finance. Cheryl most recently served as a Summer Associate with UBS’s Real Estate Investment Banking team in NY, where she assisted with multiple M&A pitches and active capital raises. She plans to return to UBS full-time, to develop her career in real estate post-MBA.
Williams is a member of the Columbia Business School class of 2016 MBA program. Prior to her MBA, Erin worked at Deloitte & Touche as an auditor serving primarily real estate and private equity clients out of their Washington, DC and New York offices. During her time at Columbia, Erin was actively involved in the school’s real estate program, taking a leadership role in the student lead Real Estate Association, helping plan a real estate trek to Singapore and China, and serving as a TA for the Advanced Real Estate Seminar Capstone class. Post MBA, Erin will be returning to Eastdil Secured where she interned last summer in their New York Investment Sales group.
WX is an invitation-only association of senior-level women in all aspects of the commercial real estate industry. Its mission is to promote the advancement of women in the commercial real estate industry. Since launching its scholarship program in 2004, WX has awarded over $750,000 in scholarships to more than 100 women at 11 universities and colleges.
Tricia Philip-Rao is the Assistant Director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate at Columbia Business School. Prior to Columbia Business School, Tricia worked in Faculty Support Services at Columbia Law School. She holds an MA in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.