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by Elliott Fry ’18
On Friday March 3, 2017, Columbia Business School’s Real Estate Association, in partnership with the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate, hosted the 8th annual Real Estate Career Forum at the Columbia Club of New York. The Career Forum had representation from over 25 prestigious companies from varying parts of the Real Estate industry.
The Real Estate Career Forum provides a venue for professionals from leading real estate firms to come together with Columbia Business School students, share pertinent information about their companies’ strategies and cultures, discuss recent industry trends and build relationships. This event is mutually beneficial to both the firms and the students who are in the process of recruiting, and is now in its 8th year. Companies represented at the 2017 Career Forum included developers, real estate private equity investors, insurance companies, and commercial banks, among others.
In addition to meeting current MBAs, the Career Forum is an excellent place for real estate company representatives to network with each other. For the first hour, real estate professionals arrived at the venue to discuss and share ideas with industry peers. Subsequently, Professor Tomasz Piskorski, Edward S. Gordon Associate Professor of Real Estate and Leanne Lachman, President of Lachman Associates, and Executive-in-Residence at Columbia Business School, then welcomed the company representatives and introduced the Columbia MBA Classes of 2017 and 2018.
In his welcome remarks, Professor Piskorski highlighted the strong real estate curriculum, focusing on its quantitative and qualitative emphasis designed to fully prepare students to be successful in a professional setting and add value to all types of real estate organizations. Furthermore, he stressed how the Real Estate Finance course provides a comprehensive introduction to both equity and debt real estate principles through CaseWorks and interactive discussion.
Following Professor Piskorski’s remarks, Leanne Lachman thanked the company representatives for attending the Career Forum and emphasized the Columbia students’ willingness to learn on the job. She referenced the strong relationship that Columbia Business School and the greater Real Estate community have had in past years, the Business School’s excitement to continue this strong relationship into the future, and introduced the strong real estate cohort currently enrolled at the Business School eagerly waiting to enter the room.
As industry practitioners located their designated tables, the Forum opened to first- and second-year students. Over the next two hours, students shook hands, made introductions and exchanged stories as new relationships were formed and old relationships reacquainted. Following a long period of lively discussion, Alex Cemaj ’17, Co-Vice President of Careers for the Real Estate Association, provided closing remarks suggesting that the REA looked forward to seeing the industry representatives at future events. As the Real Estate Career Forum ended, both practitioners and students alike left with a stronger network and new ideas making the 8th annual event an overwhelming success.
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Elliott Fry ’18 is the AVP of Careers for the Real Estate Association at Columbia Business School. He is a first-year student focusing on real estate finance and acquisitions. He received degrees in both Real Estate and Finance from the University of Georgia and previously worked as an Investments Associate for Mercer Investments Inc. in Atlanta, GA. He is a CFA Level III Candidate.