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By Tricia Philip-Rao
The Paul Milstein Center sat down with Jenny Rae Le Roux ’18 to discuss what drew her to Columbia Business School, her vision for the future, and the best thing about living in New York. Jenny Rae is Vice President for January Term in the Real Estate Association (REA).
Meet Jenny Rae!
What led you to the MBA Real Estate Program at Columbia Business School?
I began investing in real estate in 2010, and it was always a side investing strategy for me (I was building a tech company at the same time). But after a few years, I realized I had built an investment thesis, a management system, and a repeatable process – and I wanted to scale it. The MBA Real Estate Program is actually the number one reason I came to Columbia – after investigation, I realized it was a fantastic program and the best fit for me.
Tell us more about your role and position in the Real Estate Association.
As the AVP (and now VP) of J-Term, I curate 1:1 relationships with our small group of students and also plan social events, site visits, and career events for the J-Term group. In the summer, I work directly with the Co-Presidents to keep the REA running and connected while a small group of us are in classes.
Are you a member of other student organizations? If so, which? Do you hold any other officer positions?
Yes – I am involved with the Columbia Entrepreneurs Organization, the VC Club, the Family Business Club, and the Hermes Society, as well as the VP of Leadership and Mentorship for Columbia Women in Business, and the President of the Christian Business Fellowship.
What events or speakers have been most meaningful or impactful to you while in business school?
Wendy Silverstein (of New York REIT and formerly of Vornado) was incredible; she made a huge impact on the way I thought about women in high levels of real estate, and she talked about getting early opportunities by running straight for crazy hard situations. I also loved Geoffrey Jervis ’99 from iStar – he thinks about real estate finance in ways I had never thought of, and again has used both analytics and creativity to take advantage of major opportunities.
How did your first year at CBS help prepare you for recruitment?
The Paul Milstein Center (and also informal mentors) have been amazing resources. I’ve also had a number of very fruitful coffee chats with alums in the New York area.
How do you define and measure success?
I used to be really competitive with other people and would define success in a comparative way, but more recently I’ve shifted to a more free view – success is defining who you are and what you want and staying in your lane to make it happen!
What is the best thing about living in NYC?
There are two that jump out – I love being able to have anything delivered to my door (mirrors, laundry, even groceries, in two hours – Ah-may-zing). I also love not driving – I have a ranch in California and it’s amazing but I have to drive a lot when I am there. In New York, I have train drivers and Uber drivers and even pedicabs if I choose! There are many more things I love, however – New York is magnificent.
If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
Eternal youth – having the wisdom of age and the energy of youth would be incredible!
Who is your hero? (personal or professional, or both)
I have had the hardest time answering this because I don’t really connect with the idea of famous people I don’t know, so I’m going with someone I’ve had the privilege of watching through success and failure – an entrepreneur, friend, and mentor, Aaron Danielson. He thinks differently than everyone else and is gentle but unafraid. He and his wife built a remote business and then moved their family (six kids) to South Africa just to expand their world. His creative support of my unique approach to business has been invaluable.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
I hope I’m doing bigger deals, dreaming more, meeting more people, and having even more fun! I imagine I’ll be based on the West Coast but I really don’t know for sure!
Tricia Philip-Rao is the Assistant Director of the Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate at Columbia Business School. Prior to the 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.