Posts Tagged ‘pre-business’

For the Love of Buildings

March 13th, 2014 by cgevry

Real Estate_Poster S14

On February 24, Holy Cross alumni who have distinguished themselves as leaders in the commercial real estate business shared their wisdom, advice and experiences in a COES event focused on educating students about careers in real estate.

James Whelan ’00, Senior Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Colin Blair’00, Account Manager in the Corporate Services Group at Cushman and Wakefield, described some of the opportunities in the industry before introducing keynote speaker John Power ’80, Principal and Co-Founder of Fairley, White.  Four panelists, Matt Harvey ’02, Principal at Cresa Partners ; Sean Duffy ’86, Executive Director, Brokerage, at Cushman and Wakefield; Catherine Britt ‘04, Senior Project Manager at Northstar; and Tim Mulhall ’10 of Colliers International  also offered advice on how to stand out as a potential intern and job candidate.

As someone who has been knocking on the door or real estate companies for the past several months, I was especially interested in hearing their views on what it takes to break into, and succeed in, the industry.  Their response:  passion, persistence and networking.

John Power, who has more than 30 years of experience in the field , sought advice from another Holy Cross alum,  Bill McCall,  and  described how standing in McCall’s office, he became fascinated by the buildings he saw through the window.  He began to imagine the possibilities for the building and knew from that moment that he wanted to be involved in commercial real estate.   “Commercial brokerage is the best profession. It involves no risk, and it offers high rewards. But you must be willing to invest your time,” stated Powell.

 Here are some other insights:

All majors can apply.  Both Whelan and Blair pointed out that commercial real estate offers opportunities for students of all majors and with a variety of interests, whether it is sales, finance, law, or marketing. Work ethic and personality matter more than major.

One building, many opportunities. Every building offers a range of transaction/business opportunities:  sales, rentals, leasing, purchasing, financing, management/operations, etc.  This is what makes the industry so dynamic.

Learn the business first.  Harvey stressed that new recruits should take the time to learn the business and not be frustrated if they aren’t  involved in big deals right away.  Knowledge about the business will help you in future deals.

Sell, grind and build relationships. Duffy emphasized that every day you need to sell both yourself and the product.  He reminded attendees that relationships matter, always – and that persistence pays off.

The Holy Cross advantage.  Power pointed out that Holy Cross students have an advantage in the field because of the school’s high reputation in the real estate industry. Mulhall added that his Holy Cross education boosted his confidence and gave him an edge because his writing was stronger than his peers.

The lesson? Holy Cross’ liberal arts curriculum and the reputation of its alum can help open doors to a vast array of career opportunities in commercial real estate.

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Thanks to Kevin Kennedy ’16 for covering this event and to all the alum sharing insights to the real estate industry! As always, don’t forget to “like” us on FACEBOOK and follow us @HCPrebusiness Watch for our next blog post…

Cassie Gevry
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

Pitch It!

November 22nd, 2013 by cgevry

Inspired by alum who wish they had more experience in public speaking while on the hill, Pre-Business decided to host a workshop.  Professor Pat Bizzell of the English Department, who specializes in rhetoric, was happy to work with the Pre-Business students.   In the interest of time, we asked students to rsvp with either a product or personal pitch already prepared.  After a short intro regarding style, arrangement and delivery, Prof. Bizzell gave the students time to apply these techniques to the pitches they brought to the workshop.

We set up the video camera and one by one the students stood in front of the room to deliver their pitch.  Rather than show the footage in front of the group, it was emailed to each student to watch themselves on their own time.  This would bring Prof. Bizzell’s constructive criticism to the next level!

Do you have a personal or product pitch?  Keep an eye out for our next public speaking workshop!

Public Speaking 111213

Cassie
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

HC Shark Tank Winner Ben Kaplan ’16 Set to Launch New Social Networking App

September 25th, 2013 by hhoran

As those of you who are avid readers of this blog might remember, last spring the Ciocca Office of Entrepreneurial Studies and the Entrepreneurship Club co-sponsored the inaugural Holy Cross Shark Tank competition where Ben Kaplan ’16 took home the grand prize for his original social networking app: WiGO.

Well, we are excited to announce that since last spring Kaplan has taken serious strides towards making WiGO (Who is Going Out) come alive and he has the initial launch slated for this early October.  Holy Cross just might have its very own Mark Zuckerburg on its hands.

The goal of Kaplan’s app is to simplify the process of making social plans for college students.  As a freshman at HC, Kaplan felt that making social plans and figuring out “who is going out?” was unnecessarily challenging.  College students didn’t want to constantly be sending out group texts and no one wanted to always be posting all the details of social plans online and so WiGO was born.

The app creates networks based on a users’ college or university email address so that, for example, when an HCer logs in their homepage will show all of the other HCers who are users and indicate who has – or has not – said they’re headed out that night.  There’s no specifics given, just “I am going out”, and there’s no friending process like with Facebook.  Rather, if you go to HC you can see everyone else in your network and vice versa.  From there, Kaplan believes that this app will make it easy to see who wants to go out and then utilize the app’s chat function to make plans.  Additionally, if you see someone on the app who you’d like to encourage to go out you have the option to “shoulder tap” them, which lets them know you’d like them to see them out.

I had the chance to sit down and talk to Kaplan last week, as he prepared for the upcoming app launch, and what I was really struck by was the way he has developed an initial idea he had last spring into a real live app.  He explained to me how he’d started the summer interviewing web developers and coders and ultimately settled on a team from Green Mountain Software, located in his hometown of Burlington, VT.  He then spent the rest of the summer working with them to take what was initially an idea in his head and turn it into something that’s accessible and user friendly.  We discussed why he decided to hire a local team, rather than outsourcing the coding as many app developers do, and he said that the opportunity to actually meet with, and have easy access to, his coding team was ultimately one of the best decisions he made.  It allowed him to take real ownership in the creation process and meant that he could be involved making changes and decisions during the course of development.

Kaplan also credited the Holy Cross alumni network as being indispensable in this process.  The time and feedback that he said so many alumni were willing to give him was very beneficial in the development of this app.  Last spring, Shark Tank judge Chris Stephenson had told Kaplan that if he brought his idea to Seattle he’d meet with him to discuss.  Kaplan cashed in on this promise over the summer, flying to the West Coast to meet, and also said that there were many other alumni who connected him with local entrepreneurs, weighed in on questions of copyright and intellectual property law and offered feedback as he moved through the process.

Obviously in launching an app, the marketing efforts are, in many ways, as important as the actual coding and Kaplan explained that he had a clear game plan for that too: he was starting by focusing on sports teams here at HC, because such a larger percentage of students are involved in them, and had reached out to individuals on the various teams to get them onboard as ambassadors.  The plan is that these individuals will encourage their teammates to download, and use, the app thus creating the initial injection of users needed to get WiGO off the ground.  From there the hope is that it will catch on organically and as students see how easy and effective it is to use they will encourage their friends to use it, too.

What’s the plan long term?  Well, Kaplan is initially launching the app exclusively here at Holy Cross and you need to have a verified Holy Cross student email address in order to register.  But, looking forward, Kaplan said his next step would be to roll it out to a handful of additional colleges, continue to monitor its growth, and then allow it to continue to spread to schools across the country.

Towards the end of our talk Kaplan said that he thinks no matter what happens with WiGO – whether it gets off the ground or not – the process of creating the app and bringing it to market has been incredibly valuable in and of itself.  That being said, after listening to him for an hour – hearing where the idea came from, how he built the app, and how he plans to roll it out – this blogger has a hard time believing Kaplan isn’t going to make this a success.