Ideas for new apps created on Day 1 of the 2013 Executive Leadership Workshop!

Yesterday kicked off the 2013 Executive Leadership Workshop and one of the things the students definitely learned was that working a full day (they started at 8:30 am and were busy until 7 pm) is challenging!

Peter George ’81 started off the week talking about how to start and build a business. He was accompanied by Geoff Oblak and Gary Kramer. The students’ challenge for the day: work with their teams to come up with an educational app and then pitch it to the day’s three executive teachers who were acting as Venture Capitalists.

While all the teams came up with interesting ideas, two teams were ultimately rewarded funding: Michael Biggins ’16, Claudia Bechtold ’15, Maggie MacMullin ’16 and Michael Tucker ’14 came up with the idea for BookChat, an online database for professors to post excerpts of readings and where students can engage in online discussions. Nolan Kiernan ’15, Matt Devine ’15, Brendan McGill ’14 and Sophie Haggerty ’16 came up with the idea for SyncroNote, an online note taking software with an audio recording technology. I’m not going to include too many details, in case any of these teams decide to really run with the idea, but the judges were all impressed.

Stay posted for updates on the rest of this week’s workshop. Today’s topic is “Using Culture and Values to Build a Sustainable Business”. Currently the students are split up in groups prepping for a debate on whether culture should be a primary or secondary concern in companies. We’ll see who comes up with the most persuasive argument…

Alumni in the Real Estate Industry Discuss Market Statistics and the Importance of Thank You Notes

Last night a group of 10 Holy Cross alumni joined a group of students in Hogan to discuss what real estate really is, the various career paths available within the industry and how students interested in real estate can get a foot in the door.  The alumni present were: Colin Blair ’00 of Cushman & Wakefield, Justin Blair ’03 of The Monomoy Group, Brendan Cohn ’03 of Jones Lang LaSalle, Paul Formichelli ’96 of Jones Lang LaSalle, Jim Grady ’91 of Synergy Investments, Matt Harvey ’02 of Cresa Partners, Chuck O’Connor ’78 of Cassidy Turley, Bryan Sparkes ’03 of Jones Lang LaSalle and Kyle Trodden ’05 of Hudson Advisors.  They hold a variety of roles within the industry including commercial broker, residential broker, corporate services, construction management but during the conversation it was clear that all of the jobs had some key similarities like how no two days are ever the same and the importance of being able to effectively manage relationships.

Not surprisingly a big topic of conversation at this panel was the value of a Holy Cross education and the Holy Cross alumni network. The panelists talked about how competitive the business and how they are constantly fielding phone calls from young professionals who are looking for a job. Several of them said that, for a Holy Cross student, they can always make time but otherwise, there aren’t enough hours in the day to meet with all the interested candidates.

There was also quite a bit of discussion about professional degree programs – where the best ones were, what different programs entailed and whether they are worth it.  While there were varied opinions on these programs the general consensus was that, in the real estate industry, you should graduate college and work first, then think about a graduate degree later.  The alumni all seemed to agree that much of the training that takes place in real estate is really learned as you go by watching folks who’ve been in the job longer than you have.

What were some key takeaways?

1.  If you want to be in real estate, especially brokerage, you have to be willing to work hard.  You are constantly selling – you start with selling yourself to try to get a job and, from there, you are constantly selling as you try to generate business.

2.  Show up to interviews prepared.  It’s not enough to say, “I will work hard and am a good kid.”  If you’re going to a real estate interview – even if it’s an “informational interview” – know something about real estate.

3.  Proofread your emails.  Keep the exclamation points minimal.  No smiley faces.

4.  Write thank you notes.  There was some debate about email thank yous versus handwritten thank yous.  As some who is partial to handwritten thank you notes, I’ll say that the alum advocating for them noted that he gets hundreds of emails daily.  Thank you emails get deleted.  Handwritten notes stay on your desk for weeks.  Could come in handy if a few weeks after you meet a position unexpectedly opens up….

Thanks to the alumni for taking the time to come talk to us and we look forward to having them come back to campus again soon.

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIBSBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!

“The Ethics Guy” Welcomes Students Back to Campus!

Just two days in to the Spring 2013 semester, Bruce Weinstein, “The Ethics Guy”, joined Holy Cross students here on campus to run a workshop focused on ethical intelligence.  Dr. Weinstein’s visit was co-sponsored by the COES Entrepreneurial Studies Program, the Economics department and the McFarland Center & Barrett Programming.

The workshop focused on an “Ethics Quiz” that he has created to help people gauge their ethical intelligence.  Dr. Weinstein really got the room going as he asked questions out loud like, “If you saw someone cheating on an exam, and no one else did, what would you do?” or “If you’re riding in a car and the driver starts texting, do you tell them to stop?  Say nothing?  Or demand to get out of the vehicle?”  Students were talking at their tables and then vocalizing a range of opinions on all the different questions, which created a lively conversation.

However, my favorite part was when Dr. Weinstein asked if anyone in the room feels under-appreciated.  He said part of being ethically intelligent means thinking about our actions and “if they are caring”.  Three students in the room admitted to feeling under-appreciated so Dr. Weinstein called them to the front of the room and had all the attendees give them a 1-minute standing ovation for being awesome!

Overall, it was a great workshop – lots of discussion and lots of active engagement.  Hopefully a lot of what we talked about will come in to play later this winter when the Business Ethics Symposium gets underway here on campus.

As always, don’t forget to “Like” us on FACEBOOK and look for our WIBSBP and ELW groups on LinkedIN!