Real Estate Club Hosts Panel and Networking Event

On Tuesday, September 22nd over 40 students attended the annual 2020 Real Estate Panel and Networking Reception. This year, unlike in years past, the event was held virtually on Zoom with many more alumni panelists involved. The event started with an overview of the real estate market in the United States today by Cameron Lawson ’17 (Fun Fact: Cameron started the RE club on campus!). He explained that the US housing market was worth over $34 trillion dollars. He also went on to explain that the US real estate market can be broken down into 5 sectors: offices, industrial, multi-family, retail, and hospitality. He also talked about the many career opportunities that are involved in real estate for those who were interested. Cameron’s overview helped paint a clear picture for students to know how the real estate industry has an effect on every aspect of American society. 

The panelist section of the webinar included:

  • Colin Blair ‘00 of Cushman & Wakefield
  • Cassandra Clark ’02 of JP Morgan
  • Paul Formichelli ’96 of JLL
  • Bill Garey ‘12 of Taurus Investment Holdings
  • Cameron Lawson ’17 of National Development
  • Rob Rossi ’16 of Taconic Capital Advisors
  • Robert Valenti ‘11 of Kosmont
  • James Whelan ’00 of JP Morgan

Each panelist gave a brief informative presentation of how they ended up in their respective line of work which helped students understand the many different paths you can take to end up in the Real Estate industry. While all of the panelists are now currently in the Real Estate industry, almost all of them did not expect that they would end up working in real estate while at Holy Cross. The panelists also gave students advice on the best ways to enter into the Real Estate sector coming out of college, including using the feature on Handshake (Enter Link) for those applying for internships. 

There are loads of upcoming events and meetings, so consider joining a student business club!

For the Love of Buildings

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.

— —

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