Sunday, March 30, 2008

Urban Land Institute

So the best piece of advice I received from soliciting the admissions consultants on their respective BusinessWeek threads was to participate in some real estate related activities, clubs, etc. This should make me appear much more serious about my dream job. I agree.

I went to Columbia's real estate website and realized that they actually post all the resumes of MBA students who have declared Real Estate as one of their foci (plural for focus). There's about 25 per class that take the real estate major (or focus). So I looked at all the resumes' extra currics sections for ideas. It appears that none of them are relevant to me except for the Urban Land Institute which apparently is a non-profit (I think) that conducts research about land usage. It doesn't advocate any specific point of view but rather, it tries to educate everyone about trends and such. The website is really cool as it offers podcasts and webinars (web seminars) that teach basics of real estate and even has professors from Wharton, UCLA, etc. that share their views on current events and trends in the industry. Useful stuff. This seems to be a treasure trove of info. I can apply for their Young Leaders membership (since I'm under 35 they call me a Young Leader). This is $175 instead of over $225. I tried to sign up right away but unfortunately they did not recognize my age for some reason so I'll have to call tomorrow during business hours. Hopefully my company will pay for it too since they pay for 1 professional membership per year. So this is another membership I'll have under my extra currics. There's a conference coming up next month too called Real Estate 101 or something in Washington DC. It costs $25 but I think it's worth it for me to go to learn and show my interest. I also listened to 4 of the podcasts already and they are definitely helpful as the topics were real estate development careers (how convenient hehe).

The other useful piece of info I got was that I should try to do something industry related at work. This is a tough hand to play. I don't want to abandon my team after only 6 months though admittedly, I'd be best doing so. I'm just afraid it will hurt my recommendation though it sounds like I can get one from the project manager who will just ask me to write it for him. But still, I'm hesitant. Ideally, I would stay on the project and do cooler tasks such as budget forecasting (that's certainly real estate finance related right?) or maybe I can help them research/scout out new office locations which I heard them mention. Both would be fun and interesting and related to my interests! The other thing is to look out (in the long-term) for real estate related projects. After all, I'll be at Booz Allen for another year and a half at least.

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