So it turns out that one of the new co-workers on my project has a friend who used to work at Booz too... except he left a month ago to wok at Tishman Speyer! I asked if she could put me in touch with him since he was a fellow georgetown alum and lo and behold, he was super nice and let me pick his brain for half an hour.
What did I learn? Well obviously I asked how he got the job... turns out it was thru networking as a couple of his friends worked in real estate development and urged him to give it a try. His good friend at Tishman got him an interview and he was able to wow them. Simple as that. Unfortunately he is the lowest guy on the ladder there so it's not like hecould've hooked me up but I did learn a lot from our conversation. He told me to learn as much as I can. He said it's really important to learn all the terminology so you can speak in the interviews as a knowledgable industry observer/student to show that you're serious. He said to have your story down cold as you were looking to switch industries and needed to be convincing. He was able to send me a couple links too, one to a real estate job posting board, and the other to a real estate development news site. Both very helpful.
He loves his new job even if he is the smallest guy there. He said it's amazing how lean Tishman is considering they manage so much property worldwide. For instance, their DC office only has about 20 professionals including him! His title is research sales analyst and I could hear the excitement in his voice when he talked about visiting potential sites, visiting architectural offices, looking at blueprints and spreadsheets, etc. I'm really happy for him to be honest. He mentioned that development is still an old boys' network in the sense that most people got their start via knowing someone on the inside (networking). He recommended that the MBA was my best bet as places like Tishman, Hines, etc. recruit their young studs from top b-schools like Columbia into thir rotational programs. He revealed that two hot roles available to graduate MBAs are in Acquisitions and Portfolio Management. His current role as a research sales analyst apparently pales in comparison to these MBA positions and he'd have to work his way up into those roles.
So the good thing that I learned was that I'm indeed going down the right path if I aim to pursue development. He also motivated me to start reading much more. I'm going to have to buy a textbook from the ULI bookstore methinks. I also shelled out $25 today for a ULI Young Leaders workshop on Zoning, Entitlement, and Land Development next tuesday. It's a bit steep for a 90 minute class but we'll see. I'm sure I'll learn something and it could get me more excited and motivated.
This weekend I'll be back in NY to see my mom and on Monday, I'll be at Columbia to sit in on a couple more classes, most specifically Real Estate Finance. I'll also visit the Milstein Center for Real Estate to see what ot has to offer. Next week is also when I hire ny admissions consultant hopefully and start essay wbrainstorming/outlining. I'm excited. Ya know, it's amazing that I'm now typing close to 40 words per minute with only one hand :P
Tomorrow I will be informing my project manager of my long-term desire to leave the project to pursue a more relevant project. Ehhh... slightly nervous I admit.