MS in Real Estate, ’13
Portfolio Manager, Capital One
When I was researching Masters Programs in Real Estate, the driving factors for my decision to attend Baruch College were based on academic quality, graduates career paths and tuition cost. To facilitate my decision I reached out to Baruch alumni so I could get an understanding of the career paths they followed after graduation. What I realized was that students graduating from Baruch carried the same high level career paths after graduation as other highly regarded programs. That is what led me to choose Baruch.
In addition to the curriculum and the knowledge that I received to proceed forward in my career, the most important things that I took away from Baruch College are the relationships I fostered while pursuing my masterâ€™s degree. My first introduction into the institutional real estate market came through an introduction from one of the advisory board members, Philip A. Marra. He recommended that a Private Equity firm hire somebody from Baruchâ€™s real estate program. Because of this, I had the opportunity to work with the firm for almost a year. That led to a Work â€“Study Program with Time Equities which is owned by Francis J. Greenburger and is also an Advisory Board member. Francis Greenburger is one of the top real estate investors not only in New York but throughout the country and to be able to work underneath somebody like him for a year really gave me real life knowledge and an understanding of how to approach a real estate transaction.
In addition to these relationships, I appreciated the events that Margo Weaker, the Director of External Relations and Student Services, in the Department of Real Estate Department, organized throughout the year. I would say that her main passion is introducing students to the outside world and guide us on how to proceed further with our careers after graduation. She opened so many doors in terms of bringing other companies on campus whether it was just a speaking series or face to face interaction with HR representatives from real estate companies throughout New York City. It really laid the ground work for me to not only graduate but have a career proceeding forward.
Currently, I am a Portfolio Manager at Capital One. Having started my career in brokerage, I have continuously applied my experience in managing the transaction and the key stake holder relationships into my current role in which I am responsible for a portfolio of Community Finance debt and low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) equity investments during the phases of construction through operations. Part of my responsibilities are to perform analysis of development sources and uses, lease-up, contractual and regulatory obligations, and operational budgets.
Since graduating, multiple students who have graduated from the Real Estate Programs have reached out to ask me about my career and about any opportunities we could synergize on. I still have relationships with those that I graduated with as well as members of the Department of Real Estateâ€™s Advisory Board and other relationships that have developed through internships and the work-study program the school introduced me to.
Baruch students have a tremendous amount of resources at their disposal, whether its resources like libraries and funding or their professors, who are experts in their fields, paying for that kind of advice if youâ€™re not in school is rarely an affordable option. Also, being able to tap into your peers for help, for feedback, for constructive criticism is an amazing opportunity. I am incredible grateful to all of the people who have mentored and helped me along the way and I really urge students coming in to capitalize on what the school has to offer with regard to developing their careers proceeding forward.
MS in Real Estate, ’09
Senior Director, New York Life Investments
I would not have gotten a job on Wall Street if not for the Real Estate Program at Baruch College. Although, I was told at new student orientation that “simply graduating will not guarantee success…”
It was 2008, and we were in the midst of the global financial crisis. Bear Stearns, an esteemed investment bank, had just filed for bankruptcy which sent shock waves through the financial system. Stock prices plummeted. Capital markets were at a virtual standstill. The future looked ominous.
And there I sat, a 22-year recent graduate of the University of Florida, with no clear idea of what my future would be. I did know two things: I knew that I wanted to work in real estate and I knew that I wanted to live in New York City – even if that meant I had to sleep on my momâ€™s couch in order to do so.
When I joined the inaugural M.S. Program in Real Estate at Baruch, I was a man on a mission. I was determined not just to earn straight A’s, but to fully immerse myself in the academic ecosystem. I took on leadership positions at student organizations, joined junior committees of trade associations and even won a large cash prize in a national financial modeling competition. While simply graduating would not guarantee success, as a Baruch student, I had an endless array of opportunities. The academic curriculum was demanding, but my professors were outstanding.
By far the most valuable class I took was Real Estate Research. There, I conducted my capstone project on General Growth Properties (GGP), the second largest mall owner in the U.S. At the time, GGP was in dire straits and on the verge of bankruptcy. I was tasked with reviewing SEC filings and building a fully-integrated financial model in order to assess strategic alternatives and provide a specific recommendation.
I was flying through school, on pace to graduate a semester early and ahead of the 30 students in the inaugural class. Which would have been great – except in May 2009 no one was hiring. I was diligent in my job search process and was lucky to have people like Dr. David Shulman and other advisory board members provide me with guidance. I was fortunate to win an offer at a Wall Street Investment Bank conducting stock research on large publicly-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) “ I am certain it was my research project on GGP that sealed the deal.
After my time in the banking world, and a few years at a global credit rating agency, I am proud to report that I have joined New York Life Investors LLC where I work as an investment-grade credit research analyst responsible for a $3.5 billion corporate bond portfolio. New York Life Investors LLC is a wholly-owned investment management subsidiary of New York Life Insurance Company and manages $228 billion for its parent company and select strategic partners.
I learned at Baruch that the process of education never stops and I have applied this in my professional career and life generally. I now have the honor of teaching others as an Adjunct Professor of Corporate Finance at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate as well as a special guest lecturer at Baruch.
Baruch is a special place and consistently ranks highly on the basis of affordability and diversity. While some of my classmates were first in their generation to go to college, others were like me and simply realized the incredible value proposition. The one commonality is the indomitable spirit that Baruch students possess. I am tremendously proud to be a part of Baruch’s rich history and I know that the future is brighter than ever.
MS in Real Estate, ’16
Commercial Real Estate, Wells Fargo
I am originally from South Africa and completed the MS Real Estate Program at Baruch in 2016. I worked in financial services and accounting in Johannesburg for several years after completing my bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand and a bachelor’s in accounting from Brooklyn College.
My corporate experience exposed me to the potential of a career in real estate and, after looking into various real estate programs offered in the city, I chose to enroll in Baruch’s MSRE because of the holistic experience it offered students through its structured curriculum and professional resources.
As an International Student, my working opportunities were limited; however, I was driven to make use of every resource that was available to me. The supportive services offered at the Real Estate department far exceeded my expectations. Margo Weaker has established a wonderful program of events for students. Apart from the industry panel events, which were a brilliant way for students to meet professionals working in the industry, the Resume Writing workshop, in particular, gave students incredible access to HR representatives from reputable real estate companies. Not only did we get insights into what employers were looking for in potential candidates, but we had direct contact with decision makers who we could connect with if there were job openings we were interested in applying to.
I served as the Treasurer of the Graduate Real Estate Club in 2016, liaison of the Real Estate Alumni Club, and I was fortunate to have been awarded the William Newman Department of Real Estate Time Equities Work/Study Fellowship for 2015. The position at Time Equities offered me immediate hands on experience into commercial real estate. The experience developed my portfolio management and underwriting skills, preparing me well for my current role at TD Bank. Each of these roles provided me with a platform to be invited into the intimate world of real estate, ensuring that through my growing network I would continually be included in future events. It was ultimately my good fortune in receiving the 2015/16 Commercial Real Estate Women Charitable Fund Scholarship that sparked my opportunity to work at TD Bank: I happened to be seated next to a TD employee at a CREW event where scholarship recipients were being recognized, and she told me to send her my resume in case there was an opening. That was a full year before I landed my role at the company. I have been working as an analyst at TD Bank for almost two years now, specializing in affordable housing. I work with an incredibly knowledgeable team and learn new things about this unique market every day.
I immigrated to the US hoping that the opportunities offered in my new life in America would be better than those available to me in South Africa, and have found this to be true. I am incredibly thankful for all the ongoing support and opportunities the real estate department gives students and alumni alike.
MS in Real Estate, ’15
Multifamily Acquisitions & Development
During my time growing up in New York, I was always fascinated by the New York real estate business. So when I graduated college in 2009, as the economy was working through a recession and after years of working for a property management firm, I realized that I needed to grow my skillset in finance and development in order to have a greater role in the industry. In the spring of 2011, I enrolled in my first semester at Baruch’s Graduate Real Estate Program.
While attending the program part-time, I maintained positions in corporate real estate and fully immersed myself into the coursework. The program helped me develop technical skills in underwriting, manage my own sample development projects, and conduct market feasibility analyses which were critical for real estate investing. I have since graduated the program and continued a career in real estate asset management and investment. In 2016, I joined Jonathan Rose Companies as a member of the Asset Management Team, where I am responsible for all assets during the acquisition stage; I also work with other teams to oversee all added-value enhancements until stabilization.
This past week, I was invited to speak at a career panel for graduate and undergraduate students from the Baruch’s Real Estate programs. While some students were from the B.A and MBA programs with other majors, everyone had an interest in learning about careers in real estate.
Organized by the William Newman Department of Real Estate, I was joined by four equally accomplished panelists (and alumni of the program) from Arbor Realty Trust, CBRE, Kimco Realty and The Lefrak Organization.
The panelists all gave great input on various aspects of real estate, including lending, valuation and advisory services, affordable housing, retail leasing, and property management. Much of the discussion centered on how students can break into these fields and what skills and responsibilities could be gained from having careers in each of those respective fields. A key takeaway was that a business school education, a solid understanding of the subject matter, combined with a range of professional experiences, could help you to grow a career in real estate.
Everyone on the panel didn’t just fall into this industry by chance, but rather through diligence in their focus on finding the right opportunities. This focus is fueled by a passion for the physical real estate and a commitment to growing their respective real estate businesses. One panelist described his work as “a rush”, and I couldn’t agree more.
Through participating in these events, my hope is that students will pull inspiration from the industry professionals and alumni who give back through sharing their experiences. I often attended these panels during my time as a student and have used this platform as a tool to guide me to my future career path.
BBA in Real Estate Investment, ’12
Associate Director of Finance,
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
My first foray into real estate wasn’t exactly high profile: small, multifamily assets were my investment of choice. Once I started learning how to invest successfully, naturally I wanted to broaden my understanding of the field. That’s how I ended up at Baruch, investing in a career in the real estate industry. Some basic research was all it took to convince me the Zicklin School of Business offered the best return for that investment. My choice was clear from the get-go.
The curriculum at Baruch was rigorous and comprehensive, and for that I’m grateful; it instilled in me key concepts that I use at my job almost every day. My professors’ enthusiasm for their subject matter was rivaled only by their enthusiasm for helping their students succeed. They made sure to prepare us for the opportunities and challenges of the “real world”, and even pointed out a number of career paths that might interest me.
I also took the initiative by seizing phenomenal networking opportunities and participating in many events sponsored by the real estate department. As Vice President of the Real Estate Club, I was able to meet members of the board of advisors of the real estate department – titans of industry who regularly spoke to students as part of the Advisory Board Speaker Series.
The school’s mentorship programs and networking events helped me tremendously in acquiring internships that have helped shape my career. I was fortunate enough to intern with my real estate finance professor, who at the time was also running a boutique real estate acquisitions consultancy. This experience proved invaluable in showing me firsthand how the business of real estate is conducted.
I graduated in 2012, just as the economy was beginning to recover. Many real estate firms were cautious about hiring, and understandably so in light of the Great Recession’s impact on the industry. Nevertheless, in 2013 I was hired by Newmark Knight Frank, where I currently serve as the Associate Director of Finance. Now, I use my Baruch education to advise multinational corporations on real estate portfolio strategies and serve as a lead financial analyst on various institutional brokerage transactions nationwide. When I consider my humble beginnings in real estate, it’s clear how much being a Baruch student helped me achieve a career that inspires me daily. I consider myself lucky twice over: for finding a line of work I’m passionate about, and for finding Baruch a place where that passion became a reality.
Managing Director, Americas Head of Real Estate ESG
I attended the full-time MBA Program at Baruch in 2009 because I wanted to shift my career back to the New York City market. After graduating from NYU, my first job out of college was working in property management for what was then Grubb & Ellis in northern New Jersey. That position was far from glamorous, but it gave me invaluable, hands-on experience with property operations and balance sheets that I carry with me today. I began to master the basics but wanted more excitement and missed the City. At the time, the green building movement was just beginning to appear in mass markets and it inspired me. I saw the alignment between the sustainable built environment and good business practice, and thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be great if I could work somewhere that I could combine the two?”
I knew going into the MBA program that I wanted Real Estate and Finance as my dual concentration. Baruch offered a course schedule that made it easy to pursue both concentrations as a full-time program attendee. There were about six students in our program who wanted to pursue real estate, and the first week of classes, we set up time to meet with Margo Weaker in the Real Estate School. In addition to telling us all about the curriculum, clubs, and opportunities at NREI, she added us all to her email distribution. Within the first week I saw an email from Margo describing an internship opportunity through the Building Performance Lab that combined sustainability, tenant engagement and commercial property management. The company offering the position was Vornado Realty Trust. How fortuitous!
I began working at Vornado just 15 hours per week during my first semester, which turned into over 30 hours by my third semester and full-time during the summer and winter breaks. I never had any spare time between work and school, but it was so important to me that I was always working. The work helped build my resume and my network, and kept me grounded with practical experience that I could bring with me to class. After graduating in 2011, I was offered a full-time position as an analyst at Vornado and have been promoted since then to where I am today.
I feel very fortunate for my career path and have NREI to thank for a critical opportunity that happened at the right time. Today, my position is an exciting combination of operations, management, finance, investor relations and product innovation, each with a focus on creating efficiencies, reducing wasteful consumption, and improving policy to further the impact of Vornado’s sustainability program. Vornado’s leaders- many of whom are Baruch alumni themselves – are incredibly supportive of my work, which affords me the ability to make changes and evolve our program. My advice to NREI students: stay busy. You are attending a school with a vast network within the industry, located in the center of the most exciting real estate market in the world. Take advantage and be resourceful; you never know when an opportunity will present itself.
Head of Structured Investments, Basis Investment Group
I attended the Full Time Honors MBA program at Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business in 2005. Having moved to the United States to pursue the program, Baruch was really my window to America and, I have to say, it offered a fabulous view. So much so that America is now home.
I grew up in Mumbai, India and graduated from the University of Mumbai with a specialization in accounting and taxation. I also qualified as a Chartered Accountant (Indian equivalent of CPA) and worked as an auditor in Deloitte and as an analyst in Dun & Bradstreet. But coming from a family of developers, my calling was real estate! I knew going into the program that I wanted to pursue a concentration in real estate and take advantage of Baruch’s access to the world’s real estate capital!
When I moved to New York, I could count on one hand the number of people I knew in the city. I was anxious about what was in store for me. Right from the orientation to the icebreakers organized by the class of 2004, Baruch made me feel at home. The diversity at Baruch was astounding. My group (program administrators assigned all students to a group of 4 for the first semester) included a Chinese, an Israeli, an American from Kansas and me. We had really different backgrounds but we had a wonderful time learning and sharing our experiences together. I was not only learning with them but also from them.
Being a beneficiary of a Graduate Assistantship, I was working on campus and got to know many people at different centers around college. Everybody was willing to help. Baruch, at the time, did not have a Real Estate MBA. But with the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute, the school was very well connected to the real estate world. Margo Weaker, who currently manages external relations and student services at the Institute and the Department of Real Estate, was always willing to arrange informational interviews or meetings with executives at the city’s many real estate companies.
I found my internship through an introduction made by Dr. Terrence Martell, the energetic Director of the Weismann Center of International Business. My internship with the Greenwich Group International converted to part-time employment during my second year (through Zicklin’s option to get course credit for internships, an option that schools like Stern at NYU did not have at the time) and a job offer thereafter.
Presently, I work at Basis Investment Group as Head of Structured Investments. My role is to deploy capital on behalf of a comingled debt fund sponsored by Basis. We make commercial real estate debt and preferred equity investments across the capital stack and across property types. Further accentuating my links to NYC, Basis is a minority woman owned business founded by a New York native who grew up in Queens and epitomizes the “American Dream”. I am also proud to work alongside two Baruch alumni who are important members of our team.
The connections, the energy and assimilative culture at Baruch provided me a launch pad for my career. CollegeNET and The Chronicle of Higher Education both have named Baruch #1 for social mobility. I am an example of how Baruch changes lives for the better and keeps the American Dream alive and thriving. To everyone who is a part of the Baruch family, many thanks!
BBA, ’14 and MS in Real Estate, ’17
Analyst at Kimco Realty
Baruch College is the institution where I have pursued both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I earned my BBA in Finance & Investments in 2014 and my M.S. in Real Estate in 2017.
When I was researching Master’s Programs in Real Estate, the driving factors for my decision to attend Baruch College were based on academic quality, diversity of the student body, and graduates’ career paths. To facilitate my decision, I reached out to Baruch alumni working in the real estate industry, so I could get an understanding of the career paths they followed after graduation. What I realized was that students graduating from this program carried the same high-level career paths after graduation as other highly regarded programs. That is what led me to choose Baruch College again.
In addition to the curriculum and the knowledge that I received to proceed forward in my career, what I have valued the most are the vast resources and opportunities that the Real Estate Program offers to students in the form of clubs, panel events, company/site tours, sponsorship to industry forums, and resume and mentorship programs with leading real estate companies.
It’s through the numerous communications that Margo Weaker, the Director of External Relations at the Real Estate Department, would send out to students that I learned about and was able to take advantage of some of the opportunities offered by the Program. I served as VP of Alumni Relations for the Graduate Real Estate Club, and I was fortunate to be awarded the William Newman Department of Real Estate Vornado Realty Trust Work/Study Fellowship for the 2015/2016 academic year. During the fellowship I had the pleasure of assisting Professor Yildiray Yildirim, Chair of the Department of Real Estate, and other faculty with their research projects on capital markets.
It was my ultimate fortune in participating in the Advisory Board Mentor for a Day Program that sparked my opportunity to work at Kimco Realty Corporation. My meeting with my mentors, the SVP of Portfolio Management and VP of Risk & Underwriting, gave me insight and clarity on the career path and company environment I would best enjoy. This introduction soon after converted to an internship during my final year of master’s and a job offer upon graduation.
I have been working as an analyst for the Risk & UW Group for two years now, and during this time I have been able to grow and expand my responsibilities, which include underwriting acquisition and development projects in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions.
I am incredibly grateful to the faculty and staff at the William Newman Department of Real Estate, who have mentored and helped me along the way and I really urge students coming in to capitalize on what the Real Estate Program has to offer with regard to developing your career.
MS in Real Estate, `17
Asset Manager at Morgan Stanley
When I first graduated from New York University in 2012, I knew that I had an interest in real estate but I would have never guessed that it would bring me to where I am today. As an undergraduate, I majored in Psychology and minored in Economics with the goal of ultimately attending law school. My first job as a real estate and litigation paralegal helped me to confirm my interest in real estate but also made me realize that there were other avenues in the industry that might be worth pursuing.
Three years after completing my bachelor’s degree, I decided that I wanted to invest in real estate finance as my career so I applied for the master’s program at Baruch College. I knew that I wanted to stay in New York City and continue working full-time so the MS program felt like a great fit for me. The course load was diversified enough to allow me to explore different real estate topics all while establishing a foundation of financial knowledge that my undergraduate coursework had lacked.
Looking back at my experience at Baruch, I realize that one of the greatest assets of the MS program was the people. Most, if not all, of my professors had extensive careers in the real estate industry and were able to inject real experiences and examples into their teaching. Furthermore, a huge advantage to graduate programs such as the MS program at Baruch is the diversity of the student body. There were students that had just graduated with their undergraduate degrees, people that had a few years of work experience and others that already had 10+ years in the field. My classes were small enough that I was able to intimately interact with my classmates and learn about their diverse backgrounds and careers. For someone like me who began the program open-minded about the various career paths that I could take in real estate, these relationships with professors and students proved to be just as valuable as the content of my classes.
Ultimately the variety of classes and different perspectives from classmates and professors helped me to narrow down my interests and target specific jobs post-graduation. In my last semester, I ended up getting a job at Morgan Stanley as an Asset Manager in the Commercial Real Estate group. Two years later, I am still working in the same role at Morgan Stanley but now work out of our Dallas office. Working in asset management has proved to be the perfect fit for me. I’m able to leverage my paralegal experience as well as the real estate finance knowledge that I learned at Baruch. My day to day varies widely which keeps the job interesting. I can be analyzing leases, processing a construction draw or underwriting a property one day and outperforming a site inspection the next. Our portfolio is also very diversified geographically and by asset class so I am constantly learning and improving my knowledge of various markets and asset types.
I feel very fortunate to have found myself in the position that I’m in today. I know that my experience at Baruch played a pivotal role in getting me here and I am very grateful to the institution, staff, and all of my classmates for being a part of it.