October 28, 2013

Cornell Real Estate Club Works to Be More ‘Proactive’

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Since club co-presidents David Weinstein ’15 and Nicholas Baccile ’15 took over the Cornell Real Estate Club last semester, the two say they have worked to create a more “proactive” organization.

CREC, which serves undergraduate students in the real estate minor, aims to provides educational, professional and networking opportunities to students, according to Weinstein. In order to most effectively provide students with beneficial industry tools and resources, the club works with the real estate minor in the School of Hotel Administration, as well as the Associate Real Estate Council, the graduate real estate club at Cornell, Weinstein said.

According to Weinstein, the club caters to a wide variety of career interests “within the field of real estate — not just consulting or development, for example.”

Bradley Walker ’10 started CREC about six or seven years ago, according to Weinstein and Baccile. Last semester, Weinstein and Baccile took control of the club and together “have teamed up with faculty and alumni of the real estate minor to make the club more proactive in the real estate community,” Weinstein said.

As part of the transition into a more proactive club, CREC has implemented a mentor program, according to Baccile. The club partnered with the Real Estate Minor Alumni of Cornell to provide students with alumni mentors to provide networking opportunities access to possible internships and jobs. Mentors are assigned based on students’ career interests and past work experience, and mentor-mentee pairs are encouraged to call at least once a quarter, Baccile said.

Along with the new mentorship program, Weinstein and Baccile have organized professional development workshops, special events, and guest speakers to come and talk with the club’s members. Weinstein said that these opportunities “complement what students of the minor learn in the classroom.”

On Oct. 18, 14 CREC members went to New York City to get an inside look into J.P. Morgan’s Real Estate department and observed the Lodging Investment Banking group. According to Weinstein, J.P. Morgan arranged for each of the club’s members to pair up with an analyst to ask questions and learn more about investment banking.

Students have also visited Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies and Ares Management, where they learned about funds, recent projects and the way the management approaches their development process, Weinstein said. After the office visits, students attended a meet and greet with the real estate minor group from Cornell.

The trip not only gave members insight into the real estate industry but also “allowed students to meet some people in high positions and further their careers,” Baccile said.

Apart from visiting major real estate firms, the club has also hosted professional development workshops in which Cornell graduate students from the Associate Real Estate Council work with CREC members to critique their resume critiques and help prepare them for interviews.

CREC has also brought many industry-leading guest speakers to campus, including Lee Pillsbury ’69, the founder, co-chairman and CEO of Thayer Lodging Group, and Michael Barnello ’87, president and CEO of LaSalle Hotel Properties.

Baccile said he plans on bringing in more guest speakers to campus and hosting more professional development workshops for club members.

Baccile added that he hopes membership will continue to grow.

“As the real estate minor grows, so will this club,” Baccile said.