Friday, November 25, 2011

Real Estate Career Advice, Million Mile Flyer, Life

You guys sent me quite a few requests for my "Advice to Real Estate Graduate Students" piece and have also gotten back at least one suggestion of an addition to it. "Great document!  My favorite was number 10.  "Be willing to learn from the ground up.  No attitude."  If I had to add my own, I'd say, "Ask questions.  You'll be amazed at how much you can learn by listening to people." A few of you who requested it have children who are about to enter the industry.  Others wrote telling me they would circulate it to members of their team and one university professor asked permission to reformat, and "White Label" the document and give it to his students.  Connectivity.  Collaboration.  Sharing.  Isn't that what it's all about?  Coincidentally, I've gotten a few invitations to come speak at graduate real estate programs about careers in real estate starting early in 2012.  I'm really looking forward to that.

Many thanks to those of you who wrote me about your company's summer intern program.  As I mentioned, I've had a number of very bright, very dedicated people approach me asking if I can help them connect with summer 2012 internship opportunities.  If your company has that program, please let me know.  

One company is:
National Capital Partners
Salt Lake City, Utah
Contact:  Randy Norton, Head of Research and Investments
801.618.2231 x. 103

Customer Appreciation?  This week, I opened an envelope from United Airlines.  Normally I just throw them away, unopened, as from experience I know they are solicitations for me to open a credit card account with them (if their systems actually worked, they'd know that I have been one of their credit card customers for a long's a dynamic of customer service that is not lost just on's the danger of using automated databases for 'mailings' etc.  You end up sending something intended for a non-customer to an existing customer.  How does that make the customer feel?  Appreciated?).  However, this envelope contained:

1.  My 1K (100,000 mile flyer) Card that expires January 2012 (why they would send me one that expires so soon I can't figure out)
2.  Free drink coupons (I usually give them to others)
3.  A note card, glossy faced and "signed" by the President of United's  frequent flyer program:  "Congratulations.  It is our privilege to recognize you as one of the distinct few to reach 1 Million LIfetime Flight Miles.  Thank you for your years of loyalty.  We are honored that you have chosen to travel on United."  Hmmm,  I looked back into the envelope to see if I had missed something.  Nope.  The free drink coupons came with my new frequent flyer card.  Perhaps they forgot to put in a coupon for a complimentary in-flight meal to thank me for the million miles?  Oh well, I'm sure that someone will appear at my door one of these days with a delivery of something that shows United's appreciation.  Not~  If I'm one of the 'distinct few' (however many thousands of people that is) wouldn't you think that they'd do something special for me?  Do I see an opportunity here for a "Customer Appreciation" consultant?

I found a wonderful resource this week.  It's a site created by James DeLisle, Ph.D.  Among other great resources it offers a number of "cases and tutorials to help students and other interested parties master various skill sets for real estate."  Jim is the Runstad Professor of Real Estate and Director of Graduate Real Estate Studies in the College of Built Environments at The University of Washington (State of Washington vs. Washington, DC). P.S.  I love visual image that "College of Built Environments" suggests.  

One of our OTR community members wrote me this week and reminded me of a story.  Here it is:

There were three people laying bricks in Paris. A curious passer-by went to one of them who was looking quite tired and was laying the bricks one at a time in a sloppy manner. In all his curiosity, the man asked him “what are you doing?” The visibly tired man replied quite angrily, “Can’t you see, I am laying bricks.” The passer-by, still curious, approached the next man who was working faster but was still a little sloppy. The man asked what he was doing and the man said “Can’t you see I am building a wall”. Finally, the passerby asked that last man who man who seemed to be enjoying laying bricks and asked the same question, ”What are you doing.” The man looked up and with pride said, ”I am building a cathedral.”

She also added this, which, I pass along to you in the spirit that many (dare I say all) of us look in the mirror from time to time (I've been doing that a lot lately) and these type reminders are very poignant.  

"Attitude and goals are the difference between whether you will win or you will lose. Whether you are moving in the right direction or the wrong direction. Whether you have set up right goals for you or you need to change directions. Also more importantly whether you will enjoy your life and add happiness in others life in both work and play or you will complain that no one cares for you. This will make a huge difference between whether you will love and live your life, have passion and how you will spend it."

Congratulations to my friend Alexia Gottschalch who has taken over as co-CEO for Grosvenor's US fund business.

Congratulations to the Kenan-Flagler (University of North Carolina) team which took first place in the 2011 Real Estate Challenge hosted by the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

On the road....
Nov. 30-Dec. 2:  Chicago to attend NCREIF's Nuts & Bolts of Institutional Real Estate 2.0 program.
Dec. 12-16:  New York
(On December 12, I invite you to join me at my "Not quite annual, buy your own, commercial real estate holiday drink thing."  I'll be at the Russian Vodka Room (north side of 52nd Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue) starting at 6pm.  If you're in New York and have time, please stop by.  It's likely to be an eclectic bunch of commercial real estate people (and some other random folks).  Hope to see you there.
Jan. 18-20:  Laguna Beach, CA to attend IMN's Winter Forum on Real Estate Opportunity & Private Fund Investing.
Jan. 25, 2012:  London to attend and moderate a panel at the Thompson Reuters Global Property Outlook 2012 
Jan. 30-Feb. 1:  Scottsdale, AZ to attend IREI's VIP Conference.

Photo:  Somewhere in the vast Los Angeles Convention Center

Please pass this along to others who may not be receiving it now.  The more subscribers I can get to OTR the more it'll help with a project I'm working on.  I alluded to this a couple of weeks ago and some of you asked me about the project.  While I don't have the 'elevator pitch' down yet, it's something I've been developing since 2005 and involves all of you, in fact everyone in the commercial real estate business around the globe!  I'll share more with you as things evolve but for now....Thanks!

These are my views and not that of my employer.

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