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Sharon McCabe

Graaskamp Center Hosts First Annual Real Estate Career Day

by Graaskamp Staff Wednesday, November 2, 2016

On Friday, October 28, the Graaskamp Center hosted the first annual Real Estate Career Day at Grainger Hall.  Sharon McCabe, Associate Director of the Graaskamp Center, designed the event to inform real estate undergraduate and MBA students about the different career paths within the industry and provide hands-on job skills through mock interviews.  We want to thank our passionate real estate alumni and industry representatives who participated and shared their experiences, advice and tips for success in the field with our students.

Career Day 2016Leon Wilkosz (BBA 1993), Steve Buss (MS 1994), and Chris Morrissey hosted the kick-off panel which introduced students to the various aspects of a large real estate deal that took place in Madison. The investment broker, CBRE, buyer, Artis REIT, and lender, US Bank, were all represented on the panel. The sale involved 16 Class A office properties on Madison’s west side, for a total of 1.7 million square feet and 130 tenants, coming in at $260 million, Artis REIT’s largest deal to date, and the largest office sale in Wisconsin history. The panel emphasized the interpersonal nature of deal-making, and how important it is to tell a story and connect with your buyer to complete a deal. For example, in this deal, the UW campus as well as State Street and Memorial Union Terrace were all part of the story of Madison the seller wanted to tell the buyer. Sales involve relationship-building and trust on all levels, between all parties. This point was echoed by each of the panelists throughout the talk.  

Click here for this panel’s slide presentation.

Career Day 2016The second speaker of the afternoon was Paul Boneham (MBA 1979), Executive Vice President and Principal of Bentall Kennedy. Paul acknowledged how difficult it is to describe a professional career in real estate simply due to the number of roles that exist in the field. Paul gave a broad overview of real estate practice areas, property types, and careers. He noted that most program graduates will start out at the analyst level and work their way up into their desired roles from there. Paul concluded his talk with some career advice for the room. He suggested students know where they want to go with their career but try not to limit themselves too much to one region or position. He encouraged the attendees to be knowledgeable and flexible; be professional but find something that helps you stand out from the crowd. Paul’s wife and fellow alum, Pam Boneham (MBA 1981) of Barings Real Estate Advisers, interjected with her own personal career advice for the group. She challenged the students to always be on time, even early, to be humble, and to consider the field they’re in when it comes to how they dress and groom for their job. Paul’s daughter, Nora Boneham (BBA 2013) of Prudential Mortgage Capital Company, also inserted her advice, and asked that the students consider their strengths when deciding where they would like their careers in real estate to take them.

Click here for this speaker's presentation.

Career Day 2016The final panel of the afternoon included Jim Postweiler, Managing Director at JLL, and Bart Bess, current UW BBA, giving an overview of careers in capital markets. Jim spoke at rapid speed outlining his career and what it takes to succeed as a broker. Emphasizing communication and analytical skills as students begin their careers, he spoke to the overall relationship building aspect of this business, and that in order to succeed, you have to make connections at every moment of your career. Junior, Bart Bess interned at the corporate capital markets department over the summer, and confirmed everything Jim said, but also added that a convivial business environment will help you succeed, as you want to work with people that are happy to be working with you. Jim reiterated themes addressed in the previous two panels, stating that real estate is a relationship business as well as encouraging students to keep an open mind early on in their real estate careers. Jim’s belief is that exposure to the industry will help students determine how and where they’d like their careers to unfold.

Click here for this panel’s slide presentation.