A recent visit by Angela Choi (Deloitte) to my market analysis class provoked me to reconsider the ways in which a building could add value to businesses using that building. Old style thinking emphasized that a business needs to locate somewhere and that real estate expenses were best if lowered. That made sense when a building was basically a box. Innovations in information technology has some people talking about “cognitive buildings” and people like Angela talking about disruption in the real estate industry.
It is fashionable to say that economic ideas are wrong, at best, and, at worst, dangerously misleading. This fashion is not new. Since the most familiar pieces of the traditional economics model have survived for many decades, it is worth seeing how they appear in the world of real estate. Continue reading
New graduates think that they are finished with tests and classrooms. They are partly right but it misses the point. In a couple of months, at our next alumni event, I will hear many of the new graduates say something like: “My new job is great. My boss is helpful. My co-workers are fun to be with, but they know so much. I have so much to learn and so little time to learn it.”
This comment reinforces what the university president and the recipient of the honorary doctorate David Card said at our graduation ceremony: independent of the various techniques and the fancy vocabulary which students pick up during their time here, university graduates are adaptable and have learned how to learn. They do not merely follow instructions. The best graduates change the world around them. Continue reading
In mid-March, our student association organized a panel discussion to help students prepare for when have to deal with the real world. The panelists were
- Luan Ha, Director of Development RioCan REIT
- Lisa Wolchuk, Senior Sales Leader, Cougar Software
- Maryanne McDougald, Vice President, First Capital Realty
- Tony DaSilva, Vice President, Real Estate Business Services, Laurentian Bank
- Ruth Murnaghan, Sales Representative, CBRE
The discussion was very insightful due, in part, to the probing by the moderator (our own Dr. Avis Devine).
The first theme to emerge concerned the job market. Continue reading
Our recent pair of panel discussions offered lots of useful advice on how to look for a job. (It is that time of year when soon-to-be-graduates realize that the classroom is not such a bad place to be, compared to the real world.) Our students heard the usual bits of advice on “taking the opportunities that are given to you” and “making your resume as attractive as possible.” The advice of networking was extremely insightful.
To organize the insights, it may help to think of the various stages of a job search. You might think that the stages are
- to look for a job,
- to be interviewed for a position and
- to accept an offer (or not)
but that thinking limits your opportunities in any profession and especially in real estate. Continue reading
One of the lessons which all students are supposed to learn from their Intro to Marketing class is that successful sellers satisfy the needs and wants of their customers. The proof that this lesson is not obvious can be seen in the formerly successful companies which stumble (e.g. car companies, airlines, Starbucks or everybody) and then apologize for forgetting the “obvious”.
This lesson is also important for students and practitioners of real estate because there is so much to learn about the other side of a market. Many people think that “build it and they will come” is the secret to being successful in the real estate business. That thought is wrong on many levels, including the fact that many real estate professionals are employed by tenants. Continue reading
Common sense is important for lots of reasons. It can replace data and other forms of evidence; in real estate, some of the evidence that you would like to use to make an evidence-based decision does not exist. Research has also shown that poor judgment is depressingly common; in real estate, it is easy to find examples of decisions which would cause most people to scratch their heads and say “what were you thinking?!!”
Saying the something is “important” is a start, but does not suggest a way forward. Continue reading
The Real Estate and Housing Student Association (REHSA) hosted an amazing event on Wednesday. Billed as “An Evening with Industry”, students, alumni, faculty and friends of the program met at a hotel in downtown Toronto, looked at the past 20 years of both our major and the industry, and looked to the future. Continue reading