JULY 28, 2011
Reported by James Ryan, III, ULI New York Young Leaders Group
Seek out and embrace change. This was the central message from the “Career Choices for the Mid-Level Executive” panel discussion on July 28th. Capital markets and the real estate sector have gone through several upheavals in the past few decades. As a result, major changes have occurred and new sectors have been created. Fortunes and careers have been made off of these changes because certain individuals were willing to move out of their comfort zone and into a sector that was less mature but growing rapidly. Nearly every one of the panelists said that he was able to make major progress in his career because he identified changes as they were occurring in the early 1990s, made a switch to a new area, and was able to build a career off of the rise of the new market.
Each panelist spoke to the troubles of the current market and the subsequent difficulties for job seekers. Due to uncertainty in the markets and the decline of CMBS, very few firms will be adding employees over the next six months. Many firms have spent the last two years recapitalizing their assets and are having trouble raising additional capital in this environment. Therefore, it is important for the job seeker to think, “how can I reposition myself to add value to my firm and growth to my career”. In most cases, the answer to this question is to identify where change is happening and put yourself in a position where you can take advantage of whatever emerges in the new marketplace.
In addition to the importance of seeking out change, the panelists spoke about the importance of flexibility in both developing new skills and being open to challenges. Think of how you may improve upon your skill base and acquire attributes that you don’t have now. Ask to see different aspects of a deal, welcome the chance to move geographically, and be open to suggestions. The panel agreed that a death toll is an inability to be open to new challenges. One should never be in the mind frame of, “I didn’t come here to do that”.
All in all the event was excellent and produced a good amount of discussion and questions from the audience. It was certainly a great chance to learn from experienced real estate professionals and if you didn’t go, you will have to make it up by going to the next three events.