NAREIM Job Fair 2015: New Talent Connection

Posted on October 7, 2015 in Viewpoints by admin

_L2A0611Three years ago, NAREIM member HR leaders pointed out that connecting to rising talent out of Universities is difficult for investment managers.  Recruiting is often limited to one or two favored Universities, and quite often it is difficult for potential associates to meet any but the largest firms.  As one HR Manager declared, “We should do something about this.”

She was right.  That’s why in September of 2013, with only a few weeks to prepare, NAREIM invited students from Universities all over the country to come to its Chicago headquarters in the Wrigley Building to meet a handful of our members.  Small in scale and informal by design, employers simply sat at several tables spread out in a single room.  Students were encouraged to sit down and talk with everyone they could.  There were no big signs, no elaborate procedures, no forms to fill out – just an opportunity to meet some of the best investment managers in real estate.

_L2A0233That first year, there were ten employers and around 60 students.  Even though it was a relatively small event compared to a typical job fair, it was effective.  Several of those students ended up working for companies they met at NAREIM.

Three years later, in mid-September of this year, we once again invited students and employers to come together.  Over 80 students travelled from Cornell, MIT, Columbia University, University of Chicago, DePaul University, University of North Carolina, Georgetown University, University of _L2A0572Wisconsin, Northwestern, and others to meet with 15 employers, including CBRE, LaSalle Investment Managers, Principal Real Estate, Harrison Street Real Estate, Mesa West Capital, Prologis, Zeller Realty Group, Heitman, UBS Realty Investors, Piedmont Office Realty Trust, Lincoln Property Company, Berkshire Group, Prologis, and Northwestern Mutual.

Over six hours, a hundred people managed to connect in a meeting room that was designed for only 30 people.  The sheer volume of people prompted a NAREIM staff member to mutter Roy Scheider’s famous line in the movie Jaws, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”  And yet, despite the volume of job seekers, it remained a marvelously intimate and useful event.  The education and experience possessed by the young men and women in the room was impressive.  Employers all met promising prospects and looked forward to following up with them in the next few months.

After three job fairs, it is clear that this event will continue to grow in the years ahead.  It has helped members reach impressive new talent and secured new careers in investment management.  To illustrate, one of the members interviewing prospects at this year’s fair was CBRE Global Investors Associate, and former NAREIM Fellow, Jerome Nichols.  When he was an MBA student at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, he attended the first NAREIM job fair in 2013, where he met Peter DiCorpo of CBRE, and ultimately joined the firm after completing his degree.

With NAREIM job fairs every year, there will be quite a few more careers launched and connections made to the best young leaders entering investment management.