Thursday, February 24, 2011

Women in Real Estate

Meet Our Current Students, a continuing series featuring some of our first-year real estate MBA students:

It seems there are more men than women working for the real estate industry. How do women survive under the complex and competitive environment and make some self-achievement? I’ve worked for this industry for seven years before I came to business school for an MBA in real estate, and it had been a question bothering me for a long time. However, with the help and communication of the alumni and the faculty of Graaskamp Center, it seems not so difficult to find an answer.

Last semester, in connection with the Wisconsin Real Estate Biennial Conference, alumni Jill Hatton held a special welcome reception for women in real estate. Jill has worked in various leadership positions in the real estate investment advisory business and is a board member at the University of Wisconsin Foundation. It was the first time I had attended a meeting with so many women in real estate. I talked with several women alumni, and they shared with me their stories of life, career and family. Many of them have a very balanced life, enjoying the career success and family life. The meeting with them led me to redefine success for women in real estate. That is to keep a balance for work and life.

Meeting with alumni Pam Boneham helped me learn more about women in leadership in the real estate industry. Pam is the Managing Director and Portfolio Manager for RREEF Real Estate Investment Management. She shared with us her career development at RREEF. She said there might be more difficulties for women to stand out and take lead. However, women had their own advantages in career advancement. Women are more willing to listen, which puts them at an easier position for communication and get more information. The most important thing is always being confident and sticking to your dream.

I’ve learned a lot and understood more about the industry in the past six months, although I am still looking for the perfect answer. Learning in the business school is helping me to be prepared for the real estate dreams.

Julia Xia is a first-year MBA student in the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate. Formerly a real estate consultant and asset manager in Beijing, Julia graduated from Peking University with a bachelor's degree in finance and banking.

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