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New Program Helping Mason Real Estate Students Map Careers

Mike Kenny

“Getting access to this kind of opportunity is exactly why I joined the Mason program. Having the MS in Real Estate Development on my resume and the individual career coaching I received really helped me get my foot in the door.” Mike Kenny, recently named Project Manager, Atlantic Realty Companies

The Mason MS in Real Estate Development program’s individual career counseling initiative is off to a ladder-climbing start.

Initiated earlier this year to help students define and achieve their professional goals, the program helps them assess personal strengths, interests, accomplishments and goals to discern the best possible career options.

As Program Director Bob Wulff points out:  “Each of our students has made an important and expensive career decision by enrolling in the master’s in real estate program and we want to insure that they continue making good decisions with a career planning program that provides a career map to achieve their goals.”

Wulff says the best way to implement career planning is through individualized counseling and to that end Mason has engaged John Coe, managing director of Ceres Capital Partners and 35-year industry veteran.

“Some of the students taking advantage of this counseling are new to the real estate industry and looking for an understanding of career alternatives,” said Coe. “Others have significant development experience, but are seeking to leverage their new knowledge into more senior roles. All are looking to make the best decisions in terms of maximizing both opportunity and satisfaction.”

It starts with a three-step process

To help students truly understand their next best opportunity and beyond, Coe conducts two one-on-one counseling sessions and then employs a three-step assessment process:

• Discussion of background, current situation, aspirations and a Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment to determine a personal career strategy
• Development of a 3-5 year plan with action steps to develop new opportunities and strategies for transitioning
• Leads to target firms and suggestions on exploratory meetings, tactical questions and responses.

Says first-semester student Mark Lenz, transitioning from a 20-year career with the U.S. Army:
“I had some fairly uncertain ideas of what I wanted to do with my degree and John gave them some real thought. He responded with excellent suggestions and links to people in his network doing things that interest me. I’m well on my way to finding an opportunity to the greatest contribution while being excited to go to work each day.”

The one-on-one counseling sessions and career planning advice are available to all Mason MS in Real Estate Development students for a small fee subsidized by the Mason Center for Real Estate Entrepreneurship. To participate, contact Mary Collins at mhayesco@gmu.edu or 703-993-5021.

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Janet Palmisano

Janet Palmisano is a member of the Recruiting and Admissions team at the George Mason University School of Business.

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