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What I've Learned: CREC!

Joining the Cornell Real Estate Club, or CREC, has taught me a tremendous amount about the industry and led to my decision to declare for the Real Estate Minor. The club provides extra networking and educational opportunities that supplement info learned in the classroom. Coming into Cornell, I had no knowledge or true interest in Real Estate. I joined the club as a means to branch out and learn about an unfamiliar topic, not realizing the future impact the club would have on my Cornell education and career aspirations.

CREC brings in a variety of renown guest speakers each semester. Guest speakers often talk about their experience working in Real Estate and give students advice on how to break in and ultimately have success in the industry. The impressive list of guest speakers brought in this year include Mark Owens, an Executive VP & Head of Capital Markets of CBRE, Jonathan Pollack, a Senior Managing Director for Blackstone, and Michael Barnello, CEO of LaSalle Hotel Properties. I particularly enjoyed a roundtable discussion with Jess Petitt, a VP of Global Business Analytics at Hilton Worldwide. Petitt stressed the importance of working a summer in operations prior to being on the development side. Additionally, Petitt explained the strategic advantage of creating an asset light model through the formation of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts).

New this year to CREC is the Real Estate 101 Series. The Real Estate 101 Series was broken into three separate sessions. Sessions are lecture based and cover topics providing new members with industry basics. Real Estate is one of the most common career paths out of the Hotel School and many Freshman and Sophomores seek internship opportunities in the industry. Since Principles of Real Estate is part of the Junior year core, many students do not have the knowledge necessary to land a Freshman or Sophomore Internship in the industry. By learning about essential topics such as Real Estate valuations, the major players, and the recruitment process, students are in better position to land an internship. Club members with strong attendance records are rewarded with mock interviews.

CREC also offers treks to different cities around the world. Treks involve visits to company headquarters’, site tours, and networking sessions with local alumni. This year, CREC has offered treks to Philadelphia, New York City, and London. I had the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia Trek. My favorite part of the Trek was visiting the REIT Liberty Property Trust and taking a tour of the Comcast Center, a multipurpose skyscraper set to be the tallest building in Philadelphia when completed. The quality of each Trek prove how strong the SHA alumni network is. Alumni work closely with CREC’s E-Board to help arrange impactful, informative, and memorable visits.

For students interested in Real Estate or eager to learn something new, I highly recommend becoming a member of CREC. There is no application process and students can join at any time. For more information, you can visit their website here:

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