Fostering Future Leaders: AREC and DAIRE’s 2023 NYC Career Trek

By: Shana Kathleen Claar
New York City scape

By Kenza Bouarroudj, MBA ’25, Matthews Cornejo ’25, Alexandra Famiglietti, MBA ’24, and Albert Matlock, MBA ’24

On November 2nd two of Cornell’s student-led organizations, the Associate Real Estate Council (AREC) and Diversity and Inclusion in Real Estate (DAIRE), teamed up to organize their inaugural career trek to New York City. This initiative, supported by Cornell’s Center for Real Estate and Finance (CREF), marked a significant milestone in extending learning beyond the confines of the classroom, creating new opportunities for industry engagement and experiential learning for both club organizations. The collaborative trek provided a group of 22 undergraduate and graduate students from both organizations an exclusive opportunity to delve into the inner workings of the acclaimed firms. Students visited the headquarters of JPMorgan Chase & Co and LS Power Equity Advisors, where they gained invaluable exposure to diverse career opportunities and insights from key industry leaders.

AREC and DAIRE student clubs visit JP Morgan in NYC
AREC and DAIRE student clubs visit JP Morgan Chase & Co. in New York City

The Trek was thoughtfully designed in collaboration with the esteemed Cornell alum James “JT” Baker ’21, who played a crucial role in ensuring that the trek aligned with the core missions of both organizations: broadening students’ perspectives and facilitating meaningful connections with leading industry professionals. Participants explored career paths in real estate and private equity, thereby enhancing their professional networks for future opportunities. AREC is committed to elevating Cornell’s standing in the commercial real estate sector, through knowledge sharing, and providing networking opportunities that extend beyond the classroom. In parallel, DAIRE is resolute in its mission to enhance career and investment prospects for underrepresented undergraduate students. The synergy of these objectives led to an exceptionally transformative experience for all participants.

Trek Participant Testimonial:

“The NYC trek transcended the typical networking event, serving as an invaluable stepping stone in shaping our career paths.” – Mel Gonzalez Mujica ‘24 (Baker)

“It gave us students a unique opportunity to connect with top industry leaders, and build relationships that will be key as we look to make a substantive impact in our future roles after graduation.” – Tyler Brown Cornell ‘25

“This experience has given us a head start, equipping us to become the kind of leaders who drive innovation and success in any organization we join.” – Carolina Montoya, MBA ‘25

“We seized a valuable opportunity to connect with professionals from various teams at JPMorgan Asset Management, including portfolio management, equity and debt investing, legal, and accounting. We engaged in discussions about intellectually stimulating deals and projects, gaining insightful advice for our future careers in real estate. Both junior and senior professionals were approachable and willingly shared their experiences, even providing contact information for further inquiries post-event.” – Matthews Cornejo ‘25

Throughout the day, students engaged in discussions covering various essential topics, including portfolio management strategies during economic instability,

JPMorgan Chase & Co: Office visit

mitigating interest rate risks in real estate loan portfolios, and the significance of the cost of capital in liquidity generation and asset management. Students also explored alternative investments, the role of key stakeholders, and equity fund structures, including open-ended, closed-ended, and private placement funds. The takeaway was clear in that during challenging times, adaptability, flexibility, restructuring, and astute asset management are key to navigating through challenging times and setting a course for recovery.

The panelists shared valuable insights with the students on becoming successful leaders. They emphasized the importance of focusing on personal potential, maintaining a curious mindset, and constantly analyzing information to gain a deeper understanding of the market. This experience left students with a wealth of knowledge and renewed enthusiasm for their future careers. Overall the trip to New York City was not just an event but a source of inspiration for their future career pursuits.

This incredible experience was made possible by James “JT” Baker ’21 and CREF. On behalf of AREC and DAIRE, we extend our gratitude for your continuous efforts in connecting students with career resources and networking opportunities.

For more information about future events that continue to push the boundaries of diversity and education in real estate, follow AREC and DAIRE on their social media platforms or visit CREF’s webpage for more information.