Continuing to Connect Through Real Estate

PROVO, Utah – Oct 29, 2020 – Instead of filling hundreds of chairs in an auditorium on campus, faces of real estate professionals from across the country and BYU students filled hundreds of thumbnail-sized screens as they joined together to attend the inaugural 2020 BYU Global Real Estate Conference on 8–9 October 2020. Hosted by the Department of Finance at the BYU Marriott School of Business, the conference was an opportunity to help create connections for students to build upon and begin their careers in real estate all over the world.

The conference was held virtually using video conferencing, allowing hundreds of students and professionals to attend from home, expanding the audience beyond traditional spaces within the Tanner Building all the way to countries as far away as Germany. Troy Carpenter, one of the organizers of the event, says that the conference gave the students incredible exposure to the vast career opportunities in real estate. 

“Our goal as organizers for the event was to enlarge and strengthen the BYU real estate network and create opportunities for students to connect with professionals and for professionals to collaborate with one another,” says Carpenter. “Our number-one priority is our students—to create pipelines for internships and full-time opportunities.”

Kaylee Drennan, a finance junior from Midway, Utah, expressed appreciation for the opportunity to attend the event. “I would like to give a huge thanks to everyone who helped put all of this together. While this year has made conferences and events challenging, I am grateful we were able to take part in this conference via Zoom,” she says. “The conference was enlightening and a great opportunity to network and get to know professionals.”

Bob Faith, CEO of Greystar, the world's largest vertically integrated multifamily investment, development, and management company, was the first to speak to students. He gave them a glimpse into what executive positions within real estate are like. 

Faith shared his experience as a CEO as well as how he grew and learned from working in real estate. At the end of the keynote interview, Faith talked to attendees about how events out of his control changed his career plan. Because of the real estate depression in the United States during the late 1980s, Faith had to pivot to a more entrepreneurial career. He urged students to take advantage of the opportunities BYU and BYU Marriott offers. 

“You’re not going to be able to map out exactly where you’re going to go and how it’s going to work,” Faith says. “But just by being at BYU, you’re getting an incredible platform, incredible network, and incredible start.”

In addition to hearing the keynote speaker, students were also invited to attend breakout sessions led by real estate professionals from different backgrounds. Jan Sternin, senior vice president and managing director for Berkadia in New York City, served as one of the panelists for the debt and equity breakout session and said she enjoyed the opportunity she and the students had to learn from each other. 

“The other panelists and I had a detailed planned outline of what we were going to talk about. What was so striking about the session was that we never got to that agenda. We spent our time building on the intelligent and well-thought-out questions from the students who attended the sessions,” Sternin says. “Taking part in this conference was a great experience. I left with a big smile on my face and am looking forward to participating again.”

Overhead view of suburban homes
This year's 2020 BYU Global Real Estate Conference allowed students and professionals to connect from across the globe. Photo courtesy of The Lazy Artist Gallery.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Rebecca Nissen