Jeff Olson (REI ’01) is a big believer in mentorship.
Olson is chair and chief executive officer of Urban Edge Properties, a New York Stock Exchange- listed real estate investment trust specializing in managing, acquiring, developing, and redeveloping older retail real estate. The $4 billion company has properties ranging from Washington, D.C. up to Boston, MA. Some of his daily responsibilities include spending time on acquisitions, managing employees, and speaking with investors and constituencies.
But before this, he was learning his way up through the industry, like so many others, and he knew he needed something more than just what he found in the office.
Mentee turned mentor
Olson began his career in an entry level position working on the financial side of real estate. Knowing he wanted more, he began to look at graduate real estate programs.
He chose Johns Hopkins Carey Business School because the part-time Real Estate and Infrastructure program let him work while earning his degree, and he knew the network of real estate professionals within the program would provide him with connections for his future. The real estate industry is a relationship-driven business and having a mentor can provide you with invaluable information to help you succeed.
“Having classmates that were outside my area of expertise allowed me to network and surround myself with a cohort of architects, lawyers, designers, and sales agents.” Olson said. “It was an opportunity for me to not only become friends with my classmates but learn so much out of my realm.”