Brooke Harlander
career outcomes
June 3, 2022

Breadcrumbs

Carey alum breaks into the real estate market in Austin, TX

Why it matters:

Brooke Harlander was recently named regional partner at St. John Properties. She shares insight on how she leveraged Carey’s connection to St. John Properties and how she plans on breaking into the new market in Austin, TX.

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While working for a small startup company in Maryland, Brooke Harlander (MS in Real Estate and Infrastructure ’16) decided she wanted to expand her knowledge in real estate development.

Now, a regional partner at St. John Properties in Austin, TX, Harlander is using the skills she learned at Carey Business School to break into the new market and find business opportunities to expand the company’s footprint in Texas.

Her daily duties include searching for land to build commercial buildings on and forming a team to manage and operate those buildings. Working in a role where justification of land must make sense from a financial standpoint, Harlander credits the real estate and infrastructure program for the financial literacy she uses in her everyday career.

“When I joined the corporate real estate business, I realized I lacked the financial knowledge needed to grow my career in real estate development,” she said. “When I found Carey, I was intrigued because the flexibility of the part-time program would allow me to continue to grow my work experience while receiving the education I needed to develop the specific skillset I was lacking.”

“I’m not sure I would’ve found St. John Properties without the network from Carey. I was even connected to the person that hired me through one of my peers at the school."

Brooke Harlander, MS in Real Estate and Infrastructure ’16

Building a solid foundation

Harlander’s time in the part-time program not only grew her financial literacy but allowed her to apply the knowledge directly back to both her previous and current positions. Part of Carey’s real estate and infrastructure program requires students to complete a capstone project. Harlander used the project as an opportunity to gain solutions for issues in her previous role.

“I chose to research fiber-optic infrastructure. Specifically, because of challenges I was facing in my day-time job,” she said. “How can we get connectivity to our clients fast. It’s what everyone wants nowadays.”

When Harlander started at St. John Properties, she says her Carey education helped prepare her for the various areas of real estate she was exposed to throughout a rigorous four-year training program offered by St. John Properties. The four-year partner training program prepares participants who are pursuing or have a graduate degree with hands-on training in each discipline of real estate to open a new regional branch of St. John Properties.

“No matter where I was in my rotation, I had a great foundation of real estate knowledge from Carey. It created a great balance as I grew and continued through the program,” said Harlander.

After completing the program and now a newly appointed partner, Harlander has gained an edge in the Austin market with a degree from Carey and increased financial literacy to develop commercial real estate.

Leveraging connections

Carey Business School is no stranger to St. John Properties. A large supporter of the real estate and infrastructure program, St. John Properties networks with students throughout their time at Carey to provide opportunities outside the classroom.

“I’m not sure I would’ve found St. John Properties without the network from Carey. I was even connected to the person that hired me through one of my peers at the school,” she said. 

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Entering a new market, Harlander’s goal is to create a portfolio with as strong a foothold as St. John Properties has in Maryland. And meeting new people to create genuine connections is step one.

“My current duties tie back to the real estate program at Carey. This is a relationship business, so meeting people, creating genuine relationships, and finding out how to work effectively together is my number one priority,” she said.

Harlander networks with more than just the Austin, TX market. She currently sits on the leadership committee for the new Real Estate Alumni Network at Carey, working to create a larger network for Carey’s real estate alumni.

“I had an incredible cohort of individuals with diverse backgrounds within the real estate field, so a few of us wanted to keep those connections alive,” she said. “Now we are working with Carey to help facilitate outreach and engage more alumni to grow our networks.”

She strongly emphasized the importance of networking with your peers in the industry.

“You will get an incredible education from Carey, but you will also gain incredible connections for your future. Network with your peers and continue to build relationships. It will go a very long way.”

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