MRED alum Robert Leonard sees program leading to more ethically minded industry
When Robert Leonard (BA Business Communication, Minor Real Estate ’17, MRED ’18) finished his undergraduate studies at the W. P. Carey School of Business, he enrolled in the Master of Real Estate Development program and found his future career path, valuable connections, and an awareness of the impact real estate has on the world.
When Robert Leonard (BA Business Communication, Minor Real Estate ’17, MRED ’18) finished his undergraduate studies at the W. P. Carey School of Business, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in real estate, but he wasn’t sure what the specifics would be.
So, he enrolled in the Master of Real Estate Development program, and he found not only his future career path, but valuable connections and an awareness of the impact real estate has on the world.
We spoke with Leonard, who is now Vice President of Phoenix-based Colonial Capital, about his experience within the MRED program and his biggest takeaways for his career.
Why W. P. Carey?
Joining the MRED program was a continuation of Leonard’s W. P. Carey journey, as he graduated the previous year with a bachelor’s degree in business communication and a minor in real estate. Focusing on his passion for real estate development, within the master’s program, he found a community of peers.
“You are in your own learning environment that has like-minded people all around you,” he says. “This industry is very relationship-oriented, and it starts in the classroom.”
Leonard says the program not only taught him practical skills such as public speaking and Excel, but also invaluable concepts like business strategy, forming personal connections, and working within a team. “It led to me joining new organizations, helped with my personal book of business, and allowed me to rethink our company strategy.”
Why real estate?
Leonard is aware of the importance and impact of his industry on communities and the people within them.
“Society wouldn’t exist without real estate, and innovation in our community betters the relationships between individuals,” he says. “Look at how real estate has impacted Arizona within the past few years: ASU has gone vertical, new chip plants have brought jobs to the Valley, and new community developments are abundant.”
In his current position as Vice President of Colonial Capital, Leonard has been able to use his passion for the real estate industry and works with family and friends to make a positive impact on the Phoenix community.
He suggests that anyone considering the MRED program also has some passion for the world of real estate. He tells future students to “make sure you’re ready to push yourself and are dedicated to the industry.”
Leonard continues to stay engaged as a W. P. Carey Sun Devil by attending ASU sporting events and MRED alumni get-togethers. He also gives back to the school and future generations of students.
As he continues to grow in his career, Leonard keeps in mind both the specifics and the big picture ideas of his MRED education. One piece in particular is the program’s emphasis on ethically and socially minded real estate.
“It makes me mindful of tenants and how individuals will react to new products in the marketplace,” he says. “Additionally, I have a moral obligation to be ethical in all things I do within the workplace.”
A stronger focus on ethical development and environmental impact is what Leonard sees for the future of the industry, as well as continued technological advancement. “My business of lending will likely continue towards the digital trading of funds and more stringent regulations.”
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