Aakash_BhatiaA year ago, I walked into a crowded Leavey Center for the SAC fair with a fairly narrow range of organizations I wanted to participate in. I knew Georgetown’s most established clubs, the Corps and GUASFCUs of the world, and frankly wasn’t that interested in exploring much more. All of them were stable, had long histories and a clear understanding of their scopes and outreach.
As I walked by various tables, I happened to pass by the Georgetown University Real Estate Club. I always had a peripheral interest in the industry, as essentially my whole family is involved in real estate. To my surprise, the club (though registered with SAC since 2011) was essentially still in start-up phase. It had a grand total of two active members and didn’t even have a Listserv.
I was very hesitant to sign up, let alone attend the club’s first meeting. With both my academic responsibilities and commitments to other organizations, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to allocate substantial time to a club which might fizzle out in a few years.
Thankfully, the two members, Mark Mackey (MSB ’14) and Brendan Glavin (MSB ’14), actively encouraged me to become involved; and we, along with several other students – most of whom are still on the current board – embarked on our journey.
In the span of two years we have grown substantially, both in our membership and offerings. We have hosted several events including panel discussions from industry professionals, property tours and networking events. Furthermore, we created an investment subset group, which focuses on the financial aspects of real estate and prepares our members for interviews.
Besides Mark and Brendan, the true leader of our efforts has been Professor Matthew Cypher, the McDonough School of Business director of the Georgetown Real Estate Initiative. Professor Cypher has been instrumental in shaping the club’s vision, connecting us to alumni and setting up workshops on technical skills such as Microsoft Excel and Argus.
Looking back on my journey, the club has instilled several lessons in me, the first of which is the tremendous value working for a startup organization provides. Growing pains are inevitable and frustration is unavoidable, but it taught me to how to react to adversity, using such lessons as an educational tool rather than a reason to become fearful or disheartened.
Furthermore, it taught me that one should always take into consideration the advice of others, regardless of how confident we are in our abilities. Feedback is necessary in any organization as it nurtures the identification of one’s flaws and the subsequent search for improvement.
Professor Cypher’s guidance these past two years has been invaluable and I would recommend that all clubs, regardless of size, take advantage of the tremendous faculty available here at Georgetown.
My experience within the organization has also advanced and solidified my personal and professional interest in real estate. This summer, I am actively looking for internships within the field, and am confident of my prospects and abilities thanks to the opportunities that GUREC has provided for me.
I encourage all students to extend their comfort zones and truly embrace the college experience for what it is: a chance for academic, social and personal development.

Aakash Bhatia is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business and vice president of networking and communications for GU Real Estate Club.

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