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Marquette Real Estate Strategies Conference Takeaways

Marquette University recently held its 11th annual Real Estate Strategies Conference.  Our Co-Founder, Spencer Burton, had the privilege of being the Keynote speaker so a few members of our team came up to support him.

A quote from Jack Welch, Founder of General Electric, came up that was powerful, which went along with some main takeaways from the conference.

“What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave us?” Jack’s response was, “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”

When it comes to recruiting, retention strategies, or gaining an advantage on landing the job you want, technology will be critical to adapt! I talk with dozens of candidates each week looking for positions in Commercial Real Estate. A common theme when talking with candidates is that they want to work with a company that is adapting to the market, creating new processes, and using technology to create more efficient operations.

Spencer Burton at Marquette Real Estate Strategies Conference

Spencer presenting at Marquette’s 2022 Real Estate Strategies Conference. Photo Copyright ©Marquette Business

Using Technology in Real Estate Strategies

Spencer Burton, Co-Founder of Adventuresincre.com and Partner with Stablewood Properties, had a unique perspective on how the use of data, automation, and technology has allowed his firm to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

If you are a student, a career transitioning professional, or a hiring manager, hone in on what Spencer talks about below. These are ways you can stand apart from other candidates and companies.

From start to finish in a real estate transaction, a simple data point like an address is entered multiple times. What this means is every time that same address is entered, there is a chance for error. By looking at the real estate transaction from a different perspective, what if you only had to enter the address once, and it would follow you every time you need to type that in? With technology that opportunity is available.

Spencer believes in using technology, data, and automation to elevate people. What he means by that is, that instead of entering property addresses dozens of times, people can use their time doing more intellectual work. Our capacity, focus, and energy is limited.

Real Estate Strategies for Early Professionals

Keep a Broad Perspective

Every year people say, “there’s going to be a recession.” I won’t get into what has caused people to say this recently, but Tom Zale, President of Northwestern Mutual Real Estate, gave two great insights for current college students for finding a job, as well as leadership lessons for early career professionals, in a time of market uncertainty.

One of the biggest problems we see right now for students coming out of college is the lack of jobs being offered in certain locations. For example, if you are attending school in San Diego, CA, right now, there are not a lot of jobs being offered in Dallas, Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago for those students! This is a big problem we see. Tom said it’s imperative for students to look at other markets because jobs might be limited in their current market of choice. This is one of those real estate strategies that never fail.

In that light, our team is in the early stages of creating a national recruitment pipeline called the CRE Career Connections program. If you’d like to join to see new job opportunities all over the US, you can click here to create your profile.

Do what you are Passionate About

Tom also mentioned that early in your career it’s important to do what you are passionate about. Without that passion, you will not be able to stomach the parts of the job that are bad. One of our goals at A.CRE is to grow our Day in the Life series, where we profile all the different job functions of the CRE business. This will help you in determining the right fit!

Stand Apart from the Crowd

The last piece of advice is my favorite because it’s a way to stand apart from the rest of the crowd. Tom gives a specific example of how to do this. More importantly, I believe this is a way of life. If you are applying for a job on LinkedIn, don’t just click apply and hope for a response. Call, email, or DM the hiring manager! Always ask questions and have an opinion.

Build a Broad Set of Knowledge Early in your Career

In the last 2 years, our team at A.CRE has spoken with 37 real estate programs at universities/clubs, and what I hear Michael and Spencer encourage quite a lot is “deal seasoning.” What they mean by this is no real estate transaction is ever the same. So, the more you underwrite deals, the more you know what to look out for when certain threats or strengths come up.

Tom reinforced the idea a little differently. He said that someone with a broader skill set will be more valuable in the longer run.

Strive for Continuous Improvement

One of the things Gary Vaynerchuck preaches is accountability. I have become very aware in my recruiting career of the lack of accountability and constructive feedback in most organizations. I talk with dozens of hiring managers each week looking to hire, and I always ask the same question: what kind of feedback did the last person who left give you? Ninety-five percent of companies don’t do exit interviews; therefore, they don’t know how to get better.

Tom said you need to be getting feedback. Even now, every time Tom has a meeting with leadership and colleagues, he asks what he could be doing better or different. Having that mindset of continual improvement, humility, and seeking advice has served him very well throughout his career.


All in all, lessons learned at the 11th annual Marquette Real Estate Strategies Conference were great! I would recommend you go up next year if you have the ability. Thank you to the team there for putting it on!

About the Author: Tucker is the Head of Training and Career Services at A.CRE where he works with universities, companies, and candidates to provide training and job placement. Prior to A.CRE, Tucker spent two years at the 9th largest executive recruitment firm, where he focused on recruiting top talent in Commercial Real Estate. Tucker holds a BBA in Real Estate Finance from Southern Methodist University. While at SMU, Tucker was President of the Real Estate Club and was instrumental in providing guidance and connecting students with careers in CRE. Tucker currently resides in Dallas, TX. Please email Tucker if you would like to talk.