CRE Entrepreneurship Student: Intellectually Empowered
The GSU CRE Entrepreneurship program is ranked 9th among public university programs and 16th overall. The program’s courses guide students’ success by refining their intellectual awareness of the industry while using the experiences of industry professionals to provide context.
With 100 percent of graduates securing employment within three months of graduation, this program gives students an advantage in the very competitive pursuit of positions in the CRE industry. Statistics don’t tell the whole story, however, so here is the perspective of a current program student.
Q: What is your name, status, degree, current position, and future career plans?
Ellington: Ellington: My name is Willie J. Ellington. I received my MSCRE degree in the Summer of 2022 and am currently a part of the Executive MBA Cohort, on track to receive my EMBA degree from GSU in Spring 2024.
I am currently the principal for Peach State Capital Partners and the qualifying broker for Peach State Commercial and Peach State Residential, collectively known as Peach State Real Estate Group (REG). By leveraging the flexibility of possessing a Broker’s license, I’m an associate broker at Newmark (Newmark Southern Region LLC). My professional aspirations are to be an active single-family, multi-family and mixed-use developer and to advise organizations at the C-Suite level in the CRE industry and beyond.
Q: What was your biggest takeaway from this course? How was it different from other GSU courses?
Ellington: I learned so much from this course, but there were two things that really stayed with me: (1) Self-awareness is key; you should never stop learning who you are; and (2) Raising/leveraging capital is vital. The difference between this course and others I’ve taken at GSU and elsewhere is how the real experiences of CRE industry guest speakers supplemented the coursework.
Q: What did you like best about the class?
Ellington: I am a burgeoning entrepreneur who started my own brokerages in 2020, so I enjoyed every aspect of the class. The subject matter, the guest speakers and the curriculum all characterized the industry in a detailed and realistic way. This information is incredibly useful as I continue to evolve personally and as a professional working towards my goals and objectives.
Q: Which speaker(s) did you like best and why?
Ellington: Guest speakers Hugh Massie, Brad Stevens and Gary Chesson impressed me. When I heard their first-hand experience of entrepreneurial life, I knew instantly they could talk the talk and walk the walk. Also, Stan Sonenshine and Samir Patel really know their stuff, and I walked away from each class feeling enlightened and intellectually empowered.
Q: Do you have any other comments about the class and how it benefited you?
Ellington: This class was purposeful, relevant and applicable. Oftentimes, students take courses to fulfill a requirement and don’t get anything useful to aid their pursuits in a chosen industry. That was not the case with this class. I will remember and incorporate key learnings from this course throughout my CRE career and beyond.