The past Friday I represented Atlas at the Columbia Business School Real Estate Career Forum. The Columbia Club was packed with blue chip firms. Our table was sandwiched between the behemoths of Blackrock and Clarion Partners, so in an attempt to stand out and engage the students, we created a one-pager with the topics that we spend a lot of time thinking about and a few career-based questions.

At Atlas, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of the real estate business and using our nimbleness and entrepreneurial approach as a competitive advantage. I think that resonated with many of the students who come from institutional backgrounds and have entrepreneurial aspirations. While we were the new guys in the room, I felt confident that our pitch to top talent was as compelling as any company in attendance.

Current Topics of Discussion at Atlas

How might equity crowdfunding disrupt the traditional commercial real estate business? What opportunities does this present for real estate operators?

How can real estate firms create a brand that transcends the real estate business? Which real estate companies are creating the best brands?

Is the fund model attractive and viable in the long term?

Where does real estate as an asset class fit in investor’s portfolios and how has that evolved recently?

What are the most compelling macro stories in real estate that help to determine a geographic focus?

What are the major challenges of doing your first deal, and how might you overcome them?

What are your favorite real estate tech companies and how are they shaking up the business?

How will co-working spaces and telecommuting impact the demand for office space?

How will online shopping change the dynamic of how retail space is utilized?

Your Career

What are your favorite real estate networking groups?

Do you aspire to launch your own company? What is your ideal career path leading up to launching your own firm?

What gets you most excited about working in real estate in 2014?

What real estate skillset is the hardest to obtain through an advanced degree?

What are your favorite sources of real estate information?

What do you spend your time thinking about?

Want to learn more about running your own real estate investment firm? Start here.