This post is part of a special series celebrating the School’s Alumni Forever Week (March 30 through April 2).

Profile
Robert Klein ’04
Vice President, MJC Associates LLC

Tell us about your career path
Prior to business school, I was at Goldman Sachs in Fixed Income Derivatives and Private Wealth Management. Upon graduation I worked at Reckson Associates Realty Corp. When Reckson was acquired by SL Green, I left and helped start a boutique investment bank focused on the real estate sector, MJC Associates LLC, and I have been there ever since. Last year we completed our largest deal, which was $1.7 billion.

Looking back at your CBS experience, what was your aha! moment?
Taking Real Estate Finance with Larry Raiman ’89 in 2003 was where I got my first exposure to real estate finance. He was a phenomenal teacher and I spent a lot of time with him, outside of class, discussing my thoughts on real estate. Leanne Lachman, who is an executive in residence, really helped me shape and define my career goals. Her guidance in conjunction with the rest of my experiences at the School gave me the framework and connections to execute my plan. It’s important to learn about real estate and to know about real estate companies, but it is crucial to have professors and faculty, such as Larry and Leanne, available to help you network.

As a business practitioner, where do you see opportunity this year?
There are a few places for opportunity. In the distressed side of the world, there are an abundance of companies with liquidity issues ranging from the capital structure of the companies all the way down to the performance of individual assets. The opportunity is to creatively match capital and distressed product. There is a lot of phantom capital right now and they key is knowing how to align yourself with real capital.

What advice do you have for MBA or prospective MBA students?
My advice, especially for folks in real estate or looking to get into it: be creative and really put yourself out there and meet as many people as possible. Jobs are few and far between, and because many firms are not using traditional sources of hiring, you have to be creative and figure out a way you can add value to a person or organization. You can’t rely on having an MBA to secure a position in this market. Your networking skills are crucial, and if you opitmize your student experience, it will define and separate you.

Photo courtesy of Robert Klein