Academic researchers who study social, behavioral, and organizational psychology have spent the previous decade studying how people make judgement about people they meet. Some of these researchers believe that your brain, specifically the emotional centers, work incredibly fast to make snap judgements about people, a trait that was crucial in our species history, when ascertaining friend from foe was often a life threatening decision. The common phrases for these experiences are “gut feeling” and “a hunch”, and contradictory to the general belief that these emotions are irrational, scientists are increasingly discovering that they are actually the product of an incredibly complex system of sensory analysis, memory, and a syntax that follows a precise logical argument. This insight becomes all the more powerful when one begins to realize just how accurate that gut feeling is when the situation is appropriate.
Considering the opening paragraph of this interview, it is without surprise that Ms. Halligan makes a significant first impression, worthy of the pretense. Very confident, driven, intelligent, well spoken, and conscientious are the gut feeling(s) I experienced when Ms. Halligan began answering my questions. Aileen’s career, education, and goals are all reflective of these traits, and it would appear a solid bet that her future holds plenty of successes.
Ms. Halligan earned her BA in Advertising from the University of Minnesota. Aileen was initially interested working for an ad agency, but always had an interest in real estate. While most college students spend their weekends tailgating for football games or visiting one of the many watering holes surrounding campus, Aileen was busy studying for her Series 7 license which she earned during her undergraduate program. At that point in her life, Ms. Halligan viewed real estate as a hobby, but after reflecting on her career goals she realized that her true passion was real estate. This feeling was confirmed after spending the summer interning for Frauenshuh Companies during her senior year. This experience provided an opportunity for Aileen to learn about commercial real estate, and she quickly found a niche in the real estate industry that matched her interests and skills. After graduation Ms. Halligan was hired by CBRE as a sales assistant, this job allowed her to demonstrate the skills she developed in college, with her main responsibilities revolved around designing brochures and property materials for senior brokers.
Aileen’s skills quickly became apparent and she was promoted to junior broker, her focus area was industrial real estate in the SE metro. She speaks about industrial property like a child who has just discovered his/her favorite subject, and is full of awe and wonder. This passion has helped keep Aileen focused on her job and makes everyday a new opportunity to deliver value to her clients. Recently, she was hired by Jones Lang Lasalle to work onsite at one of their largest clients, United Health Group. Her current title, transaction manager, allows Aileen to work on the acquisition of new assets and the disposal of currently held property. In her words,
“This role allows me to provide value to UHG by continually working to maximize their investment in real estate. From purchasing land to developing office and industrial space I am forced to make choices that result in millions of dollars in expenditures for UHG. This is obviously a big responsibility, but when done effectively can save UHG millions of dollars and helps them run their business more efficiently, also I think it is really cool!… (laughs)”
After several years working in the commercial real estate industry, Aileen decided that this was the path the she would pursue for the rest of her career. Always looking to improve her knowledge and understanding of her work, Aileen recognized that it would be highly valuable to earn her CCIM (certified commercial investment member) a professional designation that is highly respected in the real estate industry. To maximize this experience, Ms. Halligan decided to expand on this plan, and earn her MSRE while studying concurrently for her CCIM, just as she had done in college when she earned her series 7. Fortunately for Aileen, this time, the MSRE program offered 3 of the 4 classes necessary for the CCIM allowing her to study for both simultaneously.
Aileen diligently researched different MSRE programs, but in the end chose UST. Aileen has no regrets about this decision, and eagerly notes her favorite parts of the program which include, but are not limited too: great networking, the opportunity to meet people in the business, learning from students and professors about current projects, and staying up on current events complimented by the expert analysis and insight of her peers and instructors. Ms. Halligan is especially pleased with UST’s program, because it has allowed her to continue to focus on the commercial side of real estate, letting her tailor the program to suit her goals of building a set of tools specific to her current job. According to Aileen, the program at UST is so relevant and current that the skills she learns in the classroom are applicable the next day in the office.
When asked about the best piece of advise she has ever received, Ms. Halligan answered, “you only get one chance to make a first impression”, without hesitation. Wether or not she is cognizant of the theories and research into the truthful nature of this insight, she certainly has taken this advice to heart, and has nearly perfected the art of the first impression. Unlike many students who go back to academia to change jobs / careers, Aileen is perfectly happy on the track she is on, and decided to continue her education for her own growth and to have new tools to more effectively provide value to her clients. Ms. Halligan hopes to continue to working in commercial real estate on the transaction side the brokerage business.
When asked to give advice to perspective students, Aileen first said that students in the program are highly driven and clearly focused on real estate. Furthermore, if a perspective student is looking to earn their CCIM, getting a masters at the same time is definitely worth the extra effort, and will pay future dividends.
Real estate Matters would like to congratulate Ms. Aileen Halligan, as well as the rest of the 2011 MSRE class, on her recent graduation. For more information about the MSRE program, please visit the programs website.