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On Thursday, August 30th, 2018, the Baker Program’s Distinguished Speaker Series was honored to host its first speaker of the new school year, senior member of CBRE’s global research team and Americas Head of Research, Spencer Levy (ILR ’92). In his position at CBRE, Spencer serves as the principal external spokesperson on real estate issues in the Americas region and frequently makes appearances on financial news outlets. He is a leading voice in commercial real estate and students were excited to welcome Spencer back to campus.
The theme of Spencer’s presentation was largely about the major economic trends impacting commercial real estate asset classes. As the inaugural speaker for new first year Baker students, the opportunity to learn about trends shaping the future of real estate was truly an eye-opening experience. From defining the macroeconomic forces behind the urban renaissance that local business is currently experiencing, to describing the new desire for a “Live, Work, Play” environment in the work place, students and faculty gained valuable insights into the future of the built environment.
Spencer’s entertaining and engaging presentation style combined with his deep market knowledge and multi-disciplinary approach to serving clients stands out among industry leaders, but his ability to relate and build connections shone brightly. At one point in his presentation, he played a clip of an appearance he made on the game show, “The Price Is Right” with Bob Barker, a first for any speaker in the Distinguished Speaker Series. The clip served to highlight his ability to connect as footage showed him trading jokes with the television show host at a young age.
At the end of Spencer’s presentation, he tied the themes of his talk together with career advice for students graduating in the next year. His advice is to think carefully about the risk and reward tradeoff in terms of career decisions. After surveying the room, Spencer suggested that some students might be best served by considering “sell-side” jobs to learn market fundamentals as he did. He also suggested that students focus on learning underwriting fundamentals, building relationships and gaining experience working with investors across economic trends.
The students and faculty of the Baker Program in Real Estate thank Spencer for coming to Cornell and sharing his vision with us. His captivating presentation and economic insights created a powerful foundation to begin the new semester.