First year MBA student Mark Grenga was selected to serve as president of the MBA Real Estate Club, when new officers were appointed last month. We spoke with Grenga, who is concentrating in real estate, about what led him to a career in commercial real estate, as well as how he hopes to impact the UNC real estate community over the next year.
Why are you passionate about Real Estate?
My passion for real estate was born in New York City. While pursuing a career in healthcare, I became fascinated by the countless globally lauded, case studies in real estate development that surrounded me. I spent years exploring the cities rich real estate development landscape before ultimately leaving the healthcare industry to pursue a career in real estate.
I am passionate about real estate because of the influence that it has on the communities that we live, work, and play in. After seeing firsthand the impact of NYC projects like Hudson Yards and The High Line I knew I wanted to pursue a career in real estate. Real estate to me represents an opportunity to make tangible contributions to my community.
What in your career led to you committing to the concentration?
After several years working alongside real estate development stakeholders as an account executive with the construction management technology firm, Procore Technologies, I cemented my passion for real estate. Now, as a first year MBA candidate at UNC Kenan-Flagler, I am building upon my professional experience to pursue a career in real estate development.
Committing to the real estate concentration represented an opportunity for me to round out my real estate acumen in a formal academic setting alongside the many industry professionals, practitioners, and professors that lead the curriculum.
Why are you a part of the MBA Real Estate Club? How do you believe it is beneficial to UNC real estate students?
The real estate club is a dynamic community that affords each member critical opportunities to learn, network, and grow as future real estate professionals. For many of members (like myself), these opportunities represent formative career experiences like our first steps on a job site or our first industry event. I became a member of the club to take full advantage of these opportunities and have consistently been impressed with the quality and value of these experiences.
The club’s success equates to profoundly pivotal aspects of each UNC Real Estate students’ MBA journey. From the Real Estate Foundation Series and Career Treks to case competitions and social events. Whether club members are new to real estate or former industry professionals, the club provides a variety of benefits to all. Our main mission is to benefit students by providing access to opportunities that prepare members to tackle UNC’s challenging real estate curriculum, excel in summer internships, and successfully transition into full-time careers in real estate.
Why did you decide to apply for the president position of the MBA Real Estate Club?
Ultimately, taking an active role in the community has always been a key pillar of my past experiences. While at UVA, I served as the program director for Charlottesville’s Legal Aid Justice Center volunteer program. During my six years in New York City, I gave back to the community as a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor and fundraising member of the 2017 BBBS NYC Marathon team.
During my time at UNC, I developed a distinct interest in serving as an active leader in our real estate community. Through my experiences as a corporate relations liaison and club member, I developed a strong personal understanding of the club’s positive impacts and became extremely passionate about championing our continued success and growth. I decided to run for Real Estate Club president to serve each club member by furthering our club’s mission, improving upon the success the club has achieved, and providing valuable learning, engagement, and recruiting opportunities for all members.
What is your vision for the club during your term?
As president, my primary objectives will be to promote access to meaningful learning opportunities for all club members, to foster an inclusive environment that promotes strong engagement, and to enhance overall exposure to recruiting-related activities.
The club provides unrivaled learning opportunities. The importance of the club’s Foundation Series, Career Treks, Asset Class Day, and Case Competition cannot be understated. These events serve as a critical introduction to the fundamentals of commercial real estate for many club members. As president, I will build upon the success the club has achieved in this arena. My primary objective will be to further engage our strategic partners like the Wood Center, professional organizations, real estate firms, and our alumni network.
The Real Estate Club’s culture is defined by its members and by our unwavering commitment to realizing our maximum potential. My vision is to elevate this commitment by maintaining our inclusive club culture that promotes engagement, open dialogue, and streamlined feedback.
All Real Estate Club events and activities are designed to prepare our members to take on UNC’s rigorous real estate curriculum, excel in summer internships, and successfully pursue full-time careers in the industry. The club’s core functions all play a vital role in supporting our recruiting processes and career aspirations. As president, I will continue to prioritize supporting club members in the recruitment process by enhancing overall exposure to recruiting and networking opportunities. Specifically, our executive board and my vision is to implement a plan to make career treks more accessible in UNC’s largest target markets like Charlotte, Atlanta, New York, and Raleigh. Set amidst the backdrop of these landmark east coast real estate markets, Kenan-Flagler offers unprecedented opportunities to learn from vast networks of alumni and local professionals. By enhancing recruiting-related activities, we will help each member establish their individual foundation for life-long learning.
How do you believe you can positively impact the UNC real estate community?
As the UNC community transitions beyond the challenges of the past two plus years, I hope to serve as a leader in furthering the connections our students develop with each other, our alumni, our faculty, and our industry partners.
I believe not only myself, but also our executive board and entire club, will play a vital role in reinvigorating the culture of community and connectedness that UNC uniquely fosters. We can all positively impact the UNC real estate community by continuing to actively engage with and support our club’s mission. I am excited about the opportunities ahead for our class to positively impact the UNC real estate community and to define the UNC MBA Real Estate Club Class of 2023’s legacy.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
This summer I have accepted an internship to join Alliance Residential as a Summer Development Associate in Charlotte, North Carolina. In five years, I see myself leading multi-family development projects with Alliance or a similar firm in Charlotte. Wherever I ultimately end up, I will never be too far from Chapel Hill and I look forward to continuing to actively engage with the UNC real estate community.
Other leadership positions for the Undergraduate Real Estate Club were also selected last month and are listed below.
Executive VP: Eliza Spratt
VP of Finance: Zach Klein
VP of Operations: Harris Pharr
VP of Corporate Relations: Danny Hume
VP of Corporate Relations: TR Clausen
Co-VP of Learning & Development: Alex Willingham
Co-VP of Learning & Development: Lindsay Hall
VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Mary Elizabeth Russell
VP of Social: Jim Hillin
How would someone get involved if they are interested in joining the club?
The club is open to any and all who are interested. Whether coming from the real estate industry or switching careers; extremely passionate about real estate or simply hoping to learn more, we welcome everyone to the club.
For those who are interested in learning more about how they can get involved, email Grenga at email@example.com. Or, check out the MBA Real Estate Club’s social media accounts including MBA Real Estate Club UNC Kenan-Flagler and @uncmbarealestateclub.