When Josh Bank (MBA 2011) enrolled in Tech's full-time MBA program, he was open to wherever his education might take him. But he didn't expect it to be managing commercial real estate transactions all across Asia on behalf of some of the world's largest corporations.
Though he focused his MBA studies on accounting and finance, Bank was also able to broaden his real estate background, landing an associate director position with the global firm CBRE upon graduation. "The company has a significant presence in Asia, with 96 offices and over 7,000 employees," says Bank, who is based in Hong Kong. "Clients look for our expertise and my assistance in helping them navigate such a diverse region. I advise where, when and how they should manage their real estate needs."
Bank, who grew up in Atlanta, doesn't always have to visit these areas personally. But his job still requires a lot of travel, and he tries to learn at least a little of each country's language.
Although most of his business can be conducted in English, he says he values learning about the cultures and nuances of areas where his work takes him. He's been pleasantly surprised by life in Hong Kong. "When you see photos, it just looks like skyscrapers, but the vast percentage of the island chain and territories aren't built upon," he says. "Although I live in one of the densest cities in the world, I can go on a hike and see monkeys running by, or jump on a ferry and visit remote, unpopulated beaches."
Because of the tremendous opportunities in Asia, he would like to stay there for at least a few years. "It's exciting to help companies as they look to Asia for growth and need our expertise."
Bank wasn't new to the field when he took his current job. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006, he got his first experience as an analyst for a real estate development company and subsequently worked there through the downturn and the firm's eventual bankruptcy.
At Tech, Bank wanted to stay connected to the industry, so he took the College's Real Estate Practicum, in which students work on real projects for top companies. Bank got to work on projects for CBRE, whose close relationship with the program was fostered by the late Skip Beebe (IM 1966), a former CBRE executive who developed the practicum as a faculty member here.
"Skip was incredibly well connected in the real estate community," Bank says. "He went to companies and asked, 'What's keeping you up at night? What can we help you with?'"