Alum combined education and experience to build a meaningful career
Program: MS in Finance, 2016
Occupation: Head of Acquisitions, Home Partners of America
Before coming to Quinlan, Gregory Slankard (MSF ’16) wasn’t satisfied with his job. Having joined the workforce during the 2008 recession, he wanted to regroup and find a career he was passionate about.
Through his time at Quinlan, he was able to apply the experience he had already gained and develop new skills to stand out from the crowd.
Below, Slankard shares how he was able to build the career he wanted.
Why did you decide to go back to school?
At the time I was a real estate broker and wasn't satisfied with my job in real estate. I graduated from a state school with two degrees at the height of the recession a decade ago. I was unable to find any relevant work and knew I had to set myself apart. I wanted a change, so I decided to go back to school. I studied for the GMAT at night and on weekends in order to keep working at my day job.
I spent a lot of time researching the various MS in Finance programs in the city and Quinlan's was the most balanced degree. Others were very vague, seemed hastily thrown-together, or were strictly programming and heavily weighted towards quantitative work. I wanted to build the foundation of why and how finance works as well as the technical skills. I really decided on Quinlan after meeting Professor Tom Nohel. He explained how I could turn my real estate experience into a strong resume with the MSF at Quinlan, especially with the number of real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Chicagoland.
What is your favorite Quinlan experience?
I realize it might sound weird, but the late nights working on a group research project and presentation for Dr. Jalilvand's Advanced Corporate Finance course. I had the good fortune of teaming up with a dedicated and highly motivated group of classmates. We all had day jobs and therefore had to hole up in the library in the evenings or on weekends. It was a lot of work, no doubt, but well worth it. It's funny how the hardest work, looking back, is the fondest memory.
What are you doing now, and how has your degree helped you get there?
I am the head of acquisitions for a real estate investment trust with its headquarters in Chicago’s West Loop. I started as an analyst on the acquisitions team through a job posting at the Business Career Center and have worked there ever since!
Any last thoughts?
I struggle to think of how my career would have turned out if I hadn't gone to Quinlan. The friendships I made and the skills I learned have proven to be invaluable.